On Thursday, March 23rd, the Japanese Anime and Magna (J.A.M.) student organization hosted the first annual C3 Expo in the Columbia College Chicago Student Center. A day-long celebration of anime, magna, and Japanese culture, the Expo was open to both the Columbia and wider Chicago communities and featured cosplay, student-run art booths, and a series of panels with topics like designing cosplay costumes, a discussion with the Asian Student Organization on AAPI discrimination, and a visit from two professional anime voice actors.
Featured student artists offered both original and fan art in a variety of mediums. Illustration Major and local street artist Ruby Bean (@artbybean) sold hand-sculpted clay frogs, keychains and stickers of their street art tag (a gothic bat head), and large prints of familiar comic and magna characters like Miles Morales from Spider-Man.
Lucca Chin (@lucca.chin) came dressed as Maid Cyna from Genshin Impact and sold hand-crafted potion bottles made from water colorant and mica powder that swirl, shimmer, and change color when shaken.
Cosplay superstar Arya the Alchemist (@sketching_the_tardis, @arya.the.alchemist) displayed “cosplay prints of original and traditional art” as well as “goofy prints and stickers.” When Arya started cosplaying in 2015, they originally only modified existing costumes, but they’ve since started designing and fabricating their own.
The Expo was also an opportunity for new artists to showcase their work publicly and build a customer base. Kara of KDominique Arts, who sold hand-made buttons and stickers, shared the importance of such an event for her own work. “I haven’t really displayed my art all too much except for Shop Columbia,” she said, “so this is my first time interacting with customers and I really love it!”
According to Vice President and Animation Major Jay Vasquez, who also helped plan and market the event, C3 Expo was an effort by J.A.M. “to put up a sort-of event where it feels more like a community and who were are as Columbia and not necessarily what our majors are,” a space for students and members of the wider Chicago community to meet and celebrate shared passions and talents.
Hopefully this year’s C3 Expo was just the first of many to come, so connect with J.A.M. on Discord for updates and be sure to check out the student artists featured in this post!
Check out more photos from the event below: