This post is all about my recent trip and personal experience to the 2015 Face and Body Art International Convention (FABAIC) in Ft. Lauderdale, FL hosted by Silly Farm Supplies.
The convention was held at the Bonaventure Resort over Memorial Day weekend and my experience was nothing short of amazing! This convention consisted of four fun-filled days of workshops, classes, jams and events. Classes were varied and not only consisted of face painting but also focused on balloon twisting, henna, special fx makeup, marketing classes and so much more. FABAIC featured some of the industry’s best and well-known artists such as Nick Wolfe, Matteo Arfanotti, Melissa Munn, Ashley Pickin, Heather Green, Ronnie Mena, Jodi Rife, Wiser Oner, Mark Reid, Margi Kanter, Jay Bautista and so many more!
Each registered attendee received a welcome packet with class and event schedules, vendor hours, all the information you need to plan on how to maximize your experience at FABAIC. I received my packet in the mail a week or so before the convention and was able to plan my itinerary. There is also a FABAIC smart phone app with all the classes and event information but I liked the sheets in packet better.
When you arrive to FABAIC, you have to register at the registration desk, get your badge, event bracelet and sign a waiver form. The bracelet is what gets you access to all events and contains your attendee number, which will be used for the raffles, so do not take it off or lose it. At registration you also get your goodie bag and a T-shirt. ^_^ My goodie bag was awesome and came with 1 Wolfe sponge, two super cool Bad Ass stencils, a TAP stencil, a sample of Ruby Red, a coupon for a free sample of global blue, coupons for vendor booths and other little things! Each attendee’s goodie bag was different and came with all types of goodies.
CLASSES & WORKSHOPS
Classes and workshops were held at the Bonaventure Resorts’ convention center. Meeting rooms were spacious, but not too large, and had tables and chairs set up for attendees. Each room also had overhead monitor displays on each side of the room for easier classroom viewing. Classes were either lecture style, hands-on or demos. During demo classes, I was practicing on my arm, face or legs, so I recommend shaving and wearing skirts or shorts 😛
Class instructors would stand on a stage or platform in front of the room and paint or demo. There were cameras in every room and a Silly Farm employee would be operating the camera that would record and display the instructor’s lesson on the overhead monitors. Cameras would zoom in and out, as needed, and would display what the instructor was doing on the monitors so everyone in the room could see, so you didn’t necessarily have to sit in front; it was pretty cool!
I enjoyed all the classes I took and selecting classes was really difficult! There were so many amazing classes to pick from and some of the ones I wanted to take were scheduled at the same time so you really have to select carefully and align them with your goals. In any event, I learned several new designs, new painting and brush techniques, and so much more! I definitely encourage attendees to network, talk to other painters, ask questions and socialize. You will not only learn from FABAIC instructors, but also from attendees who possess knowledge and experiences they can share with you that you can learn from. I loved looking at other painter’s kits, set-ups, business cards and painting techniques. It was quite insightful.
Attendees are discouraged from jumping from class to class once they started, as it is disruptive, so I recommend networking and swapping pics and notes with other attendees. I did this with my roommate a lot. J I also encourage you to make a goals list on what you want to accomplish and learn at FABAIC (as well as a shopping list because that vendor room is DANGER). Haha. My goals list consisted of the following:
- Learn Henna
- Improve my line work and teardrops
- Take 1-2 marketing classes
- Learn new eye designs, butterflies and girly designs
- Learn 5 new Boy/Scary designs
- Enhance my 3-D painting skills!
