Photos from the 40th Design Festa which took place last weekend, the biggest amateur art and design event in Japan, and possibly in the world (not sure since I seldom leave Japan these days). Twice a year it is held at the Tokyo Big Site on Odaiba Island in Tokyo bay, a massive convention center. The event is almost impossible to cover in just the two days it takes place. There are about 3300 exhibitor booths and over 11000 exhibitors (many booths are shared and many exhibitors only book one of the two days). There are usually about 70 000 visitors.
If you are in Tokyo when this event takes place you really should consider going. It is easily accessible, entrance is only 1000 yen per day and it is great fun. The next one will be in May 15th and 16th, 2015.
Regular readers will remember a post I did about four years ago, showing the nice work of the Great Mushrooming, it is time to update it with his latest work that went on sale at this year’s Design Festa, the 40th. His work is as popular as ever and by the time I got there on the second day of the event it was almost all sold out. I assume most of it went within the first hour. If you want to learn more you can check out his homepage here, in Japanese but with nice photos.
Design Festa is the most famous amateur design and arts festival here in Japan. It is a massive two day event that takes place twice a year attracting hundreds of thousands of artists and visitors. The majority of exhibitors are artists and designers but there are three stages on site that continually hosts live events, bands and performers. At the 40th Design Festa that took place last weekend I saw a very good punk band, Bebop, perform at the outdoor main stage. Punk has never been a very big genre anywhere in the world and especially not here in Japan, but the local bands are top class. This is quite different from the punk bands I grew up with! You can check out their homepage here, but they sound best live, together with their dedicated and energetic fans of all ages!
It was good to do a bit of live music photography again. Despite the fans rampaging in front of the stage I could sneak in a few close ups of the band. The slight spraying of beer I received was totally in the spirit of the show and quite fun!
One of the most interesting aspects of the biggest twice-annual art and design events here in Tokyo – the Design Festa – is the wall sized paintings. Every event dozens of young and old artists rent a booth, or several, to live paint a huge painting during the two day event. Even the smallest booths costs a couple of hundred dollars to rent so you can imagine the out of pocket expense for the bigger booths! Most of the live painters don’t bother selling any art but some people have a little side business selling postcards or books but the vast majority of them don’t even get to take the painting home at the end of the festival. Neither are they in it to make contacts, in fact most artists are so dedicated to finishing their project in the two days they have that they have no time to chat to visitors. Some even wear headphones while paintings to really enable them to concentrate on their work. I’d really like to get to know them though, I want to know what drives them to spend so much time and so much money on something like this! Here’s a small selection of some of the live paintings that caught my eye at the latest Design Festa, earlier this month. Enjoy!