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Local artists find business, community through UW-Eau Claire’s Geek Con

Eau Claire (WQOW) – UW-Eau Claire was the place to be on Saturday for anyone to get their geek on, especially for those in the local art scene.

“I love art. I love selling art, I love buying art, I love looking at other people’s art,” said UWEC senior and artist Samantha Mahoney.

Mahoney was just one of the dozens of vendors dealing out their craft at Geek Con, participating in part of a community of artists that thrive off of comic conventions.

“Artists that like to do fan art or are really interested in things like comics, cartoons, movies tend to congregate and gather at things like this because they just enjoy creating, appreciating and supporting other artists that are also excited about those things,” said Mahoney.

That “fandom” community not only brings in revenue for local artists but also serves as a way to make some lifelong friendships, something that costume designer Aradia Tombs said was hard to find when she was a kid.

“When I was in school, this was not a thing, like at all,” Tombs said. “Now I can actually talk to people about mutual things that we both like, and that’s always really exciting. Especially since I’m not normally very social.”

That confidence Tombs found through art and costume design is passed off at conventions to other artists like Alivia Kistler, a UWEC junior, who decided to show off her own original works and fan art for the first time.

“I’m actually kind of proud of myself, too. It’s been a good day, and I just never really thought that anything like this would happen,” said Kistler.

The artists said they hoped the mutual support takes both their business and friendships far.

Mary Pautsch

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