Definitely take a camera/smartphone, a pen & notebook to all classes, a practice head or pad (if you have one), baby wipes and a condensed face painting kit. I like practicing on myself so took a small mirror. Small plastic cups and water are provided in each room but I recommend you save and reuse your cups or bring your own plastic cup! Save the earth! 😉
Intensive workshops are hands-on classes held on Thursday of the convention from 12pm to 6pm and cost a separate fee apart from the regular registration fee. The fee for these workshops is $150 and are limited to 12 students only, so you get a lot of 1-on-1 attention from the instructor. Only the industry’s most talented instructors are selected to host Intensive Workshops and are usually the best of the best. This year FABAIC had 8 Intensive Workshops with 8 amazing different instructors with unique techniques and styles. Bring your full kit, notebook, practice head and a camera. Also, a written or mental list of what you want to learn or accomplish in these workshops. Either way, you will learn a lot! The only thing I didn’t like about that intensive workshops it that they were scheduled from 12p-6p on Thursday when other workshops and classes were going on at the convention. I missed out on 2 great classes I wanted to take RATS!
Below is a list of the classes I took:
- Matteo Arfanotti (Intensive Workshop) – Matteo is an Italian artist with a distinct and realistic style. I took his Masterpieces in 3-D Intensive Workshop and learned so many new 3-D painting techniques. I would definitely recommend his class to more advanced face painters. The class description mentioned learning how to paint bugs and scorpions, which we didn’t do but I still learned a lot about painting eyeballs, wounds, teeth, cyborgs, monsters and more. Matteo was a very good teacher, quite humble and extremely talented. I give this class and teacher A+++.
- Anna Wistrich – I loved Anna Wistrich and took two of her classes: Anna’s Favorite Designs and Butterfly Garden. WOW. Just WOW. I learned how to paint a cute little hummingbird and Anna did this beautiful Black Swan eye design on an attendee. It was so cute and unique! I loved her style, her voice, her techniques and wished she could have painted me! My roommate took Anna’s Intensive Workshop and she said Anna had the gentlest touch, beautiful designs and was not only a wonderful teacher, but just an amazing person with a kind spirit.
- Margi Kanter – Margi Kanter’s Playing with Color class was fun and her style is so unique. On top of that, she is so goofy and funny. She painted a beautiful mask, a cartoon butterfly a fancy eye design and some really colorful creations. Her cartoon style is distinctive, truly quirky and one of a kind. A heavy favorite at the convention, for sure! I’m lucky to have her as a neighbor in Chicago. She is a truly talented artist.
- Mark Reid – I took Mark’s Boys will Be Boys and that class was phenomenal! He cranked out like 9-10 amazing designs during his class. He painted this awesome snake face on me that was a huge hit! He shared some tips on how to do a symmetrical Batman masks, painted a wolf, dragon, monster eye, eagle and more! His Tigers are my absolute favorite. <3 Definitely one of my favorite teachers and classes at the convention. A+++
- Deborah Brommer – I took 3 of Deborah’s Henna classes (Mandalas, Flowers and Hands-On) and found them very informative. However, I did make a recommendation to event coordinators to having a Beginners Henna class that focuses on all the basics. I felt the classes kept getting derailed by basic henna questions and the instructor would lose control or get side tracked but Deborah was a great teacher and had great course content. I think at the next convention they will be moving henna classes to bigger rooms since as they were a bit crowded.
- Jodi Rife – I LOVED Jodi’s Dare to be Dramatic class. I loved her designs and teaching style. She was clear and concise and her designs were so darn cute too. I am glad I took her class because I almost skipped it for something else.
- Anna Willinski and Laura Oliver – I enjoyed the Beauty and the Beast class. Laura did 3 pretty designs and Anna did two scary mask designs. Very cute class and I learned a new trick from Laura on how to do roses. THIS one trick, made the whole convention worth it. haha
Unfortunately, I was not able to take any classes by Nick Wolfe, Heather Green, Jay Bautista, Ashley Pickin, Georette Pressler and so many others!!! UGH! So disappointing. :’( But there is always FABATv, with on-demand access to classes! 😉
The vendor room was FUN, huge, very well organized and had a great assortment of products, companies, and services. During vendor hours, some booths would have live demos and makeup applications going on as well as products displayed to test and try. There were lots of specials and sales. For example, Superstar had FAB 16gm paints that were buy 3 at $8 each, get 1 free. Silly Farm had their signature Rainbow cakes at $14, normally $15. Each booth would have specials and deals.
