STGCC — Singapore's Comic Con
The annual Singapore Toy, Games & Comic Convention returns to the Lion City next month. Since its inception in 2008, the STGCC has annually attracted more and more visitors to its exhibition halls. Last year it pulled in over 30,000 people in two days, with almost 100 exhibitors from 12 countries. STGCC 2012 will see the popular convention relocate from Suntec City Mall to Marina Bay Sands.
“This year, we want to showcase more aspects of pop culture from both East and West,” STGCC project director Yeow Hui Leng said. “Our fans can expect a greater mishmash of personalities, exhibitors and offerings that will span mass and niche segments of pop culture, including more cult toy designers and illustrators which fans have been asking for.”
In addition to showcasing the latest releases in the toy, games and comic scenes, there are also exclusive product launches, artists signings and sketches and it also embraces the world of gaming with demos of soon to be released video games.
There are a few first time exhibitors to keep an eye on.
Mark Nagata of Max Toy Company is a third-generation Japanese-American, who was born and raised in the United States, said he was exposed to Japanese culture early on. “When I was 9 years old, in 1973, my aunt who was living in Japan sent me a box of Japanese toys,” Nagata said. “When I opened that box, it really blew my mind. These toys were so fantastic and nothing like the American toys I was playing with. This one moment would influence the career I went into.” He now produces exclusive Kaiju toys, many of them hand-painted by Nagata himself.
American street artist and toy designer Tristan Eaton will be another STGCC first-timer. “I’m so excited to come,” he said. “I’m looking forward to meeting new artists, new fans and seeing the city. I love traveling almost as much as making art.” Eaton, the president of a New York-based designer toy brand and creative agency Thunderdog, said he still draws from his background as an artist. “First, I consider if it is an idea that works with my overall body of work as an artist,” he explained. “I’ve always considered toys as an extension of my fine art, so the toy must be a continuation of themes and visuals in my art already.”
Italian artist Simone Legno, the creative brain behind “tokidoki,” a line of apparel, handbags, cosmetics and accessories sporting unique characters and designs, has been a regular exhibitor since the convention’s inaugural event in 2008. The Japanese term tokidoki translates as “sometimes,” and is a testament to Legno’s lifelong fascination with all things Japanese.
“I am totally astonished about everything that comes from Japan, from the beauty of their traditions to the super pop flashy aspects of the supermodern cities,” Legno said. “I love Japanese people: I love their kindness, politeness, seriousness, but they can also be quite funny, playful and extremely creative. Not only my art but even my everyday world is colored and decorated by Japanese objects, souvenirs, junk packages, toys, books, prints, T-shirts and food,” he said. “Even in the drawings from my kindergarten days, you can see the Japanese influence. When I was a teenager, my number one dream was to go to Japan. I ended up going there all the time — 26 times so far — and I live in a Japanese neighborhood here in LA. The STGCC is for sure a wonderful reason to go and share my time with people that love tokidoki but it’s even a better opportunity to sell products and meet people from the art, licensing, and creative industry,” he said. “I am lucky to have adorable friends in Singapore and I can experience my visits in the company of local people that show me the real culture, food and corners that a tourist would normally not experience.”
coarse artists Mark Landwehr and Sven Waschk will also be exhibiting as will the sculptors of Hot Toys — both from different spheres of the creative toy world but both implicitly defined by their astonishing degree of perfection and expression in their sculpting.
While sometimes met with raised eyebrows and questions like “why are grown-ups still playing with toys and going crazy for comics?” STGCC brings together a large group of people who share a passion and wouldn’t want to have it any other way.
“Why do I have to grow up?” Nagata said. “I’m following my dream and am not concerned with what other people think of me.”
Eaton agreed and said it was more than a hobby. “I don’t think I’ll ever grow out of it,” he said. “As I get older, I want to do it more. The ideas get refined, the execution gets better and I’m given opportunities to do even bigger, more permanent work. I take my outdoor art projects very seriously and don’t consider it vandalism or mischief.”