I have not been to one of these conferences in 14 years. It was a whirlwind trip of seeing old friends and met some very nice new ones. One of the most interesting sessions I attended was hosted by illustrator Federico Jordan: Through Another's Eyes, Illustrating Across Cultures. He was very charming and talented and has a blog in spanish. Also In February 2004 he called friends and colleagues with the purpose of asking them about their relationship with art direction in their illustration work process and their perception in the future of our industry, these interviews can be found here.
I also attended a session in making Stylebooks, another with Andrea Levy of The Plain Dealer: Golden Photo Illustration - I found this one very interesting. I take lots of photos in the same theme she does, but she does something extraordinary with hers. Susen Schult of Svenska Dagblaget session and Janet Froelich, Creative Director of The New York Times Magazine and T: The New York Times Style Magazine: From 9/11 to Haute Couture. An interesting discussion about branding for the New "T" Style Magazine.
The opening reception was held at Houston Museum of Natural Science. Each exhibit of the museum offered different cuisine, lots of margaritas and wine. A kick-ass dessert bar in the gem and mineral exhibit, with on tower of moving liquid chocolate over biscuits and fruit. Need I say more? Before cocktails we walked through The Cockrell Butterfly Center. Wonderful and magical. The weather was perfect Texas autumn, blue skies and slightly cool breeze. Looking out to the horizon from my hotel room I felt homesick. And everyone from the waitress to complete strangers being so kind, chatty, friendly. It is always hard for me to leave.