At the start of this month James and I took a short trip to Wellington NZ so that I could attend White Cloud World’s Art and Industry of Imagination Conference  as part of NZ ComicCon, with Massey University and Weta Workshop.

Thank you to Lauren Panepinto who interested in the conference made me aware of it. Thank you especially to Paul Tobin (one of the organisers) and Claire Tobin who I was able to meet at Supanova Melb thanks to my good friend LoopyDave.

After landing and a short nap we head to the Queen’s Wharf for dinner and the opening night of the White Cloud World’s Exhibition at Academy Galleries. The range and quality of the work was incredible including works from Massey students and the new augmented table top game, GKR by Weta Workshop.  Surrounded by impressive work the event had a great atmosphere of friendly celebration and we stayed and chatted to people late into the night.

We were up bright and earlier the next day to walk to Massey for the Conference. We started the day discussing the pros and cons of vegemite with Nathan Jureviciu before he went on stage as the opening key note speaker.

I was not prepared for the daylong event of intensely inspiring talks, wisdom and great stories. It was hard to soak up all that insight in one day! I plan to keep going back to the notes that I took that day to help me moving into the future.

Paul was very kind to invite us along to the after conference dinner where we got to enjoy a fantastic evening with some amazing artist. Sharing stories over dinner with the legendary Iain McCaig and his son Indigo and the charming Christian Gossett was wonderful but surreal.

We spent the following day exploring the Te Papa museum until they closed. I highly recommend it. Of the extensive and well presented collections the section of Historical photos in the Arts gallery were fascinating.

Wellington Amageddon was also on that weekend as part of NZ ComicCon which, strangely, was held in the outer ring of a stadium. This had its good points, having lots space and doors to let in fresh air but on the down side was very cold.  Sitting in a mostly empty stadium with anime playing on the giant outdoor screens was also a surreal experience.

Adding to the list of educational artist we met on our trip we spoke with Carl Potts, American comic book artist and editor, and listen to his talk at Amageddon on visual storytelling.

Throughout our trip I was struck by how welcoming and relaxed everything felt- from the exhibition on our first night, to the causal running of the conference and all of the people we spoke to.

While at the conference I purchased the latest White Cloud Worlds art book and I tried to have everyone I meet leave a message in it. I will treasure it and these memories.

I however miss asking a few people so I will definitely have to go back and see them again!

Wellington had one last surprise waiting for us at the airport as we left. In the very early hours of the morning, before the sunrise, we snuck past the head of sleeping Smug to check our bags for the plane and say good bye to NZ for now.


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