Design Festa offers chance to up-and-coming artists


Design Festa Summer x Gakuten 2017 is expected to give 4,000 exhibitors a chance to showcase their artistic talent to 20,000 visitors at Tokyo Big Sight, in Tokyo's Koto Ward, on Aug. 5 and 6.

Design Festa is a celebration of art that allows anyone, regardless of age, nationality, talents or language, an opportunity to exhibit. Serving as a platform for artists, designers, musicians, actors and others twice a year since its inception in 1994, Design Festa welcomes professionals and amateurs alike.

Gakuten, which began in August 2013, is a similar art fair that specifically encourages students to exhibit.

This summer's Design Festa Summer x Gakuten event is the second, following the first successful pairing of Design Festa and Gakuten last August.

"Attending Design Festa, I saw many different forms of art — from good to poor and from professional to amateur. But nothing was above others," said a young Japanese man who uses the pseudonym of Viki, who exhibited his drawing on thermal paper in Design Festa in May.

Viki had put thermal paper, — mainly receipts from convenience stores — on a rectangular 8-by-3.6-meter-board. In his booth at Design Festa, Viki drew a woman using his fingernails, an iron and various other things, keeping a crowd of about 30 people watching constantly as he worked.

The artwork is titled, "Amagakeru Tasogare" (Twilight running in the sky), and is the largest of his pieces. It took several weeks for him to put thermal paper on the board.

"Inspiration came to me when I saw a couple at a convenience store. They looked happy, bought snacks and tossed their receipts in a box designated for unnecessary receipts. I felt throwing away receipts is like throwing away memories," Viki said. He began collecting thermal paper and drawing on it in 2013. He has since created about 80 thermal paper drawings.

He is planning to travel to Europe this summer and collecting receipts is one of the activities he is looking forward to, he said.

Attending Design Festa in May was an excellent experience for Viki, whose thermal paper drawing is on display at the Design Festa Gallery in Shibuya Ward's fashionable Harajuku district, in Tokyo. "I want to attend again," he said.

"My motto is to turn heat into reality," Viki said. "For example, collecting receipts takes a lot of time and energy. And holding live events and drawing something large is heat for me."

Design Festa Summer x Gakuten 2017 is still open to potential exhibitors. To apply, see Visitors interested in attending should visit