Founded in 2008, IX is the first, ground-breaking art show, symposium, and celebration dedicated solely to imaginative realism—bringing artists, students, collectors, and art fans together for an annual gathering intended to inspire and create further awareness and zeal for imaginative realism and all that’s encompassed in the realm of the fantastic.
As the largest display of original imaginative realist art in the world, IX is an entirely unique experience where artists are free to participate in the show just as attendees and students do, students have the opportunity to sign up for private portfolio reviews by industry art directors and galleries, and all present have numerous opportunities to be inspired by and grow in love for the vast array of work and people in this incredible field.
From its founding, IX has been dedicated to providing:
…an atmosphere where students, emerging artists, established artists, and masters of the field/discipline alike are inspired to take their creative process and work to new heights, make contacts that lead them to new opportunities, and simply rediscover the passion they have for their work and the genre.
…an opportunity for collectors and fans of imaginative realism, fine art students and fans, and even those who’ve not considered themselves fans of art before to be blown away by the original paintings and sculpture displayed at the show, while having the opportunity to approach and get to know the talented artists who created the work in an intimate, art-focused setting.
…an environment where the desire to create and maintain unique, individual artistic expression drives a shared understanding among all present, where egos are checked at the door, there are no “Guests of Honor,” and the highly recognized artist takes away just as much from the show as the newly established artist/student.
…an experience that is unparalleled in the field of imaginative realism; inspiration to all who have come to love and appreciate the long-standing artistic discipline of exploring the imaginative.
Why is IX in Reading, and not in [insert name of random city, state, or geopolitical region here]?
IX takes place in Reading because of the unique opportunity afforded by both our partnership with the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts as well as Reading’s convenient location—with over 25 million people living within a 2-hour drive of the city.
How many people come to IX?
The full show attendance at IX is strictly limited. From the very first year, one of the special aspects of IX has been its intimate atmosphere. This atmosphere continues to exist because we believe, in order it to provide the inspirational experience it provides, the show needs to be all about personal interaction between artists, students, collectors, and fans. This only works when numbers are controlled for a substantial portion of the show. Each year we sell 350 five-day Member passes. Add in the artists and their associates? The total number of bodies at the show Wednesday through Friday is about 500, plus school groups. On the weekend, we sell single-day tickets at the door as well as Weekend Passes—allowing for significantly increased numbers on those days.
I’m a major artist, and I’d like to be considered as a Guest of Honor for IX. How do I do that?
There are no Guests of Honor at IX. EVERY artist who attends the show pays their own way and pays for their table space—we do not host, subsidize, pay, sponsor, or otherwise financially assist any artist to come and exhibit at the show. We feel that it’s neither fair nor appropriate to take fees from one artist and use those funds to give another artist a free ride; every artist who exhibits at IX is among the best of the best. This being the case, we feel all should be treated equally.
Doesn’t that mean that there are some artists who won’t ever come to IX?
It does. However, we want artists to attend IX because they really WANT to be at the show, not because we’ve rented them for a few days. We fully respect the right of artists to only attend events where they are subsidized, if they so choose. And, of course, some are in such high demand they have almost no choice. IX is just not one of those events.
I see a ton of names on the list of exhibitors. How can I tell which artists will actually have a space at the show and original artwork on display, as opposed to those who will just be present and signing autographs?
Every artist listed as an exhibitor at IX has their own exhibition space and will be filling wall/table/pedestal space with their artwork. Artists who are attending the show but not exhibiting their work are not listed as exhibitors.
The website shows several images for each of the Main Show exhibitors. Are those the works that will be in the show?
Most often, not. The images on the website are designed to be representative of the artists’ work—those specific paintings, drawings, or sculptures may or may not be at the show any given year. All of the artists at the show will be exhibiting more—in the majority of cases, significantly more—than five works of original art at IX, with over 2,000 works of art on display throughout the show’s total of roughly 30,000 square feet of exhibition space between venues this year!
What about art directors? Who will be doing portfolio reviews?
Also very easy. We only list art directors who are doing official IX portfolio reviews. Other AD’s come to the show on an annual basis, but we do not list them as being in attendance unless they are officially doing reviews for the show.
I’m an artist and I’d like to exhibit at the show. How do I do so?
