This year I had the honor of returning to my favorite hometown convention, A-kon, as a cosplay guest. This trip brought a lot of nostalgia for me personally, as A-kon was the first big con I ever attended as a young nerd.
It was also the first place I ever competed alone in a cosplay contest. I wore Holo in the mainstage contest at A-kon 2013, bringing home a Judge’s award for my work. The experience was a big moment for me as a beginner cosplayer, and a huge boost of encouragement. During that contest, I met many cosplayers who would go on to become some of my closest friends in the community (as well as future collaborators).
Because of that history, I have a lot of love for the convention and its legacy. I’ve seen A-kon change in many ways throughout the years, but I always find something to enjoy.
In addition to judging the cosplay contest (alongside the incredible December Cosplay and Azure Props), I ran a booth in the cosplay section of the artist alley. This was a fantastic opportunity to socialize with attendees as well as the other cosplay guests, who can be hard to track down otherwise. I don’t typically keep a booth space at conventions, but the experience was so fun and positive that I’ll probably bring a more streamlined version of this to future events whenever possible.
A-kon was the first convention I’d attended in several months, following some tragic and life-altering events. The friendliness and support I received from attendees that weekend was a huge reminder of why I still find so much value in this community. I had some really great conversations with random cosplayers I encountered, and that energy was really refreshing. Thank you to everyone who came by to say hello and/or support my artistry.
My convention schedule will probably be more limited in the future, with fewer events that aren’t directly connected to work. Even as my priorities shift, I’m very grateful for the opportunity to just enjoy the convention atmosphere when I’m in it.