Since 2015 once a year people from all over the globe travel to Paris to be part of the IAMC which is organised by the creators of the IAMAG.
This year it took place in the Salons de l'Aveyron from 16th–18th March. The content of the event touches 2D, 3D, Animation and VFX and is as relevant for the movie industry as it is for the games industry, not speaking of all the bordering branches such as print or product design.
With roughly 400 attendees compared to bigger events it had the huge advantage of being able to bump into the same people multiple times during these 3 days. If you think of the cliche that’s always surrounding us as shy artists it’s much easier to socialize in such a cozy atmosphere.
We know our heroes and fellow artists from social media. We follow each other online and that’s enough to be inspired every now and then, or to know we are technically not the only ones sitting all on ourselves in the sometimes lonely and dark art-cave. But when you finally meet out there in the real world, it is as if your favourite musician is suddenly there, playing a live gig in your friend’s living room. Everything makes so much more sense and the inspirational talks are not longer an online stream but happening in a context where you can participate. There are very few things that encourage me more to continue the rocky and intense path of art.
With entering the event we also received a rainbow colored jute goodie bag from Adobe which contained next to a pen, a pink batch of post-its and an A5 notepad the most recent edition of our Firestarter Community Magazine. It was the first time I held it in my hands and I was immediately browzing through to see how the print of my own painting turned out. But I was constantly distracted by all the other stunning artworks in there. I only learned about the IAMC through Firestarter and some of the artists featured in the Magazine were attending as well.
The venue offered three rooms – one for the master classes where the speakers would have their talk or demo, one smaller one for personal portfolio reviews and feedback, and then another bigger one. The latter was my favourite, it simply felt like the Disneyland area of the event. People could try out the newest Wacom devices or Quill on the Oculus Rift while having pros by your side to show you how it works, if needed. Axis also had a booth there. Jon Beeston and his team are always looking for new studio members and are up for giving very useful portfolio reviews which I also had the honor to receive.
A little art book shop with signed editions was part of it, a Cinema4D and an Adobe booth. George Hull was giving away free signed posters. But this room also supplied space for calming down, meeting people and chatting a little in between or after talks.
Regarding the Oculus I must say by now I am guilty of owning one myself. First thing I did when I got home after the weekend was ordering one. Speaking of this, my biggest highlight of the event were the talks of Jama Jurabaev, Goro Fujita and Marc Simonetti who were giving an impressive demo on how VR has the potential to change our industry. I jumped into virtual reality several times during those days whenever the Quill area wasn’t crowded. I’m still mindblown from all the possibilities of implementing it into my workflow even for 2D illustration.
A few more gems on the agenda I was able to see were:
- Raphael Lacoste who was giving thrilling insights into the process of the newest Assassin’s Creed game "Origins".
- Peter De Sève revealed some interesting thought process behind his traditional creations which are well known for their humorous character.
- Kris Costa was demonstrating how he reaches his traditional signature look in his 3d sculptings.
- Leon Tukker who I already had the pleasure to see at IFCC 2017 was showing the making of of his epic artworks.
- Ian McQue was giving personal art advice in the review room for hours and hours.
- Attendees also had the opportunity to sign up for drawing sessions in a smaller group hosted by Ian McQue which as I heard were very productive and leaving a deep impression.
The organisation of the schedule was on point. The only time it came to an unevenness was when one of the speakers could not show up due to illness and it was solved immediately by spreading out new handouts and schedules on screens everywhere. But to be honest, such irregularities in schedules are always the perfect reason for getting in touch with strangers. Asking for a simple thing such as “Who’s talk is next?” can often lead to deep conversations before you know it.
One thing I like most about those events is, that you maybe start off alone and after a few days have met people that you feel a deep connection with through sharing the same passion. Whether student or veteran, they all are familiar with the struggles of our profession. And whether student or veteran, they were all equally approachable which is not something that I take for granted.
The nights we would spend at the bar “Les Spectacles” after the talks often seemed like a big extended and sociable portfolio review session. Getting a glass of wine and just sitting there and listening to them was incredibly educational for me, not to speak of getting in touch with the artists you admire or finally talk to other artists in person you always only knew from Facebook or Instagram.
If there was one thing that I could criticize about the whole event it would be that be bar closed much too early for the exhilarating vibe that was going on at nights. But maybe the saying that you should leave on a high note comes into effect here.
As always it was simply impossible to get to see all the lectures since there were happening so many things at the same time. But IAMC also has their own website (iamag.co) which offers the option to buy the videos containing all the master classes but also includes a bunch of video interviews with artists such as Bastien Grivet, Raphael Lacoste, Nikolai Lockertsen, Marc Simonetti or Nathan Fowkes and many more for free.
Since IAMC is constantly aiming to educate artists not only during the event but also apart from it on a regular basis it is worth to check out the tons of inspirational content and tutorials they provide on the web page as well, but also following them on Facebook will guarantee you a daily input of bewildering art.
Each time I attend events like this one, I notice how much I get better only by observing and listening and talking to people. I realize each time how important it is to get out of my cave once in a while. Once again, the talks and demos inspired me to improve my work. The personal connections I made here will have a significant impact on me as a person and as an artist. And the curiosity of how our industry will develop in the future is brisked up.
Pauline Voß aka Skadivore
Images by Bastien Grivet