Saturday, July 18, 2009

2009 TTF Pickups

Here's what I picked up at this year's TTF.

First, an original painting based on a really fun line of toys, plus one of the toys from the line called First Strike 1.0.

I really liked the painting that was auctioned on the last day of the show, so I bid on it and was lucky to win. Then I picked up the king toy - His Royal Highness. It's from a series made by a Hong Kong toy company: Locomotive Productions.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Arkiv, an on the move Indonesian designer and a really nice guy. I bought one of his customized Arkiv Instant GID toys, and he gave me a very cool print.
Next is the painted TTF Ban Ban and a sweet sketch from ny green haired buddy Morry:
Hariken! Really nice TTToys x Hariken Mad Panda with metallic spray, and a Dancing Usagi sketch by my always smiling friend.
Tim sketched this wild Helper for me. I picked something up at the TxT show, but I'll have to wait a couple of weeks to pick it up.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

2009 TTF Report Extra: The Venue

For me, one of the most interesting stories of the 2009 TTF was one that hasn't received much coverage on the Net: the venue. For its first 5 years, the TTF was held in a mall, which was nice enough (and a very interesting building in its own right).

But the show grew too big for the limited space offered by the Living Mall, so this year it moved to the Huashan Culture Park, which was the site of last year's after-party.

The Park is on the grounds of a former state owned factory. Some folks will tell you it used to make beer. Others say sugar. In any case, the sprawling grounds were left derilect for many years. Most cities would have bulldozed it years ago to make space for valuable commercial, residential or public buildings. Fortunately, the complex was left alone, and (thank the maker!) a smart person somewhere along the line suggested converting it into an art space.

Taipei has desperately needed something like this for a long time. We have plenty of museums, parks, and what not, along with new sports complexes and a convention center. But art events have been scattered all over, wherever space could be found.

Now, a renovation process is underway to tranform the derelict buildings into galleries, exhibition halls, theaters, etc. But the organizers also seem intent on preserving the charm of the original structures and overall layout of the grounds. To my mind, that seals the deal. I don't think there's a complex anywhere in the city that can challenge the character and charm of the Huashan Culture Park. I hope everything goes smoothly and we'll see tons of events at the site over the years.

Here's a map showing the layout and plans for how the buildings will be used. (At this point, they're 90% empty and are still being renovated.)
A walled off area. Love the walkway and overhead structures!
A sense of the spaciousness of the complex:
Nice open area with wood flooring that was recently put in:
Team working on one of the buildings:
The Earth has started to reclaim this structure:
There's a bunch of graf on the site:

Behind the complex is a massive open area, with a huge lawn, some public art, and even lily ponds. I HOPE this is all left untouched and nobody decides to come along and "design" the space. Parks and open spaces in Taipei tend to be over designed with a heavy hand, with a lot of concrete, weird walls, and unnecessary slopes and other "design elements" thrown in which, frankly, throw off users of the space by making it less accessible and enjoyable. So leave it alone, I say!

Little Spanky dude providing an assist:
Check out these super cool tracks, which I guess were used to transport freight from one part of the complex to another:
Some folks enjoying the day:
Here's the first permanent store added to the Park - an art gallery/store:
On the last day of the TTF, an outdoor concert was held on the grounds:
There's also an Alleycats pizza right next to the hall where the TTF was held. After a day of art, music, and culture, it's awesome to sit down and enjoy a nice stone-oven baked pizza and cold Hoegarden on draft.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

2009 Taipei Toy Festival Report - Part 5 of 5: Events, art, and more

One of the interesting things about the TTF is the wide range of things on display. In addition to new releases and displays by the companies we know and love, there are dozens and dozens of booths run by young artists, design companies, and studios. There are also various events on the main stage, including dance performances, autograph signings, and visits by Stormtroopers and other dignitaries.

Here's a taste of that side of the show.

Mr. Eyeball and his troop put on a short performance on Day One:
A bunch of designers pose with two ginormous dancing plushsters designed by Hong Kong singing superstar Andy Lau:
TTF auction:
501 in the house!
Gigantic Taipei 101 sized hamburger eating contest:
Back to the displays.

Here are some figures based on characters from illustrated books by famous Taiwanese artist Jimmy:
Medicom had a nice display:

On to a medley of some of the interesting customs, art pieces, and other things at the TTF.

Several of the customs in the next two shots were done by high school students from schools throughout Taiwan. Very cool project and great to see young artists getting a showing at an international festival:

Cool display combining a multimedia recording with a nice wall sized piece:
More toys based on illustrations, books, etc. I've noticed an interesting trend towards more young children's styled toys made for adults:

These are fun new figures. I won the painting on the right at the TTF auction and bought one of the king figures. :O)
Display by PPaper showing some of the "art for the masses" pieces that have fetched big bucks:
This was part of a series of several figures by a Taiwanese artist representing the elements:
These ladies were just having too much fun!
Phalanx put together two mega sized cards that transformed people into action figures. Very cool concept I first saw 7 years ago at Star Wars Celebration II. Great job, Phalanx!
A few artists worked on booth installations:
Cool mixed media piece:
Hariken set up and ready to sign!
Nice new piece from Push, a well-known Taiwanese comic artist:
This Taiwanese artist has casted protos for a new figure, which he brought along to display at the show. He's hoping to have it made into a soft vinyl toy next year. Me too!
Monster Taipei's register, with sketches done by designers over the years. Biskup added a bit this year:
Tofu fun!
More of the medley:

I hope you enjoyed this ride through another side of the TTF. I think sometimes we get too caught up in new releases, things for sale, etc. But great shows, like the Design Festa in Tokyo and TTF, are so much more than that.

I hope you'll consider heading to Taipei in 2010 for the 7th TTF!
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