Busy opening receptions and larger artist festivals are a strange memory of a different time, and during 2020 many have been mourning the loss of art events such as IX. Founded by Pat and Jeannie Wilshire, IX Arts has become a pinnacle foundation within the international imaginative realism community. IX is the first, ground-breaking art show, symposium and celebration dedicated solely to imaginative realism. Very quickly, it became a much-loved opportunity to meet, buy and sell art, catch up with old friends in the community – and of course, make new friends too! So what happened when it became clear that IX couldn’t host its 13th annual event? IX Online was born.
With artist booths selling out each year within the first two minutes, it was a great loss when Pat and Jeannie realized that 2020 couldn’t go ahead in the usual fashion. However, the Wilshires weren’t about to have a worldwide pandemic stop IX happening completely. Months of ideas and preparation came together to create a virtual IX, something which could redesign the heart elements of the annual show into an online experience.
The feedback from the community has been great. The cancellation of all of the normal events for this year has really hit a lot of the artists pretty hard, financially, and a lot of our artists have reached out to thank us for giving them something that can help generate substantive sales in spite of Covid-19.
Our goal was not to just do “the best we could under the circumstances,” but rather to actually come up with something that would be amazing and inspirational even in a normal year when there WERE live shows.Pat Wilshire, IX Arts
IX Online presents two main avenues to be enjoyed: a vast webinar series, and a free, ever-evolving online art gallery. Additionally, while the usual IX event only lasts a handful of days, IX Online will be running for six entire months. What better way to keep your glass of art topped to the brim through these darkest of times!
Webinar Series: September 25, 2020 – March 31, 2021
Full show of art and artists: October 21, 2020 – March 31, 2021
IX Online Gallery
The IX Online Gallery officially opened on October 21st and will run through to March 31st, 2021. In usual IX fashion, the virtual gallery shares Main Show participating artists and Showcase participating artists. Overall, the virtual exhibition shares thousands of pieces of original art, prints and merchandise through a selection of virtual artist booths!
I’ve spent more time than I’m willing to share perusing the vast selection of artists and artworks available at IX Online. Appreciatively, there are artworks to suits all budgets. Even more interestingly, there are many pieces of unpublished art ready for you to discover.
I’ve sat in awe of M’fanwy Dean’s carefully chiselled creations and fell into the smoky depths of Jeff Echevarria’s Darkness Beyond the Veil. Works such as those by Joanna Barnum and Allen Panakal bring an abundance of colour, a visual Pic’n’Mix that I can almost, just almost, taste. I’ve been taken from the depths of Michelle Mrowka’s Orenda and into the very skies to float with Tiffany Dae’s Of Stars. The journey from both has been vast, taking me through creations dark and sexual to the delightfully camp. From sci-fi to fantasy, re-telling of classic tales and celebrating the birth of new ones, IX Online has brought me hours of joy and adventure.
The joys of Sculpture
Furthermore, it isn’t just 2D artworks exhibiting in IX Online. Amidst the collections, Colin and Kristine Poole have a wide selection of sculptures for sale, while Rebecca Smith’s clay sculptures and paper wall hangings bring fantasy creatures to a whole new level. J Anthony Kosar, from the renowned Kosar Studios, shows off his special FX skills to share with you a host of demon busts perfect for any fan of horror.
There is even handmade jewellery by Kelly Potts-Martinez, and Daria Aksenova exhibits the most beautiful inked, suspended, and hand-cut paper narrative shadowboxes.
If I were to share all the pieces that stole a bit of my heart, this article would become an encyclopedia of personal favourites that would extend far beyond the usual article. As a result, I’ve had to reign it in. I hope, however, that that artworks here give you a delectable taste of what’s available on IX Online.
But wait; there’s more!
Even better, artists will be regularly updating their booths over the months, with new works and merchandise constantly being added. Rather joyously, the next six months have become a rolling IX event from your very home; the perfect reason to keep coming back! And just like the usual IX event, all products will be available to purchase. Thankfully, IX Online’s ‘favourite’ and ‘follow’ systems are there to help you keep track of the thousands of goodies, and the artists behind them.
If that’s not enough to keep you entertained, there’s even more! IX Online will also be running a schedule of artist “booth times.” These will include access information for when artists are doing virtual Zoom, Twitch or Facebook sessions. The artists will be in charge of their own sessions meaning the frequency will vary by artist.
The three levels of “attendance” for IX Online:
Interested? To finish, there’s a little more information to help you to decide how you want to navigate IX Online. There are three levels of access available, depending on how you wish to experience the event:
1) No registration. You can access the IX Online website to view all of the artistic goodness therein without registering at all. This will allow you to view all of the art and merchandise being offered for sale, email artists and purchase art. Additionally, you can see and access artist “Booth Chats.”
2) Basic ticket (free). If you register for a basic ticket, you can do all of the above PLUS take advantage of additional IX Online features. These include favouriting items and following specific artists and galleries, which is incredibly useful when wading through the thousands of pieces of art that will be on the IX Online site.
3) VIP Ticket (USD$40). You can upgrade your Basic ticket to “VIP Status”. This will ensure you can access anything uploaded to the site 48 hours in advance of non-paid viewers. Additionally, you will also gain full access to the entire IX 2020 series of webinars (more information below). Furthermore, VIP ticket status will be required to participate in online portfolio reviews. To purchase a VIP ticket, request a free ticket and then follow the prompts to upgrade to VIP.