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Designer Con 2014

It would be hard to find a person that has not heard of ComicCon, well at least in Southern California.  You know, that little convention in San Diego with an attendance of over 130,000 people.  Well, it wasn't always that popular, just a few years ago it was a relatively modest comic book and science fiction/fantasy convention.   It was also a place were up and coming, along with established pop artists could show and sell their latest work.

In recent years, because of the rising booth space costs and the expense, not to mention hassle, of attending ComicCon, many artists and vendors began to look for other options.  Two of those vendors being October Toys (Ayleen Gaspar) and 3D Retro (Ben Goretsky) who happen to be the co-producers of.....yep you guessed it, DesignerCon.

DSC00867 Considering they are both manufactures of collectable toys, it made sense that DesignerCon initially focused on collectable toys and figures.  Within a few years, pop art found its way in through a natural crossover as so many contemporary artists release both toys and prints interchangeably.

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We found out about DesignerCon or more commonly know as "DCon" just after the 2013 convention.  After a few enthusiastic reviews, we couldn't wait for DCon 2014!   With months of planning, booth building, print making behind us, on Friday, November 7th we were ready for DCon!

Setting up the booth:  Here is where the fun begins!  We roll into DCon and see Jeff Soto setting up his booth right behind us and To Die For setting up on the other side, we could not have asked for a more perfect combination of neighbors....umm well uhh.. asking helps too. (thanks Ayleen and Ben!)  Not sure if Soto will be as excited to be our neighbor next year after he pulled out the longest sliver I have ever seen.

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Sorry Jeff, that looks like it hurt, good thing it wasn't your drawing hand.

Immediately we begin uncrating and setting up the booth walls, hanging the art and in no time the booth begins to take shape.  Before we finish Luke Chueh swings by, after fighting a few hours of Friday night LA traffic to sign his Boba prints and the marquee print.

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I think he was just as excited as we were about the release the next day.

Before we go, Jason Limon finishes signing the Catcreeper figures and Berrytop Swirlpapa.  He is jumping back and forth from setting up his booth to taking care of the print release with our booth.   That's after a 20 hour drive from Texas the day before!  Your amazing Jason!

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As they begin to kick everyone out of the hall we are the last to leave, but at long last, the booth is done!

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DAY 1: D-Day is here and we are ready...well almost!  Before the show opens Chris Ryniak stops by to sign the official DCon prints, with not much sleep, I won't mention how many times we lost count signing the prints.  My brain definitely needs a few hours to warm up when computing large math problems like 12 plus 1.

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As if right on cue, in comes the beautiful Tara McPherson ready to sign her release of Umibozu Lake.  A little Starbucks and a silver sharpie is all she needs to get through 100 prints in no time flat!

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Once those are done, we are ready to roll!  Oh wait, where's Jeff Soto??  His booth is right behind us... we steal him over for a few minutes to sign his prints.

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Nathan Ota comes by and creates the perfect photo opp with Jeff and the big marquee prints.

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Then Nathan grabs a chair and begins to draw on the back side of each print in his DCon release of Early Bird.

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It was amazing to see first hand his immense talent and desire to give each print a special touch, making each one a sort of original.

Boba! Boba! Boba!  For the first hour of the show it was the most used word and for about two hours, Luke was busy signing and doodling on the back of the prints.

DSC00835Just like Nathan, Luke Chueh took his time to draw a unique sketch for each fan who patiently waited in an line that stretched on for over an hour.

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Luke was busy signing prints for over two hours until he had to run off to another booth that was releasing his vinyl toy. Around that time Johnny KMNDZ Rodriguez was there to pick up where Luke left off.  Johnny's print "Nothing New Under the Sun" was his first release with us, we were pumped to premier it at DCon.

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Maybe we just got lucky but every artist we worked with at DCon was gracious, down to earth and most of all generous with the time they spent with each fan that came to visit them at the booth.

In between signings we broke away from the booth to walk around the convention, do a bit of shopping ourselves and meet some of the other vendors.

One of the first stops was at one of our favorite artist's booth, Jason Limon.  His hand made figures were incredible, we couldn't leave with out taking home one of the strange creatures.

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IMG_6438This ^^^ lucky fellow has a new forever home with us.

But our home was not complete with out a few other peculiar looking creators to keep him company. IMG_6460

The only problem is you can't take just one, you know.. they get lonely.  Yep, we have a pair, not identical twins, fraternal, they have the same momma, Circus Posterus.

By the time we got back to our booth To Die For was hosting an artist signing with Craola and the line was overflowing down the isle.  Afterwards he stopped by our booth to sign his marquee print, "Puppets Pathos“.

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Always incredibly friendly and polite, it was great catching up with Craola before he had to leave to another event that evening.  Which also marked the end of Day One!  And an unbelievably great day at that!

DAY 2:  One of the best part of Sunday was opening the convention at 10 am, but the next best thing was opening with Jason Limon signing at the booth.

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The release of our first dimensional art piece, The Catcreeper, was the brain child of Jason.  The first sketch was drawn on this plane ride home after his first visit to Prints on Wood.

catcreeper-1We love to experiment with new ideas and materials so we jumped at the opportunity to try something new.

Speaking of new, Jeff Soto's marquee piece, The Soto Fish, was a collaborative print/original piece where we alternated printing and painting on the medium including a bit of hand laid gold leaf on the tooth of the "fish".

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This was a test run for a smaller edition of prints coming soon in 2015.

For DCon, Jeff re-released "The Guitarist Seeker" in a limited edition larger print, twice the size as the original 6x6 release.  DSC00971 IMG_6466

Probably the most sought after print at our booth was the little Soto Fish prints that were given away for a IG post and mailing list sign up.  By Sunday afternoon over 400 Soto Fish prints had swam into the arms of happy DCon attendees and most of them signed by the artist himself.
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Rounding out the day, Tara McPerson came back to a line of fans eager to meet her.

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Her marquee piece "Supernova II" was a personal favorite and may be a release coming soon...

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At the conclusion of Designer Con 2014, we were extremely pleased with the whole experience and cannot wait until next year to raise the bar further. We already have tons of ideas floating around to make the event even better (Hint: double the size?). We would also like to sincerely thank our artists and buyers for their continued support. Without all of you this could not have been made possible. Thanks to you, we are able to successfully create art that embraces style rooted in sustainability.   See you next year!

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