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The founder of Seattle’s Emerald City Comic Con is teaming with character designer Bobby Chiu to launch LightBox Expo, a three-day celebration of visual arts in Pasadena, California. Next year’s first event will feature guests including Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, Disney animator Victoria Ying and Star Wars character designer Iain McCaig.
The event is the brainchild of Chiu, who has worked on Disney’s Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass, and won an Emmy for his work on Niko and the Sword of Light. The founder of Toronto’s Imaginism Studios, Chiu is also the mind behind online illustration and design school Schoolism; he sees LightBox Expo as an extension of the community fostered by his workshops.
“LightBox Expo was conceived as a way to unite the best artists in the animation, illustration, live action and gaming industries under one roof for the ultimate celebration of art,” he explained in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “This event is a place where we can come together once a year to hang out, share our work with the public, meet other artists, further our skills and educate those coming up in our respective industries.”
To make LightBox a reality, Chiu turned to Jim Demonakos, a longtime veteran of the pop culture event industry, best known for creating and developing Emerald City Comic Con for 15 years. Following ReedPOP’s acquisition of ECCC in 2015, Demonakos has worked on a number of different events including Star Wars Celebration, New York Comic Con and Comic Con Paris, in addition to managing the Comic Stop chain of retail stores.
Together, Demonakos and Chiu created not only the LightBox Expo event, but also an advisory council of illustration professionals including Iain McCaig, Jurassic World concept artist Crash McCreery and Mingle Helen Chen, visual development artist on Wreck-It Ralph, Big Hero 6 and the upcoming Ralph Breaks the Internet.
“We’re really proud of the Advisory Council and its impact on the event,” Demonakos, whose official title is LightBox Expo Convention Director, said. “Their direction is helping us put together an experience like no other, including a professional development day on Friday, plus countless hours of programming to help artists no matter what stage they’re at in their career.”
The first LightBox Expo is scheduled to run Sept. 6 through 8, 2019, at the Pasadena Convention Center. Tickets for the event will be released in early spring.
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