Designer Con 2019
Anaheim Convention Center, California
November 22-24, 2019
By Genie Davis
This weekend marks the 14th year for DesignerCon, and the second year that the largest designer toy convention in the U.S. has taken place at the vast Anaheim Convention Center. Founded in 2005 by Ben Goretsky, the convention brings artists, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers in the designer toy and collectibles market together, incorporating everything from sculpture to toys, fine and street art, printing, plush, and apparel.
This year’s DCON theme is Outer Space, a theme as expansive as the exhibition itself, which this year includes a major new art exhibition, VR, and of course many new facets of pop culture design fun.
Some of the highlights for this 2019 edition include Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse, a VR tunnel that features original art and animation from the kinetic world of the Academy Award-winning animated film of the same name. The tunnel is created by VR and comic book artist Sutu, and sponsored by Sony Animation.
Benefitting the Andy Warhol Foundation is MEDICOM’s exclusive Bearbricks, cutting-edge toys created by artists including Luke Chueh, Joe Ledbedder, Tristan Eaton, Kano, Scott Tolleson, and Steven Harrington.
Secret Walls makes a return to DesignerCon with a competitive art battle between teams of muralists; this year, for the first time, DCON attendees can vote for their favorite mural.
And the art doesn’t stop there. Hamilltoon: The Many Voices of Mark Hamill — A Fan Art Show, curated by Carman Acosta aka Jane Dope, pays homage to Jedi master Mark Hamill. Hamilltoon will showcase more than 60 artists who love Hamill, including new works from Jim Mahfood, Skottie Young, Allison Bamcat, and KMNDZ among others. Also honoring Hamill: OfficialPix is releasing four limited-edition Funko POP! figurines, some exclusive to DesignerCon, two featuring Hamill in street clothes, one as the Joker from Batman: The Animated Series, and a limited edition purple version of the Joker POP!
Pop surrealist artist Camille Rose Garcia will release her highly anticipated book, The Cabinet of Dr. Deekay at this year’s convention, attending and offering book signings and limited edition prints. The books’ vivid color palette and macabre-visual themes are surrealist fun at its best; Garcia also designed the cover of this year’s Designer Con program.
But art lovers will likely be most drawn to Beyond Eden: A New Showcase of Lowbrow, Pop Surrealist & Outsider Art, connecting the world of designer toys to the fine art world. Helmed by Thinkspace Projects founder Andrew Hosner, the large-scale exhibition continues what the late Greg Escalante’s LA Art Show Littletopia exhibitions began.
The art experience at DCON begins with an archway designed by Carlos Ramirez, formerly with The Date Farmers Artist Collective. The Date Farmers were a collaboration between Ramirez and artist Armando Lerma, and was known for paintings and assemblages that vibrantly presented California’s Mexican-American experience and depictions in pop culture.
Passing through this unique original portal, event attendees will enjoy curated spaces from galleries such as Thinkspace Projects, La Luz De Jesus, KP Projects, Dark Art Emporium, Modern Eden Gallery, and the Tierra Del Sol Foundation.
Thinkspace will offer examples of the lowbrow figurative and narrative paintings and sculptural work that make up its exhibitions; KP Projects will present works that exemplify the gallery’s signature commitment to pop surrealism and street art. Both galleries are located in Los Angeles. The Dark Emporium in Long Beach hosts unusual works from taxidermy to unusual photographic works and will continue its focus on oddities here; while San Francisco-based Modern Eden presents painting and sculptural works that range from realism to surrealism. LA’s Tierra Del Sol Foundation has a mission to empower people with disabilities; that commitment will be a focus at DCON as well.
The 2019 DesignerCon will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center November 22 – 24, 2019. Friday night offers an MVP and VIP experience. The convention center is located at 800 W. Katella Ave, Anaheim, CA 92802.