On Saturday, March 7th, we had the pleasure of attending the opening reception of The Legend of Korra and Avatar: The Last Airbender Tribute Exhibition being held at Gallery Nucleus!

The drive from San Diego to Alhambra was definitely worth our while – the event was insanely fun and inspiring! Tristan and I have been illustrators and comic creators all our lives and to see so many talented content creators, fellow artists and spirited fans was outstanding.

We arrived slightly before 3pm and quickly discovered that the line was wrapped all the way around the building… twice. We knew right then and there our chances of meeting Bryke or getting one of the coveted Korrasami prints was slim, but simply being in line turned out to be an experience all it’s own!

Our place in line (which happened to be at the back door of Gallery Nucleus) also came with it’s own desk – which we quickly dubbed “Megadesk” because of all the things we managed to load it up with: sketchbooks, ipads, drinks and snacks – and of course, fellow fans. We ended up meeting some really awesome people in line and the hours flew by as we discussed all things Avatar, Korra, superheroes and art. By the end of the night, we became known as The Fellowship of the Desk! What an awesome experience to be able to instantly connect with other people and form such quick friendships – Avatar fans are truly an amazing bunch and they never cease to amaze me at any event I go to!

One of the night’s highlights was seeing Michael and Bryan arrive to the event. Since our crew was perched on megadesk located right by the back entrance of the gallery, we all had a unique opportunity to greet the creators. Who knew the people in the back of the line would be able to say hello first? It was pretty cute to see us all inwardly fangirling, however, as we repressed our excitement!

After the amazing group cosplay photo-shoots that took place and little after 6pm, the line began to move. The excitement began to grow and cosplayers really amped it up, I have to say! Some of the highlights included the box of cabbages being passed around, the singing Prince Wu, a very loud Avatar Wan who shouted “NERDS!” as he drove down the block and of course, the epic battle between Zaheer and Korra!

When we finally made it into the gallery, we saw the creators and various Avatar team members on the top floor. Nucleus held a very entertaining raffle for Avatar-themed prizes, an eclectic assortment of merchandise, and even a bar for attendees!

Each and every piece of art displayed was magnificent. Some of the highlights of my gallery experience included Simona Candini’s gorgeous Korra painting, Lauren Henderson’s Lion Turtle and Wan piece, Emily Tetri’s incredibly captivating sky bison artwork, Abigail L. Dela Cruz’s yangchen illustration, and Sachin Teng’s assorted works – all so unique. Seeing Johanne Matte’s inks in the flesh filled me with inspiration and envy – I very much aspire to reach her skill level one day! The 3D-printed momo totem was simply amazing to behold and the exquisitely crafted Pai Sho table made me yearn to learn the game!

As if all the art weren’t enough, Tristan and I had the pleasure of running into Giancarlo Volpe while we were in line to sign the element-themed “guest-canvases” available for doodles and messages. We’re huge fans of his work and were lucky enough to get a picture with the help of his wife, Angela! I also spotted voice actors Seychelle Gabriel and PJ Byrne but didn’t get a chance to meet them. It was incredible to see so many people we admired enjoying the show along with us on the gallery floor; and I was even more astounded when I saw the complete guest list online. The event was packed, but the energy in that room made everything all the more exciting.

In regards to the Tashi and Nima comic, Tristan and I wanted to present our work to Michael and Bryan as a thank you for all the inspiration they’ve provided over the years. We prepared a postcard with art and information about the project – and while we weren’t able to hand it directly to them, a very kind gallery employee said she’d present it to them. It was very much appreciated that she would do something so kind for us as fellow artists. Whether or not they did actually receive them, it was such a kind gesture on her behalf to try!

Overall, Gallery Nucleus was such an amazing experience and not one I’ll soon forget! I sincerely hope the Avatar community is kept alive with other beautiful events like these in the future. Thanks for reading!

P.S.- If you were also in attendance, feel free to comment back with your experiences!

<3 Krystle