Last weekend, May 17th and 18th, Design Festa took over the massive Tokyo Big Sight convention center. I've visited the event twice before, but this was the first time I had a booth to show my work. A few months ago when I first signed up, I intended DF to be a sort of coming-out party in Japan; my self-introduction to the folks in Tokyo. As it turned out, this was actually my third event here in Tokyo in as many months. Design Festa, with about 7,000 exhibitors from every field and genre of the arts and 60,000 visitors was by far the largest crowd I've ever met.
Overall, DF was a great, if exhausting experience. I met an incalculable number of people, talked continuously about my work, gave away all my business cards, and even managed to sell some new stuff. New button-badges, postcards, and giclee prints all made their debut at the Festa. I hope to have them in the online shop soon. As soon as I can figure out the best way to do it. I even managed to talk to an art director or two. My only regret was that I was so busy at my table that I had barely any time to walk around and look at anyone else's work. Links to the artists and craftsmen I did meet are at the bottom of this post.
The nice Design Festa folks did a short blog entry on my work here. They also did a video interview, which I live in constant fear of seeing online. I always say something astonishingly dumb during this kind of thing.
There's a video report of the event online here. It's fun, because I'm not in it.
As I said, I didn't get much chance to walk around, but I did manage to chat with a couple talented and interesting people: Matsumoto Yasutaka and Hamada Natsuko are paper artists. Matsumoto Yasutaka does funky 3-D paper sculptures while Hamada Natsuko does a more traditional style of papercut art.
Hana Megumi (update 2015: dead link) creates some gorgeous collages out of flower petals and organic materials.
Wandering Star is a Korean illustrator and designer who creates some beautiful, funky worlds and characters.
Erika Ryan of Pink Kong Design (update 2015: dead link) had the booth opposite me. She creates some of the most unique fashions I've ever seen. Anyone need a metal corset?
Setsu Woodcraft makes some gorgeous clocks and furniture. I know it's a shock that I would go for fantastic wood textures. He was nice enough to give me the name of a shop where he gets some of his wood too. I'll be scheduling a visit soon.
Benjamin Parks is a photographer. While his slick, commercial work and action shots are beautiful, it's his portraiture that I am in awe of.
Finally, I met Yuji, lead singer and guitarist of up-and-coming alt rock band The Portbell Market (update 2015: dead link) Very cool dude, and I'm looking forward to hearing more from him.