The Main Show exhibition at IX is juried. To exhibit in the Main Show at IX, you need to submit your work for consideration when the submission announcements are posted—usually about a week or so after the end of the previous show. (For example, the call for submissions for the 2023 show will run November 1st through November 30th, 2022.) On average, we receive approximately twice as many submissions as we actually have spaces available in the show, so the competition is quite fierce. However, for those who do not make it into the main exhibitions in the show, or who work digitally, we suggest snagging one of the Showcase tables in our Friday and Saturday night “show-within-a-show.” To do this, you just need to reserve an IX Showcase table when they go on sale. The 130 Showcase tables usually sell out in less than five minutes, though, so make sure to sign up for our mailing list and keep an eye out for the announcements from us regarding the on-sale date and time for those tables. As we have in the past, in cases where we have last-minute cancellations in the Main Show, we will draw from IX Showcase artists to fill those spots. Although, many artists have chosen to be and remain in the Showcase when missing the annual submission process in the past and make quite an impact on collectors and attendees in doing so. Be sure to register for our mailing list and follow us on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, or Twitter to make sure you receive all key notifications.
What is the entry fee?
There is no entry fee to submit to the IX show jury process. We don’t believe in charging artists unless we actually give them something in return.
Who does the judging for the show?
The judges vary each year. We draw judges—from both inside and outside the imaginative realist art field—with a focus on identifying the best artists for the show, rather than just the most popular or the best known. Past judges have ranged from art directors at Wizards of the Coast, the Director of British and Irish Art of Sotheby’s London and the editor of Juxtapoz magazine, to the curators of the Delaware and Brandywine art museums. We do not have any artists in this discipline judging the show submissions due to potential conflicts of interest, although we have had renowned realist painters from outside the genre serve as judges in the past.
How do the IX commissions work? Will you commission me?
The IX commissions are given out each year to several artists to produce major personal works that are then used to promote IX, imaginative realism, and the artists themselves. These commissions are a key part of the IX mission—encouraging the creation of new, major traditional media works at a scale and complexity unlimited by standard deadlines or content restrictions. We select the artists for the commission each year based on a wide variety of criteria, and we have a long list of potential candidates in mind. If your work is stunning, passion and drive are present, and you have a great desire to do that once-in-a-lifetime personal work, we’re sure we have noticed by now and will in the future.
The annual IlluXConcepts book was really cool, but I haven’t seen one in a few years. Are you going to do those again?
No. As the scale of IX has increased, it has become cost-prohibitive to produce a large enough book that we can sell at a reasonable price.
I’d like to volunteer to help out at the show. How do I do this?
Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact form. Most of the show is covered by paid staff, but there are limited numbers of volunteer opportunities available.
I’m an art/gaming/merchandise dealer. Can I set up at the show?
Maybe. In the past, IX has not had enough space to allow dealers to set up, as we’ve chosen to reserve every possible square inch for artists, and we wish to avoid sales conflicts for the attending exhibitors. The new venues in Reading provide a great deal more space, however, and we are exploring options that may allow dealers to set up in some limited capacity in future years. If you are interested, drop us a note at email@example.com.
What do Pat and Jeannie do?
We’re flattered that anyone cares. As of late 2016, Pat and Jeannie have both dedicated themselves full-time to expanding IX Arts and furthering its mission. Previously, Pat spent 20 years working as a multimedia instructional designer and Jeannie previously served both government and private clients as a graphic designer and technical writer. Together they have authored two books (Visions of Never and The Art of the Dragon) and are currently working on the third, a critical history of Imaginative Realism. In addition, they co-curated the record-breaking “At the Edge: Art of the Fantastic” exhibition at the Allentown Art Museum in 2012 as well as numerous gallery shows and the 2016 IX Preview Weekend at the Delaware Museum of Art. Kerberos, our premier quadruped, is in charge of maintaining corporate morale, security, and leftover management. His young padawan learner, Ishi, eats his face and steals his antler chews. Doubloon, the newest addition to the team, likes to float around in his tank flaunting the fact that he has both gills and lungs and is therefore better than the rest of us in spite of the fact that we insist on referring to him as “banana frog.”
Plan Your Stay
Information about where to stay, where to eat, and other local attractions. Discount hotel rates are available at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Reading.