Online art creation facilitator DeviantArt has sponsored Artists' Alley at San Diego Comic Con for the last four years, adding plush carpet and helping it be the destination location it deserves to be, as the heart and soul of the show.
This year, however, they will not be attending or sponsoring the area. Comic-Con sent a letter to attending artists informing them of the news.
So what happened?
Josh Wattles, Advisor in Chief of DeviantArt issued a release saying,
DeviantArt is having an unusually active year launching our new Mobile App on Apple and Android platforms and introducing an entirely new, modernized branding. While SDCC is extremely important to the comic world, as well as to DeviantArt, our team is currently focused internally on a comprehensive site redesign that will benefit all of our 34 million registered members. We look forward to any sponsorships opportunities with SDCC that may resurface in the future. We are actively looking for a replacement sponsor for Artists Alley this year and we are assured by the SDCC management that it continues to deeply value the artists who attend Artists Alley.
He then told Bleeding Cool,
We really hope SDCC can find a way to continue to provide the artists in the Alley with the simple comforts we brought in; padded seats and carpeting in particular. On the plus side, without our booth in there, they will have room for a few more artists to participate.
San Diego for us was a big enterprise in terms of staff commitment and time. We had at least four staff members in the Alley the whole time, so with rotation that required us to bring at least eight people with us. We did a different, exciting graphic presentation for the Alley's signage each year, presented multiple panels, created side-events for DeviantArt's members and the artists and we organized the artists' work for display on two giant screens hanging off the ceiling. It just became very apparent that we needed resources for these other critical, company-wide projects and so would lack resources to deal with SDCC and the incredible effort that it requires.
Rumours that Artists Alley may be moving to the area known as "Under The Sails" as a result however, seen as less of a prime position in the show, have proved fallacious. Comic-Con organisers assure me that Artists Alley will remain in the same location as before.
However, if there are any potential sponsors… now would be a good time to try for a discount!