When I participate in Artist Alley or am a vendor at any show or convention, I have the expectation that the staff have my back, meaning if someone is harassing me at my table, I can rely on the staff to help me ward off the harasser; if my table breaks or something collapses into my area, the staff will help me. The expectation is to have the staff's SUPPORT.
So when a vendor this year (Chronos Gifts) was literally selling knockoff products from multiple artists, in which the artists claimed and showed proof that they are the owners of the design, RCCC staff did NOT support those artists at the time.
Instead of kicking the vendor out of the show, the vendor was allowed to stay but only if they pulled the stolen design from artists who were PRESENT at the show to make the case. Thankfully, this went viral on twitter and many artists immediately identified their stolen design at this vendor; nearly 80% of what was sold was stolen.
The artists who had their design stolen should not be the ones to be punished. RCCC did NOT do their due diligence and research each vendor as they should have, to ensure the vendor was not selling bootlegs. The vendor should have been asked to promptly leave.
In the future, I hope RCCC staff do a strict comb through of every vendor and their products, or if they do continue to let in bootleggers, to act more quickly in resolving the situation which doesn't punish the artists who have had their designs stolen. RCCC did ban the bootleg vendor from future shows, but it won't be a surprise if that same vendor just used a different name to continue going to shows.
Rose City Comic Con,
I am writing to express my displeasure and disappointment with all the new rules limiting artists in the artist alley and the poor management I saw displayed at the con this year.
The rule of 90% paper products is very disappointing. It tells me that you do not want to support smaller artists who delve into three dimensional work or who hand make a variety of arts and crafts.
Artist alley was created to allow for smaller independent artists to sell their wares without having to pay large-company exhibitor prices. But to force smaller artists to not be able to sell what they worked so hard to create just because it doesn't fit into your arbitrary category of paper is insulting to all their hard work as creators.
As for poor management, I was disgusted to hear that because some artist made a fuss about not knowing that they could have lanyards that no one else should be able to sell them - Rose City Comic Con staff proceeded to go around to artists that had lanyards and told them they needed to remove them from their displays and could not sell them. If you are letting anyone who throws a tantrum to negatively impact all the other artists selling at Rose City Comic Con then that is not a Comic Con I want to support.
I have been selling at Rose City Comic Con for 3 years and after this display I have no desire to return. I encourage you to treat your artists better as I will be warning artists to stay away from your convention until such time as I hear that Rose City will be more welcoming and inclusive to artists.