For pop culture enthusiasts, there’s an unlimited number of conventions where you can connect with your tribe. There are gamer cons, comic cons, anime cons, dragon cons, quilt cons and even a con that celebrates inclusion. I love spaces where art and kitsch collide and for the past 10 years, DesignerCon has become one of my favorites. They’ve done an incredible job of bringing together illustrators, sculptors, muralists, and musicians every November in Pasadena for 2 fun-filled days of collector heaven. It’s a hot ticket, and with over 28,000 people attending the art and design convention last weekend, the show was definitely feeling some growing pains. There were long lines outside the convention center and once inside, it was hard to move among the 400+ vendors showcasing their wares. This made interacting with the artists and their work that much harder.
That’s why my favorite booth this year was a bright yellow truck that sat outside of the venue. It was decked with cans of spray paint, brushes, and a couple of easels while a boombox lured visitors to the plaza with a steady stream of bass. Golden age era hip-hop was the musical backdrop for a small group muralists painting the outside of the yellow truck affectionately named big bird. Inside the truck, visitors could browse unique artwork, illustrations, and comics created by the participating artists.
The mobile pop up shop called Truckadelic was the brainchild of Gustavo Alberto Garcia Vaca, an artist/writer who teamed up with the Mobile Mural Lab and Crewest to bring a live painting session to DCon. Gustavo assembled a team of artists including GIO, Jeaux Janovsky, Kenny Keil and James Reitano to paint the truck, creating a collaborative space that fed off the vibe of the surrounding environment. This is where DesignerCon shines. By giving artists space to create, cultivate and connect with old fans while making new ones, DCon has fostered a large, supportive tribe of artists and collectors. The event moves to Anaheim in 2018, which will likely give organizers more room to encourage more unique, interactive spaces like this in the future.
For more on DCon: