Event Coverage: Designer Con 2017 Show Recap

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Designer Con, an incredible art and design convention, again broke its own attendance records with between 35-37 thousand attendees, including kids, passing through its doors all weekend November 11th – 12th at the Pasadena Convention Center. This was an increase of almost 10 thousand for Designer Con 2017!

Cindy Schwarzstein of Cartwheel Art was at Designer Con on Sunday and captured photographs of the event action. For her full coverage, check out Cartwheel Art Facebook Album. In addition, for this year’s recap, several participating artists/vendors were contacted and asked of their personal event highlights. Check out some of the photo highlights and quotes below!

Special Note: With the growth that Designer Con has been experiencing, it was announced that they will be expanding next year, by making Designer Con a three-day event on November 16th – 18th, and moving it to the Anaheim Convention Center, a larger venue in Anaheim, CA.

Event founder / organizer and head of 3D Retro, Ben Goretsky gave Cartwheel Art Magazine his personal event highlight;

This year we were able to get an even larger amount of artists from different parts of the world involved with the show. We also welcomed new toy companies from around the world which were never able to do the show

In regards to the event’s 2018 plans, Ben stated

We are excited about the move to Anaheim as it gives us the capability to properly sustain the growth of the show. With record attendance we want to make sure that our attendees can enjoy the show even with its growth, Anaheim’s facilities allow us to do that. We will miss Pasadena as it has been our home for 12 years but for those worried we remind you that it is not the location of the show which made it so special it was the vendors, the attendees, the artists and the community involved which made the show. We will bring all those to our new home in Anaheim and it will be better than ever.

I love the upbeat vibe at DesignerCon… it’s the happiest convention I know of. Artists who specialize in fun, and attendees who are gleeful about discovering new wonders… what could be merrier heading into the holiday season! Looking forward to a bigger and better creative wonderland in Anaheim- Bob Self – Baby Tattoo Books

The artist Shag could not participate this year due to a fire at the Shag Store in Palm Springs but attended the event. Pictured with Shag is Cindy Schwarzstein, founder of Cartwheel Art.

It was a pleasure to see so much creative design and art in person. We’re so used to seeing little jpegs on Instagram or Facebook that we forget sometimes that art is supposed to be viewed in the real world! – The Artist Shag

Highlight of the year is always hanging with the toy people! They come from far and wide. Its global. – Paul Kaiju (Paul Copeland)

For me, the highlight was how many people came up to me and told me how much they were enjoying my podcast, The Dark Art Society Podcast. The highlights of the show always boils down to the same thing for me every year- the people and the art. It’s an inspiring place to be around all that great art and cool people. – Chet Zar

The highlight of Designer Con is pretty much the same every year for me. It’s the art! There was so much amazing art at every turn, even vendors booth designs were works of art in themselves. I’m not surprised that this show has outgrown this venue and I’m happy it’s becoming so popular. – Ave Rose

Designer Con is awesome, really proud to be a part of it, not quite sure about a quote. I’m glad that it is growing and expanding. It provides an opportunity for a lot of special people to come together to share in their creations. – Christopher Ulrich

I love exhibiting at Designer Con because not only do I get the opportunity to once again make limited edition, locally produced accessories, I also get to spend time with my friends and fans. I love when they share how much my work has meant/means to them all these years. It truly warms my heart and fuels me to keep going. I think it’s great to see Designer Con grow so big and move to Anaheim next year. It really shows how much people love original art and handmade items. Can’t wait for next year! – Paul Frank

Tara McPherson, Designer Con 2017 program cover artist

The following are additional photographs taken by Cindy Schwarzstein during her visit to Designer Con.

3D Retro

Mark Dean Vecca

Ron English

Man One

Ron English in conversation during a panel discussion

Attendees included artist Bunnie Reiss and Gallerist Bull Dunleavy from Superchief Gallery

Eddy Lee Art

Prints on Wood with work by Camille Rose Garcia

Jon Schnepp with Schneppzone

Circus Posterus

Jon Schnepp and Holly Payne with Schneppzone Inc

Jesse Hernandez

Greg “Craola” Simkins

Juan Muniz of Ninobuni

Ironhead Studio

Coldslutz Onfyre

Buff Monster


Coldslutz Onfyre

Artist Christie Shinn with Hora Tora Studios

Attendee of Designer Con 2017

Prints on Wood booth with the art of Luke Cheuh

Attendees of Designer Con


Ron English

Bobs Burgers

Christopher Ulrich

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