November 24, 2010

A Visit to Designer Con - More than Toys

Designer Con 2010
Shiny vinyl, bizarre and adorable monsters, plushies, prints, and more lined the aisles at Designer Con 2010. The convention, formerly known as Vinyl Toy Network, took place last Saturday at the Pasadena Convention Center. You didn't have to be a toy collector or fanatic to enjoy the show either. You just needed an appreciation for fun and art.

Despite getting soaked while waiting outside in the rain to get indoors to purchase tickets (they had one person taking the $5 admission fee), my spirits dried out fast. Though the convention was smaller than most I attend, it was buzzing and vibrant. A local radio station played upbeat tunes in the background, the floor was crowded with people, and raffles were announced loudly every hour or so. Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art school set up in the back of the room and kept attendees entertained by doing live art on stage. There was more to take in than I expected. Ninety plus vendors were on hand showing off their creations. The convention has been going since 2006, and it's a big enough deal for companies to create exclusives for it (click here to view them). That, more than anything, said to me that though the convention was small, it is important in the toy world. I mean, it's grown from a 1,100 ft space to 25,000 ft. Not so bad.

Designer Con 2010

I found so much to adore. The creativity in the room was amazing. I feel like anyone would have found something to like at the show. I watched kids lunge for plush monsters and adults dig through bins of bargain toys at DKE with glee. You could get several commercial toys, but most of the vendors were independent artists. The name of the convention changed because it is about more than toys. I saw prints, stationary, books, comics, buttons, and apparel. Styles ranged from adorable to urban grunge to steampunk. I made it a point to seek out some artists I already knew, but I found some new places to spend money as well.

Spoonful of Star Wars

DKE Toys even brought an art show with them: Spoonful of Star Wars. The original paintings by artist Bwana Spoons were inspired by the vintage Kenner action figures released from 1977-1985. The paintings weren't limited to just the most popular characters either. I admit that I was equally excited to see the art and the figures. The bright representations of the Max Rebo Band, our heroes, droids, and more were delightful. I can't think of a better word for the show. I couldn't stop smiling while I photographed the collection. The show was a one time event, but you can view my photographs (with the action figures) here.

Next year, I won't have to think about whether I want to attend this convention. It's a given.

Want to see more photos from the convention? Just click here.

Cross-posted at Nerd Approved.


  1. Oh my goodness, those little monster guys are adorable! Do you remember who made them?

  2. Aren't they?! They were made by Shing Yin Khor, and you can buy some of her specimens here:

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