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DesignerCon brings collectible art to O.C.

DesignerCon brings collectible art to O.C.
DesignerCon founder Ben Goretsky, a vinyl toy collector, is bringing an art and design convention to Orange County. DesignCon, which is in its first year, takes place from Nov. 16 to 18 at the Anaheim Convention Center. (Photo courtesy of Birdman Photo)

The family-friendly art and design convention DesignerCon will make its Orange County debut on Nov. 16 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

“Art in toys — which is how it got started — art in apparel [and] art in all other forms of collectible art,” explained Ben Goretsky, who founded the convention as Vinyl Toy Network at the Pasadena Civic Center in 2005.

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It began as a small show of 10 local vendors that focused on the vinyl toy collectible market. The toys are not the kind made for kids to play with, but the kind where an artist turns figures into 3-D collectible art objects.

“For our fifth edition, we renamed it DesignerCon to open up to different aspects of artwork aside from the toys, so we now include all aspects of art and design,” he said.

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POPek, by London-based artist Whatshisname, is a squatting balloon dog that aims to “simulate inspiration, unleash creativity, and to evoke a sense of wonder by changing common patterns of thinking.” It’ll be featured at DesignerCon.
POPek, by London-based artist Whatshisname, is a squatting balloon dog that aims to “simulate inspiration, unleash creativity, and to evoke a sense of wonder by changing common patterns of thinking.” It’ll be featured at DesignerCon. (Photo courtesy of Birdman Photos)

2018 marks the convention’s 14th edition, as it moves to a space more than three times the size of its previous venue and plans to feature over 700 vendors and 300 artists. Last year’s crowds numbered almost 35,000; this year’s is projected to be between 45,000 and 50,000.

There will be a 25th anniversary “Jurassic Park”-themed show. Artist Lauren Tsai of “Terrace House: Aloha State” is one of the special guests. And the headlining band of the Saturday night after party is Chevy Metal (featuring Taylor Hawking, Wiley Hodgden and occassionally Dave Grohl).

“The whole purpose of this back in 2005 was to create a face-to-face venue for vendors to meet each other and thus bring the small community of collectors together, which helps sales,” he said. “The networking aspect of DesignerCon has been tremendous. My biggest hope is that we’ll still attract a good audience, despite moving to another city.”

DesignerCon attracts vendors from all over the world, but it also draws more local vendors, like artist Brandon Ragnar Johnson of Costa Mesa, who has been exhibiting books, prints, toys and original artwork since almost the beginning of DesignerCon.

“It’s been a good, niche show for me to get the word out to people about my work, to visit fellow artists, meet fans and audiences and make sales,” said Johnson, who was approached by Goretsky when the former had a booth at Comic-Con.“The show has grown, yet the growth has been manageable and doable.”

Camille Rose Garcia at her solo exhibition at Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery earlier this year. She'll be unveiling another limited edition sculpture of her heroic cat character Pierre St. Claire at DesignerCon, which runs from Nov. 16 to 18 at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Camille Rose Garcia at her solo exhibition at Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery earlier this year. She'll be unveiling another limited edition sculpture of her heroic cat character Pierre St. Claire at DesignerCon, which runs from Nov. 16 to 18 at the Anaheim Convention Center. (Photo courtesy of Birdman Photo)

Book illustrator Camille Rosa Garcia, who now lives in Northern California, but for a while lived in Huntington Beach, will be making her second appearance.

She’ll showcase her illustrated book and stop-motion animation, “The Cabinet of Dr. Deekay,” which she described as “a surrealistic, dystopian fairy tale serving as an allegory for modern culture and inspired by real-life experiences.”

“There’s humor involved while telling this horrific, awful story that serves as cultural criticism,” she said about “The Cabinet of Dr. Deekay.”

In addition to other selected work that will be on display, she’ll debut a limited edition sculpture of the heroic cat Pierre St. Clare from “The Cabinet of Dr. Deekay,” exclusive to DesignerCon.

Michael Rydzynski is a contributor to Times Community News.

IF YOU GO

What: DesignerCon 2018

When: Nov. 16 to 18

Where: Anaheim Convention Center, 800 W. Katella Ave.

Cost: $20 Saturday and Sunday passes, $35 weekend pass, $60 VIP pass, and $35 After Party tickets (sold separately)

Information: (818) 928-9295; designercon.com

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