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Fanbase Press Interviews Jim Demonakos on the (Virtual) Return of LightBox Expo Online 2021

The following is an interview with convention director Jim Demonakos regarding the return of LightBox Expo Online which launched on September 7th and runs through Sunday, September 12. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Demonakos about the what attendees can anticipate from the virtual art celebration, the guests to be honored at the Concept Art Awards, how to purchase tickets, and more!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: LightBox Expo has returned for an international virtual art event that will span six days.  How would you describe your process of bringing this celebrated event to life, both in its new virtual form and with its expanded duration?

Jim Demonakos: Luckily, we had last year’s online event under our belt, so then the idea here was to see what we could improve upon from what we learned in 2020. One of the reasons for expansion was to make sure there was enough time for people to enjoy the virtual artist alley and discover new artists. Plus, we have put together a ton of activities that people can do without them needing to spend any more money, so there’s a lot of value in hanging out during the week. 

BD: Given the virtual nature of the event, jaw-dropping talent from all over the world will be participating in the programming!  What are some of the programming highlights that you are most looking forward to this year?

JD: This is such a hard question; we have over 400 panels to choose from, so trying to narrow it down is honestly impossible. There’s something for everyone, from Drawing Jams to Recruiter talks to behind the scenes panels, to character design in the MCU, to an animation cage match and more. It’s a non-stop barrage of absolutely incredible programming!

BD: This year will also see the return of the Concept Art Awards, with the Lifetime Achievement Award being presented to Craig Mullins (Bioshock 2, Halo) and Ian McCaig (Star Wars: Episodes 1, 2, and 3, Avengers: Endgame).  How do these awards help to honor and acknowledge the incredible work being done by concept artists, especially when consuming media has helped us through these challenging times?

JD: Concept Artists are the unsung heroes of everything in pop culture that we digest. Imagine Star Wars without Ralph McQuarrie or Blade Runner without Syd Mead? Those are two incredible examples, but there are so many talented and amazing artists working on every single video game, movie, television show, animated movie/series, etc. that we enjoy, that the time is really right to put a spotlight on them.

BD: In terms of registration to LightBox Expo Online, what types of tickets are available to attendees?

JD: We have 4 levels of registration – our lowest ticket is just $2 and grants you full access to the event and all the programming. From there, we have a $10 level that includes a digital goodie bag from sponsors and studios, a $25 level that includes an exclusive pin, and a $45 level that includes a t-shirt designed by Eliza Ivanova. All the items are exclusive to the event this year and won’t be available after it’s over.

BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about LightBox Expo Online and the exciting events that they can look forward to this year?

JD: I would encourage them to check out here. You can browse the entire site before making a decision on whether you’d like to join us for this year’s festivities!


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