Seoul, being the wonderful playground it is, always has somewhere to go and something to see even if you aren’t expecting it. Last weekend my girlfriend and I geared up to head out to a café outside of Seoul. Unfortunately it turned out it was further than we realized and we decided to get off at Dongdaemun Design Plaza (the new spaceship parked in the center of Seoul’s Dongdaemun shopping district). We wandered a bit and finally ended up in front of a large banner, crowds and figurines guarding an entrance.
“Welcome to Art Toy Culture.”
Immediately upon entering we were greeted with the smell of acetone, markers and acrylics; all the reasons I don’t work with ‘street art’ anymore. A handful of exhibitionists were working on designed metal boxes near the front. Later on we found out that these were small mini-fridges for Red Bull drinks… disappointing. The rest of the exhibition was awesome, though.
Artists had set up booths in the center of the showroom floor while the walls were mostly reserved for showcasing works by different artists. The booths had glass (plastic?) cases showing off samples and actual figurines or statues for sale. There were a few that seemed to be only for show but those were few and far between. Unfortunately we were there for the last day so most of the booths were wiped… not that I would be able to find a decent excuse for spending $100+ on figurines, even if they looked this awesome.
While a lot of the figures were hyper-realistic or somewhat anime/cartoon styled, there were more than enough booths with parodies or interesting new styles to keep the entire experience feeling fresh. More than a few times I would drift from a booth with cool realistic looking figures to one with simple and almost cartoonish proportions just because of the stylized work.
The highlight of the show were the showcases lining the walls with figurines and sets. A few were just pieces from specific artists catalogs of work while others were entire sets or scenes from movies (the Robocop one was awesome). Most of the time there were crowds and lines just to see some of the more popular pieces but it was pretty cool to see them up close and in detail.
Unfortunately the show is over now, it was only from May 1st to May 5th. I had known about it earlier during my research for my magazine but I didn’t realize how short it was. I lucked into it, but anyone who didn’t go will have to wait until next year.
Until then, feel free to take a look around browse the photos that I could take. Cheers!