Celebrated character designer and illustrator Bobby Chiu (Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland) and Emerald City Comic Con founder Jim Demonakos are not only bringing back LightBox Expo Online (LBXO), their unique international virtual art event, but expanding it to six days! The event — which includes the 2021 Concept Art Awards — will be held at www.lightboxexpo.com from Tuesday, September 7 through Sunday, September 12.
LightBox Expo Online will feature over 400 guests and more than 200 presentations in a multi-faceted experience for everyone from aspiring artists and students, to professionals and fans, with a focus on animation, illustration and concept art. Guests featured in the vast array of programming represent a who’s who of talent, including Oscar winner Domee Shi (director of Bao, upcoming Turning Red), Phil Boutte Jr. (costume concept artist, Black Panther), Maggie Kang (director of K-Pop: Demon Hunters), Derek Thompson (story artist, Toy Story 4), Armand Serrano (background designer, What If…?), Jill Culton (director of Abominable), Carlos Grangel (character designer, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride) and hundreds of others.
“LightBox Expo Online 2020 was an amazing weekend of art and artistry during a challenging year,” said LBX Creative Director, Bobby Chiu. “We’ve come back this year with an event that is even bigger, better and broader in scope, encompassing almost a full week’s worth of programming and activities.”
On Saturday, September 11 at 6 p.m. PST, LBXO will present the third annual Concept Art Awards, hosted by Aldis Hodge (Black Adam) and Krystina Arielle (Star Wars: The High Republic). The Concept Art Awards is produced by The Concept Art Association, an organization that focuses on elevating and raising the profile of concept artists, and remains the only award show of its kind to recognize and bring increased awareness to the role of concept artists throughout the world of entertainment.
During the event, artists will be honored for their artistic excellence in the Professional categories of Live-Action for Film and Series, Animation for Film and Series, Games, VR; and then Original Concepts/Independent, Student Work and Fan Art. Art was submitted from projects such as: Soul, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Raya and The Last Dragon, Lovecraft Country, Mulan, WandaVision, Cyberpunk 2077, Loki, World of Warcraft and many more. You can view the 2021 Finalists at www.conceptartassociation.com.
This year’s Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented to Craig Mullins, a renowned concept designer whom many call “The Godfather of Digital Painting” (Armageddon, Bioshock 2, Halo), and legendary prolific artist and Renaissance Man, Iain McCaig (Star Wars prequel trilogy, Avengers: Endgame). These Pioneers have not only pushed the concept art world forward, but are still actively working in the industry and mentoring the next generation of artists. The LBX Concept Art Luminary Award, celebrating a person from the concept art community who has made an impact with their artwork in the past year, will be presented to Andy Park for his beautiful work on WandaVision and Black Widow.
“Each year, the Concept Art Awards is a highlight of Light Box Expo,” said Convention Director, Jim Demonakos. “We’re thrilled to be able to present LBXO and the Concept Art Awards again while we are still cognizant of the ongoing pandemic We’re especially happy to be able to bring people from around the globe who wouldn’t necessarily be able to travel to California to create a memorable weekend celebrating art.”
Bringing the world to one place is key for LBXO, so utilizing browser-based technology, attendees can navigate a 3D virtual show floor featuring over 300 artists from across the globe. Participants hail from Belgium, Chile, Ireland, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Germany, Poland, Japan, Australia, Iran, Peru, Russia, Kuwait, France, Taiwan, New Zealand, Jamaica, the United States and many other countries.
Registration for LightBox Expo Online begins on August 16 and is open to anyone with an internet connection worldwide! There are four tiers for attendees to choose from: As little as $2 grants access to the whole weekend, while the highest tier, $45, includes a t-shirt from award-winning animator Eliza Ivanova, as well as a one-of-a-kind enamel pin, plus a digital goodie bag and more.
The Concept Art Association was founded by creative recruiter Rachel Meinerding and Producer and co-founder of the BRIC Foundation, Nicole Hendrix. Sponsors for the 2021 Concept Art Awards Presented by LightBox Expo include Artstation, Adobe, Wacom, Legacy Effects, Costume Designers Guild Local 892, The Animation Guild Local 839, Art Directors Guild Local 800, the College for Creative Studies, ImagineFX Magazine, Gnomon School of VFX + Animation, Schoolism, ArtCenter College of Design, and more.