Design Festa 2013 and Some Successes

Design Festa is a two-day biannual international art event held in Tokyo which showcases an enormous array of original artwork with over 10,000 artists exhibiting, buying and selling works created in multiple mediums. The 37th Design Festa will be held this year on May 18th and 19th (Sat-Sun). You can check out the highlights from last year’s events in the video bellow.

With the thousands of designers that will exhibit, attend and participate in the event we wanted to know what happens to them as a result of showcasing their designs and products. So we asked the organisers of Design Festa to share with us some success stories of past exhibitors.

TaroShooten are a pair of toy designers who first exhibited at Design Festa back in 1999 from which they launched into commercial success with their popular “Korejanai Robo” (Not This Robot, Robot) series which spoofs the fact that kids don’t always receive the right gift from their parents, elaborately constructed suicide buttons and other humorous products. Korejanai Robo has even entered into the pop culture sphere spawning its own merchandise such as USB sticks, costumes and cameras featuring character designs. The designers even created a funny backstory and orignal theme music for the series as well.

Shikano Takashi is another Japanese designer who enjoyed more recent success as a result of demonstrating his product at Design Festa in 2012. His “Shirt-ties” which are made of colourful felt can be fixed onto any shirt button are designed to be easily worn and fashionable and currently on sale at Tokyo iine.

Korean illustrator, artist and picture book author Seo Miji has boosted her career expontentially after showcasing her unique illustrations at Design Festa back in 2006. Having been interviewed and featured by mass media outlets including NHK and CNBC she is now invited to give regular talks and presentations at schools and colleges. Most of her artwork and stories are aimed at and about young children. You can check out her most recent artwork and contributions on her website.  The video bellow shows a live paint demo by Seo Miji at a the 33rd Design Festa.

Canadian David Bull has been mastering traditional Japanese woodblock etching since coming to Japan in 1986 and was also a past exhibitor at Design Festa. Since the event he has made multiple appearances in mainstream media especially as a foreign inheritor of traditional Japanese craftwork techniques and he continues to create unique woodblock designs. His youtube channel (bellow) demonstrates his etching method and print designs.

The artists above have shown that attending events such as Design Festa can significantly enhance exposure to one’s artwork and products, raise media attention and contribute to increasing commercial prospects.

To find out more about the next Design Festa event check out their homepage, facebook and twitter pages.

 

About the Author

Thomas is a pentalingual graduate of Modern East Asian Studies from the University of Hong Kong, now based in Japan as editor of Shifteast.com for Mandalah Tokyo.