Updated: Nov 10, 2019
One of our favorite vendor discoveries at MegaCon this year was Arcanic Artistry. We connected with the creative mind behind Arcanic Artistry, Dakota Myers, to discuss his unique creations, and get to know an authentic Orlando creator. Enjoy this Q&A and find out more about Dakota and Arcanic Artistry here.
Q: What you do, described on your website as “custom laser cut artwork”, is not quite the same as the traditional craft of woodworking, is it? What’s unique about your process?
A: I used custom laser cut artwork as a catch-all term for how I began making designs. Laser cutting is an interesting branch of woodworking/burning because once a design is created it’s easily replicated to perfection through the engraving process. Instead of days to have one piece I’m able to quickly create intricate designs once the initial plan is created over the course of minutes to an hour.
Q: When and how did you start doing this? What was the very first thing you created?
A: Just over a year and a half ago I made my first coaster of Tachanka from Rainbow Six Siege using UCF’s engineering lab. I posted it to Reddit, people said they would buy it, and eventually, I invested in my own laser to begin making more! Coasters from other series, wall art from my favorite games and shows, then a heavy emphasis on creating anything custom somebody would want.
Q: How far has your business come? In other words… I see you have an Etsy shop and website, and obviously, we saw you at MegaCon. Are conventions part of your normal routine? Where else do you sell, and as a maker/creator, what websites or venues have you found the most success – either in sales or just in engagement and recognition?
A: We’ve just begun entering the convention circuit as a major business venture. Megacon Orlando was our 8th show overall and it was a massive success with the crowds of people. I’ve found the most success so far sharing artwork to Reddit as people are open and receptive when you can target a specific demographic via subreddits. When it comes to promoting, it’s important to share not just as an advertisement – starting a conversation and interacting with people. Knowing the audience you’re aiming for and not just creating for the sake of profit I feel have been key factors to success.
Q: Are you doing this on your own, or are others involved?
A: For everything regarding product from draft to shipping out creations, I am the main person. However, my girlfriend Leili has been the biggest cheerleader and manager to Arcanic. She’s helped in keeping me organized with promotional banners, business cards, and general cleanup of my widespread creation process.
Q: You mentioned being a UCF student… what are the challenges of trying to tackle your studies and running a creative business at the same time?
A: The way I organize files and the size of my laser means it needs to switch pieces of wood to engrave roughly every 1-2 hours. It works out nicely with a college schedule with ample time between classes, but that can also mean long downtimes without something being made for heavier class schedules. For conventions, this often means I’m taking a lot of orders instead of directly selling product, which adds another layer of needed work in the downtime between my studies.
Q: What are you studying – does it tie-in to any future plans you may have for Arcanic Artisty?
A: I’m currently studying Game Design and Marketing, with the latter being much more prevalent to be a salesperson and greatly helping in public speaking. For the future, I hope to have some form of job creating or selling video games that also gives the flexibility to continue keeping the laser running as much as possible. Finding the balance between the two will help me be successful in both aspects of life.
A: Originally there were a lot of drafts for names. But since I did a lot with dungeons and dragons I knew it had to be something magical related. I didn’t want to go with my gamertag or just my name, the business had to stand out on its own merit. So first the name was Arcane Artist, but a Googling showed a fantastic painter already took the name. The sound of the double A’s kept resonating with me, and eventually, I added other bits to make it Arcanic Artistry. At the time none of my friends liked it but I was set on it.
Q: Most Orlando residents are not originally from here… are you? What do you think makes Orlando special?
A: I’m from Clearwater so the metropolis life has always been around for me. I didn’t know where I wanted to go to school exactly but UCF was close enough to be near home, but not too close. I believe Orlando is special in that it has so many options available for every kind of lifestyle. There’s something for everyone all within an hour’s drive: Disney/Universal, downtown, UCF, the natural world just outside downtown, and so much to look forward to exploring.
Q: What is your personal favorite piece you’ve ever made, and what was the most difficult or strangest custom request you’ve received?
A: My current favorite piece is my Arcane Coffer. It’s used for dungeons and dragons to store dice and double as a rolling tray in the lid. Its creation is all thanks to Leili who told me to combine the dice box and tray from two separate designs into one single box. From there it’s been a great success at every show. I haven’t had too many outlandish requests but the most interesting so far was a suit of armor much like cosplayers would make out of EVA foam. The problem with that is wood is much heavier than foam and a lot less flexible for a human to easily walk around in.
Q: Is there a specific creative/artistic skill or craft you would still like to learn?
A: I really want to discover more with a CNC machine. It has the same characteristics as a laser but is much more focused on cutting away material with a drill bit instead of burning away a thin line. It would ideally save time over cutting multiple layers for the Arcane Coffer and enable the use of engraving with thicker material but until then it’s thin pieces of wood!
Q: Bonus question! Considering that you were smart enough to have a space at MegaCon, one of Orlando’s most prominent annual events, I have to ask… what are YOU a fan of?
A: I really love a lot of nerdy things. There’s an endless list of TV, anime, and movies to watch that keeps growing with every new release. I’m a big fan of dungeons and dragons and play every week – mostly as a dungeon master and occasionally a player. And when playing video games I have a collection that’s grown ever since I could hold a controller and understand what was happening on a TV screen.