Wednesday the 16th arrived and I spent the morning packing in a frenzy. And then I went to board the plane to LA. Norwegian does this thing where the entire plane turns rainbow right before landing. It's pretty. So was the lights of LA under the sunset.
The LA traffic gleaming across the Hollywood hills was very aesthetically pleasing as well.
Being at CPH airport at Christmas time gave me violent flashbacks to last years departure for LA though. It's weird how quickly this year passed and how much it feels like things have changed.
I went through immigrations in all of 8 minutes. I was so stunned. LAX was EMPTY.
Melvin was a doll and came to fetch me. We then ordered pizza and watched an episode of Black Mirror when Zia came back.
I spent Thursday attempting to rid myself of jet lag and fixing the final things on my portfolio and website. And then I headed to Burbank for my next couch.
Friday I had to queue up in the sun for my entrance badge to CTN-X, but the line wasn't too bad at the time I got there - and the festive fairies actually made the wait less terrible. Hailey then texted me that Pixar was giving out portfolio time slots, so I hurried there directly after getting my ticket in order.
It was great walking around with so many different friends, but I was also surprised by how much I wanted to walk around alone - it opened up so many conversations with artists. I talked to a lot of people whose work I knew, and I even found the stop mo girl whose hair technique I'd used on my MagiCake girl!
Princess dragged me along to a Nick raffle, and I actually won...
I got back to find Max and Jonathan in the garage and did a quick change into some tiki gear. Sam picked me and Jonathan up and then we headed for Clifton's and their new Tiki Room!
Without realizing, we walked straight in without a reservation. Maybe because we looked like we knew where we were going? It was a big and small place at the same time, with cute little nooks and crannies. And it smelled divine! Somehow like Piña or some other pineapple fragrance. We then went downstairs for some swing - and we even got Sam to dance.
Saturday I woke up later than 6, which was a relief.
The expo was much busier that day, but I still managed to get some pointers on my story art, meet up with a ton of people, draw some costumed models (which I miss so much???), and watch some live demos.
The 'I try' text felt very relevant and was found of the premises haha.
Kent Melton in real life was a real treat. Seeing him working was illuminating.
At night we got together a fire circle and went around throwing 1-year wishes in the air, hoping the CTN fire will grant us its' blessing. Seeing the Rome people again was so lovely too. I stayed until pretty late since we were kept warm by the fire pits. But even their warmth ran out, and I went to some house party with Max around 10. I met some cool CalArts people.
Sunday I rushed to Ian McCaig's talk. I loved seeing how much he tries to push for diversity and he really gave an inspiring talk. CTN in general also made me fall back in love with paper art.
It actually surprised me a little how much I got out of it. My portfolio reviews were all very good and even just chatting up people gave me more confidence.
Mike Cedeno was great, he tried to pass on teachings in his live demos. And everyone was sitting on the ground listening, like 4 year olds in kindergarten.
I even got to go to the Pixar story panel where I found a seat next to Rami. It was cool to hear them talk about the process and their struggles - you sometimes forget that even the big ones have those.
The artist pavillion closed down after a rainy Sunday with the lights off and I grabbed some diner food at Harry's with Max who was then replaced with Heather later. Our late-night diner hangout seem to have become a thing. It was so good that we managed to find time for each other.