Silly Farm was the largest vendor in the vendor room and had tons to look at and shop for. There were brushes, books, glitters, magazines, attire, accessories, henna kits, sponges, a bling bar and rainbow cakes as far as the eye can see. The bling bar was new this year, I believe, and consisted of a table with small bowls of diamonds, bling and gems organized by colors to add to your kit. They were selling $5 and $15 baggies that you could fill with gems of your choice.
Unfortunately, I waited until the last day to shop and the bling bar was wiped out by then! L Bummer. I also wanted to purchase a henna kit but those sold out too. RATS! I waited until the last day because I wanted to make a list of all the things I wanted to buy after taking all my classes and workshops but in retrospect, this wasn’t the greatest idea, obviously. In any event, I did do some major damage otherwise and spent a purty penny on paints, brushes, Illusion Magazines and other painting supplies.
Other vendors at the convention were Wolfe, Mehron, Graftobian, Superstar Paints (FAB), Ruby Red, Graffiti Eyes, Monster Paste, Glimmer Body Art, Jest Paint featuring Cameleon Paints, Snazaroo and so many more.
There were three fun nights of jams at the convention (Thurs, Fri and Sat) and took place after classes around 8pm. Jams were so cool and would last til 2-3am in the morning! Jams were held in a very large room and consisted of attendees and instructors all coming together to “jam”, in other words – PAINT! During this time, attendees would paint themselves or someone else, they could network, watch other painters do their thing, share techniques or practice what they learned. Jams were so much fun! You got to jam with FABAIC instructors and well-known artists in the face & body painting community. I was able to connect with so many face painters I know on Facebook and Instagram. J I met so many of my favorite painters!
During the jams, there was also an airbrush section, with a variety of airbrush units set up so attendees can play and test out different systems. This was awesome! My roommate ended up trying out airbrushing for the first time and bought an airbrush kit the next day. Naughty girl!
MY BUDGET & HOW I SAVED
As soon as I decided to attend FABAIC, I started saving money from every face painting gig toward my trip. My goal was to save at least $1,500 by May 15, 2015. That was for food, airfare, hotel and shopping. Luckily, I had 10 whole months to save and my goal was to save $150/month (10 x $150 = $1,500). I also stopped buying face painting supplies unless I absolutely had to, NO EXCEPTIONS! I wanted to save all my shopping for FABAIC. 😉
With my $1,500 budget, I was able to pay for registration, hotel, shuttle fees, an intensive workshop class, my meals and had extra for shopping and unplanned expenses. I also took some additional steps to save more money.
First, I took advantage of the early-bird registration, which was $295. Normally, the registration fee is $395 but you saved $100 if you paid the registration fee by August 31, 2014. That is a GREAT deal!!! I have paid as much as $150 for a one-day workshops with just 1 teacher!! The $295 early bird rate gave me access to all the hands-on classes, workshops, demos, jams and events. FABAIC had over 80 classes with the industry’s most talented painters so you are really stretching your dollar far! The registration fee also included a welcome packet, t-shirt, goodie bag, opening day BBQ, two days of a boxed lunch, and access to the closing night Gala party with a food buffet. All that for $295?!?! That was an absolute bargain to me!
Second, my airfare was FREE! I used credit card points to purchase my round-trip flight on Southwest airlines, so that saved me $400-$500 right off the bat. SA-WEEEET! More budget for shopping!
Third, I split the hotel costs with a roommate. The hotel room total was $771.80 for 5 nights, which made my share of hotel a total $385. Not bad for 5-night hotel stay. Our room was lovely too! I booked an Executive Double suite, which came with two double beds, bathroom, a microwave, electric stove with two burners, small sink and small refrigerator. Our room also had a balcony with a view to the pool. DOUBLE SCORE! The pool was great! And it had a waterfall. Our room was perfect for two fun-loving, amazing goofy painty chicks. Our room did have little tiny ants that appeared here and there in the kitchen area and random flying bugs, but it’s Florida, so I guess that’s the norm! Haha. The rooms were on location at the resort and were really close to the convention center so getting to and from classes was quick and easy. I definitely recommend staying at the resorts’ hotel to make commuting easier.
