With the second annual Bay Area Sherlock Convention quickly approaching, the attending Nerdophiles team (Amy and Kirstie) is hard at work making travel arrangements, costume designing, and doing a bit of its own detective work on some of the convention’s Guests of Honor. We are fortunate to have had the opportunity to interview one of the con’s talented Guests Artists, Lauren Blakely, to get some information about her interests, her artwork, and what this year’s con-goers can expect.
Blakely, known as “Taco” among her internet fans, is a popular artist and dedicated fan of several film and television series. A resident of Los Angeles and a graduate of USC, Lauren works at a film and sound archive in Hollywood, and enjoys cooking, baking, and skating with the Angel City Derby Girls roller derby team in her free time. She was introduced to Sherlock Holmes during a college course, and has been in love with the stories, characters, and adaptations ever since.
Before our interview, Blakely sits in her apartment, its walls adorned with bright rainbow tapestries and fanart, as she sips a Mike’s Hard Lemonade. With cropped blond hair (a remnant of her Comic Con Captain Kirk cosplay) and a face that bears striking similarities to Matt Smith, she talks openly about her experiences as a artist and as a fan of Sherlock Holmes.
Is this your first time to Bay Area Sherlock Con?
Yeah, it’s my first time.
How do you feel about the recent Holmes adaptations? Do you have preferences? Opinions?
I like them all in their own way. I mean, the Robert Downey Jr. one is more like a guilty pleasure because it’s just funny, and I love Jude Law. I like Sherlock. I wasn’t even in the fandom until maybe a year after the show came out and didn’t start drawing fan art until then. I like Elementary too, but I think I still have to watch the last episode of it….
You did say you’ve read some of the Sherlock Holmes stories. In what way do you think they’ve impacted you and your art?
That’s a deep question. I just love mysteries, and I’m not very good at figuring them out myself, so I guess it’s always a surprise to me. That’s why I read them in the first place, and that’s why I watch [Sherlock]. Like, “Sherlock Holmes, I wish I could be like you,” you know what I mean? I don’t know if it influences my art, but I just like to draw Sherlock Holmes. I really like Holmes and Watson and how they interact with each other.
I think they have some of the best chemistry. Out of all fictional characters, those two really stand out to me.
It’s easy to forget that they’re actually fictional characters!
What are you most looking forward to at BASC?
I’m looking forward to meeting some of the other artists. Cara McGee, she sounds awesome. I’m pretty excited about the panel. I’m not sure how that’s gonna go…I’ve never been on a panel before. I think me and like three other artists agreed to do a panel. We might do Pictionary. . .and do a Q&A. And we each get an art table.
What kinds of things will you be selling?
I sell prints and buttons and…I really hope I get my act together and do this, but I already made a Star Trek sketch book collection of some of my drawings, and I’m hoping I can get that done for some of my Sherlock art too. I have buttons of like, each Sherlock pairing. I tried to cover all my bases.
So as a guest of honor, what would you say that BASC attendees can look forward to?
It should be fun! I’m looking forward to meeting more fans. And I think it’s really cool that they’re showing Granada Holmes. Even if it’s not you’re thing, it’s good to branch out, and if you like things like BBC Sherlock, it’s good to go back to the source material. I hope that new fans and old alike can bond.
Lauren is also one of the artists contributing to the swag bag goodies, and promises that she has plenty of awesome Sherlock merchandise that will be available for sale at her artist table. Make sure to stop by and say hello! She will be appearing on the “A Study in Paint” panel alongside fellow artists and convention guests Anna, Blue, and Cara, and will also be participating in the “Art Jam” with the convention’s other Guest Artists. You can find more of Lauren’s art at the links below.
BASC takes place on Saturday, August 17, followed on Sunday by an afternoon tea party. Events include panels, screenings, a cosplay contest, and a catered lunch and tea. For more information on the Bay Area Sherlock Convention, the programming schedule, buying passes, and the convention’s partners, visit bayareasherlockcon.com. We look forward to seeing you there!