Image courtesy of Design Festa
"Are you ready? "Klaus asked finally. "No," Sunny answered. "Me neither, "Violet said, "but if we wait until we're ready we'll be waiting for the rest of our lives."
-excerpt from a Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
While attending undergraduate school at The Rhode Island School of Design, I enrolled in several Japanese Art History and philosophy classes. This initial experience sparked my interest in Japanese culture. When I went on to pursue graduate studies at San Diego State University, I took additional Japanese Art History classes and had the opportunity to travel to Japan twice. This further solidified my ever growing love for Japanese culture. In fact, much of my Adorable Mayhem work is inspired by Japanese popular culture and animation. Though I have mainly exhibited here in the United States, I also fantasized about selling at a craft show in Japan. Much of my work is miniature, highly-detailed creations of cute animals, and I felt it would be a good fit for the Japanese market. When I traveled to Japan, there were images of cute characters everywhere, even on the subway!
This was a collaboration with the popular bear character, Rilakkuma and public transport to commemorate the bear’s 15th anniversary.
A few weeks ago, one late delirious night, in the midst of preparing for the UCSD Holiday Artisan Marketplace, something compelled me to research this Japanese show, International Art Event Design Festa which is the largest art show in Asia. While exhibiting at San Diego Comic-Con International, I had a conversation with one of the attendees who had been to Japan and attended that specific show. He indicated that I should look into it as he felt it would be a good fit for my work. So, I did just that. I found the website which fortunately was in English and discovered that they were currently accepting exhibitor applications! In my state of sleep deprivation, I somehow developed the gumption to follow this call to action without hesitation. So, I applied! It would take about two weeks before I would find out whether I got into the show or not. I put the idea aside in my mind as I was so buried in work, that I didn’t give much thought to it afterwards. When I finished the UCSD Holiday Artisan Marketplace show a week ago, I ended up picking up dinner to go from a great vegan restaurant in Bankers Hill, Donna Jean. Their pizza is amazing by the way! I was seated in the bar area waiting for my food and decided to check email on my phone. When I looked into my inbox, I yelled out loud “Oh my God!". People probably thought I was crazy as I was this sleep deprived girl with crazy colored hair talking to herself. I practically felt like Pig Pen from Charlie Brown with particles of dust swirling around me. The email read “Congratulations! Welcome to Design Festa!”
I feel a combination of excitement and fear. Wow! I’m going to Japan! Oh, my gosh, I only know 5 phrases in Japanese. I need to learn Japanese! What was I thinking? What about customs and traveling with all this product? Taxes! How does that work? So many things to figure out….They say, “Start before you are ready” and man, I certainly did just that! However, for the most part, I’m excited that this is really going to happen!
So, if you happen to be in Tokyo on the weekend of April 11 and 12, 2020 come stop by Design Festa! In February I will receive my booth assignment and map of where I will be located in the exhibit hall. I will keep you all posted! Happy Holidays and Sayonara!