DesignerCon Brings Toys, Clothing, Collectibles and More to Anaheim

DesignerCon’s Hamilltoon exhibit celebrates Mark Hamill. Photo by Alex Distefano

The Anaheim Convention Center was home to this year’s annual DesignerCon over the weekend, and the three-day expo was an all-out showcase of myriad collectibles, designer toys, sculptures, clothing and apparel, and every type of art you can imagine, from street art to post modern, animation, prints and more.

From the event’s inception in 2006 to promote toys, the annual gathering has turned into a rival to ComicCon. This year, more than 800 vendors, designers, creators and artists filled the halls in Anaheim as did several thousand people who each day mingled with artists, bought art, people watched and marveled at all the bright and sensationalized sights, sounds and colors.

Tickets were $30 for a one-day pass and $45 for two days (with kids under 12 free), so admission was not cheap but neither was it unreasonable. It could even be considered a bargain if you can imagine a tattoo fest that meets an art exhibit that meets a car show that meets a swap meet that meets ComicCon, all with a family friendly vibe. The diversity of the crowd was remarkable, covering every demographic, race, gender and age.

Warlord Clothing had a popular DesignerCon booth. Photo by Alex Disetfano

Not only were attendees allowed to pass through the huge convention halls full of artists and vendors, there were also panels and signings. This year featured “Hamilltoon: The Many Voices of Mark Hamill,” a huge art piece that was dedicated to famed Star Wars actor/animated Batman voice artist Mark Hamill. The all-around celebration of toys and art included many new releases of collectible toys from such toymakers such as Giant Robot, We Are Not Toys, Medicom Toys and Def Jam, among many others.

Many vendors and artists offered goods that not only had artistic value but social value, some of which had good causes behind them, be it mental health awareness or protecting the environment.

One such company was Depressed Monsters, which was formed in 2012 by Las Vegas artist Ryan Brunty. One of his company’s original creations is Yerman the Monster, which evokes a personal struggle with depression. Since the character’s creation, its concept has turned into more than art, evolving into a clothing/apparel line that has gotten such a rabid fan base that the brand will be launching in Hot Topic next year. Brunty was in Anaheim to meet fans and share his art, clothing apparel and accessories. To help battle mental illness, and the stigma associated with it, a portion of Depressed Monsters proceeds are donated to top mental health agencies across the country.

Tokidoki brand’s wall is colorful. Photo by Alex Distefano

Another company merging art and the public good is Global Inheritance, a nonprofit recycler whose DesignerCon exhibit “Trashed” included solicitations for an art contest. The contest includes homemade designs for recycling containers to be used at the 2020 Coachella Music and Arts Festival. Models of recycling cans that were featured last year were on display. More info can be found at GlobalInheritance.org, including details on the contest and how to apply.

So much talent from around the country and beyond were found among the tons of paintings, classic cars, clothing stalls, art vendors and rare/custom pop art/modern folk art. Anaheim Convention Center halls were full to the brim with painters, sculptors, graphic artists, animators, toymakers and apparel designers. With representation from Long Beach and East LA to Mexico, South Korea and the UK, this was an international artistic endeavor.

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