I also signed up for the FABAIC shuttle to pick me up and drop me off at the airport. This was $25 each way per person, so I paid $50 total, which saved me over $50 in cab fares. It would be $50 alone plus tips each way if I took a cab. When you registered for the shuttle, you had to provide your name, airline, flight number arrival/departure time and number of people with you. The fee is payable through Paypal and you receive an email with your confirmation. The shuttle would make scheduled rounds to pick up attendees. This was really convenient for me and I experienced no issues getting picked up and dropped off. I also had the driver’s cell number to call or text him with any issues. I did have to text Francisco, the driver, and he was really quick to reply. Warning: Francisco drives FAST. Haha. That’s ok though, I was eager to get to FABAIC then when I left, I was running late to my flight and he got me there safely and quickly.
To save additional money, my roommate and I, planned to cook in our room since it had an electric stove and fridge. We were supposed to go buy groceries so we can save on eating out but it seemed we never found the time or were too tired. Haha. The convention did offer attendees a free shuttles to local grocery shops and stores if you wanted to go shopping or dine out but like I said we never found the time or were too tired. Luckily, I budgeted $30/day for meals but was fed lunch and dinner two days of the convention so some days I didn’t even exhaust my food budget. YAY! More to spend on paints! Hehe. :} To save money on food or eating out, I recommend taking some pots and pans and buying food to cook, like eggs and stuff. Please note, the rooms were not equipped with pots, plates or silverware so if you plan on cooking, pack some cookware, plates and utensils as well.
Below is a list of my expenses and total dollar amount spent, which was right under my $1,500 budget. Keep in mind, you do not have to take a $150 intensive workshop, have a $150 budget for eating out or have a large shopping fund like I did so you may be able to attend FABAIC with a smaller budget. 😉
This was my first convention ever. While I was networking with other painters, I asked if they had attended other conventions and what were their thoughts of them were in comparison to FABAIC. All the answers were the same: FABAIC was the best! FABAIC was the most organized, has the best teachers, the most classes, best vendor room, biggest jams and was the best convention in the world that would give you the biggest bang for your buck.
One of the best things from the convention was I became really good friends with my Australian roommate. I met her in the Facebook FABAIC Group. She made a post that she was looking for a roommate and gave a brief description of herself. I reached out to her and we became Facebook friends; we started to chat to get to know each other. I am not going to lie, I was a bit apprehensive and paranoid about sharing a room with someone I never met but she was AMAZING. Funny, goofy, charming and a perfect pixie pie! We got along so well, had a very similar sense of humor and we laughed so much throughout the convention so it worked out perfectly. I love you Sarah!
Anywho, I feel that $1,500 for a 4-day convention with access to over 80 classes, 5-night hotel stay, 2 lunches, 2 dinners, one intensive workshop , shuttle rides and plethora of new supplies and paints was a great bargain! I consider the money I spent as an investment into my business and nothing was a waste. I learned so much, made great friends and had an overall wonderful experience. Also, the convention expenses are tax deductible if you are an LLC or sole proprietor of your business, so take advantage of that.
Unfortunately, Silly Farm isn’t going to host a FABAIC in 2016 and the next convention isn’t going to be until 2017, but guess what? That means you have TWO years to SAVE and plan. If you want to be a part of a phenomenal event with the best face painters in the world, learn a lot, grow as an artist, get inspired, make great friends, experience amazing moments and make great memories, then FABAIC 2017 is for you. Make goals, have a plan, save money and come experience one of the best things in the face painting industry there is. FABAIC 2017, I will definitely be there!