The Dark Art and Oddities Con returns to DeKalb with vendors, paranormal stories


Courtesy of Willy Adkins

Willy Adkins is hosting his annual Dark Art and Oddities Con this weekend from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Altgeld Hall Auditorium.

By Nick Glover, Lifestyle Editor

The Dark Art and Oddities Con will return to DeKalb from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Altgeld Hall Auditorium.

The convention will feature vendors and creators of art, and items that are related to the dark arts.

The dark art movement is made up of art pieces that are macabre and mysterious. Featuring dark hues, skeletons and animals such as spiders, birds and snakes, many associate the art style with horror media and Halloween.

This is the third year of the convention. Dark Art and Oddities Con started in 2019 but was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but after its return in 2021, the convention is here to stay. 

Run by Willy Adkins, the convention is an up-and-coming event that has gained a foothold during its annual occurrence. 

Adkins is an actor, producer and director. Besides his career in the film industry, he is also a paranormal investigator, he founded the Illinois Ghost Hunters and he has a company based in DeKalb, Breaking Fate Entertainment, centered around propping up indie art. 

Adkins used his history as a film festival host to get this convention up and running smoothly.

“I started hosting film festivals over a decade ago, almost 15 years now,” Adkins said. 

Adkins is a lover of dark arts and oddities himself. He brought this convention to fruition because he wanted to bring a convention to his home, DeKalb County. 

“I just love these things myself,” Adkins said. “It’s the place you can go during the holiday season to get things you can’t get anywhere else.”

The convention will feature two special guests: Santiago Cirilo and Philo Barnhart, both of which will have booths at the front of the hall. 

Cirilo is known for his role as Julio on “The Walking Dead.” He has also acted in numerous horror movies such as “Beast of the Water” and “Tales from Parts Unknown.”

Barnhart is an animator who gained notoriety for his work on Disney’s animation team in the 1980s and 1990s. His most known work was on “The Little Mermaid” and “The Smurfs.”

Outside of the featured guests, there will also be many vendors and artists attending at the convention. 

The convention will have authors of paranormal, science fiction and fantasy novels. These authors include E. S. Fein, Jak Lore and Sara A. Noë.

According to the convention’s vendor page, visual art will also be on display at this convention with artists like GoofGore, a cutesy macabre artist, and Geo Alderson and Mykee Morettini, artists who blur all genre distinctions.

The convention will also have a hands-on workshop on Saturday and Sunday that will teach people how to pin insects. 

The workshops will be at 2 p.m. on both days and cost $40.

For those interested in fun and games, the convention will also host the creator of “Killers – The Card Game.” This game is a role-play style game that allows players to inhabit the lives of some of the most famous killers. 

The host of the podcast Weird Darkness, Darren Marlar, will be in attendance as well. The podcast and radio show features Marlar, a voice actor, telling true paranormal and supernatural stories.

With a wide variety of content, media and art, the Dark Art and Oddities Con should have the all spookiness one’s heart desires.

Tickets cost $10 a day and are on sale at the convention’s website