What is Designer Con? A few months ago we asked ourselves the same question after several artists told us we needed to check it out. At ComicCon we got a chance to meet the people behind the Designer Con, Ayleen Gasar (Toy Break / October Toys) and Ben Goretsky (3DRetro). We found two people not only passionate about artists, collectors and art makers but more importantly creating a non-chaotic, fun environment for everyone to enjoy. After attending ComicCon that was music to our ears! Not to say their won't be plenty to see and experience at Designer Con. To find out more details of what to expect at Designer Con 2014, we sat down with Ayleen Gasar.
POW: Can you give us a bit of history at Designer Con and how it came to be?
Ayleen: Designer Con was founded in 2006 under the name Vinyl Toy Network. The show was created to bring together artists, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers in the vinyl toy/collectible figures market. As the show grew over the years, we realized that the art behind the vinyl toy movement and some of the elements that helped shape VTN are somewhat out of the "vinyl toy" scope. In 2009 we decided to rebrand the convention with a less restrictive name that would let people to know that the show includes not only vinyl toy companies, but companies from all aspects of design and art including toys, original art, clothing, printing, plush, jewelry, etc.
POW: What kind of audience does Designer Con draw each year? Are there people of all ages?
Ayleen: Absolutely! We have a little something for everyone at Designer Con and welcome attendees of all ages! Toy collectors, art fans, and families come to see the latest designer toy offerings, discover new artists, and chat with their favorite designers. We even have several attendees who travel from other states and countries to attend and partake in a weekend of exclusives and con fun!
POW: What kind of artists and designers are displayed at Designer Con?
Ayleen: We have quite a variety of vendors and artists at Designer Con who bring all sorts of goods such as original art, prints, customs, apparel, jewelry, plush creations, designer/vinyl figures, vintage toys, etc. Designers, creators, artists, sculptors, manufacturers, and more come together at DCon to show off their work, share ideas, and meet fans in a casual, fun environment.
POW: Besides exhibitions and signings, are there other events that allow the audience to become fully immersed in the show such as workshops and Q+A?
Ayleen: Yes! This year we have not one, but two awesome art shows inside the convention - one Lego themed show presented by STUDS and one custom vinyl toy show curated by Lulubell Toys. We will also be hosting a variety of panels with creators, manufacturers, collectors, and more on the main stage throughout the weekend. Details on all of the panels and events happening within Designer Con will be available on our site DesignerCon.com closer to the show date.
POW: How has Designer Con evolved from its initial beginnings?
Ayleen: This will be Designer Cons ninth year and although the show has evolved in many ways, we like to think we are still succeeding at creating a fun, community oriented event for artists, creators, and fans alike. The show was founded and still run by companies who are also vendors which is why we strive to provide a fun, safe, comfortable environment for fans, artists, and vendors to meet! The biggest evolution, of course, has been our size. We have grown quite a bit since our first show in a 1,100 sq. ft. meeting room to over 70,000 sq. ft. at the Pasadena Convention Center this year with over 300 vendors and artists.
We look forward even bigger and better shows every year through the continued support of our amazing vendors and attendees. Without you, this show would not be possible, so from all of us at Designer Con, thank you!
POW: What can we expect to see at this years show?
Ayleen: Aside from over 300 incredible vendors, there will be two art shows and several panels/presentations inside the convention throughout the weekend. Several of our vendors are also planning booth demonstrations ranging from live drawing to 3D printing to crazy new design things we haven't even seen yet! We also have an afterhours party in the works for Saturday night, so stay tuned to DesignerCon.com for more info on that!
POW: How long does it take to fully prepare for Designer Con?
Ayleen: All year! We work on organizing all aspects of the show year round and it ranges from part time hours to full time hours as we get closer to the event date.
Thank you Ayleen! We are excited to be apart of the show this year and plan to have DCon exclusive prints on wood and live artist signings in the booth with several artists including Jeff Soto and Jason Limon. More information coming soon!
For more information on Designer Con 2014, please visit: http://www.designercon.com/