Saturday, July 29, 2023

Illustration Arts Festival 2023 - From Cute Designs to Demonic Girls and Shaolin Monks

This year's Illustration Arts Festival (IAF) is held at a hall within the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre (SCCC). The event was organised by the Organisation of Illustrators Council (OIC Singapore) together with and 32CM32CM.

Red Dot Diva arrived at the venue just past 1230 PM. Registration at the ground level was smooth and quick. It saves time if you have pre-registered and booked your slot via the Eventbrite website. By the way, there is also a food and drinks stall just beside the registration lines if you need some nourishment. You will not be able to access to the IAF market space via the elevators. Instead, you would need to ride several levels of external escalators to Level 7.

Once, she reached Level 7, Red Dot Diva welcomed the air-conditioning because she had endured a mostly an unshaded walk from Tanjong Pagar MRT station on such a hot, sultry day. The venue hall was very spacious. There was ample space for everyone to move around, which made browsing along the neat rows of artist booths (about 90 of them!) such a pleasant experience compared to other art fairs. An interested crowd was already gathering, with more people streaming in after lunch time.

Red Dot Diva observed that there were more young illustrators who were boothing this year. Some of their ideas and designs are interesting, but a number of them tend to be similar, and do not quite stand out amongst the crowd, especially those of the kawaii variety. Still, cuteness may be your jam, and such illustrations range from food related designs to adorable animals.

However, Red Dot Diva was more interested in those that have built a unique style of their own, and that was how the dark, gothic horror of freelance graphic designer Parin Cashmony's booth caught her eye. The macabre aesthetic of his wares was like a black, enveloping cocoon in the midst of all the cuteness. He was also selling demonic-fueled figurines that he designed and then, crafted them himself in limited quantities, using 3D printing.

Another interesting booth you have to visit is Vivian Lee's. In fact, you could smell it before you see it. Vivian is Malaysia's first Coffee Caricature Artist. Her drawings, using coffee beans as ink, are so intricate. She has a set of art prints and postcards of the Chinese zodiac coffee art available for sale, as well as an art book.

If you are looking for quirkier comics and graphic novels to read, head to local indie publisher Difference Engine's booth. The staff manning the booth are eager to give you an introduction of their publications, which range from fun, family friendly stories like Amazing Ash & Superhero Ah Ma by Melanie Lee and Arif Rafhan, to more serious social issues like Worlds Apart: A Conversation About Mental Health by Wayne Rée and Nurjannah Suhaimi.

One of the best things of attending such art markets is connecting with friends and acquaintances. So, Red Dot Diva was happy to spend a few minutes catching up with artist friend Sarah Isabel Tan aka onibi_art. Sarah's character designs lean to the pop-culture but with a cheeky twist to them. She also loves monsters, and makes vinyl toys. Go check out her Smol Bear vinyls, as well as the Darumao.

Next to Sara's booth is self-taught illustrator Poon Yew Fai, the creator of wuxia book SHAOLIN AND YOU. The book has a unique Chinese scroll design and is full of beautiful rendered martial arts poses, like a training manual. The book costs SGD 36, but if you decide to get the tote bag, the bundle costs SGD 40. Red Dot Diva could not resist taking up on the bundle. The tote bag was so eye-catching, and was of a good quality too. Now, she can wander into the concrete jungle Jianghu, like an urban badass.

Besides artist booths, there were interesting talks and workshops held outside the market hall. Families with children can also have a smidgen of fun with ART-ZOO's giant inflatable cactus sofa placed at the concourse. There was even a corner where tattoo enthusiasts can observe tattooist Jasper Tan aka tiredbutwoke at work. IAF 2023 seems to have a range of activities covered for the casual art appreciators to the industry creatives, all held in a safe, comfortable environment.

While ambling around the showfloor, Red Dot Diva overhead a boyfriend telling his partner, “I'm a Science person, and this is like too much art for me.Red Dot Diva found this comment rather strange because if you are a Science person, you would realise that there is artistry in nature and science. Does he know of the Fibonacci sequence? So, don't be put off if you think that you are a ‘science person’. Art is for everybody, and a good way to get started on appreciating art is taking that bold step into this year's IAF.

Don't miss the chance, the festival is still running for a second day on Sunday, 30 July.

Where: Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, 1 Straits Boulevard, Level 7
Date: 29 and 30 July 2023 (Sat and Sun)
Time: 11 AM to 7 PM
Admission is FREE



The Inaugural Illustration Arts Fest Held on 28 to 30 October and 4 to 6 November, 2016

Illustration Arts Festival Returns On 12 & 13 August 2017 With A Bigger Artists Market

Illustration Arts Fest is BACK on 22 & 23 September, LASALLE McNally Campus

Illustration Arts Festival 2023 - Meet Local and Regional Artists At Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, 29 and 30 July 2023

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Illustration Arts Festival 2023 - Meet Local and Regional Artists At Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, 29 and 30 July 2023

The fourth edition of Illustration Arts Festival (IAF), brought to you by the Organisation of Illustrators Council (OIC Singapore) and 32CM, is back in action at Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre (SCCC) on 29 and 30 July 2023. The first IAF was held in 2016 with foreign indie press East London Comics Arts Festival (ELCAF) and Nobrow Press making their presence felt on the showgrounds. There was supposed to be an IAF held in 2020, but like many other physical events scheduled in that year, the Covid-19 pandemic forced several organisers to cancel or postpone their plans.

With Red Dot Island back in business this year, the IAF will be hosting over 100 local and regional artists across 90 booths. These artists will be featuring their original artwork and content, so art lovers will have plenty of opportunities to connect with these creatives. One of the artists who will be on site is self-taught illustrator Poon Yew Fai, whose wuxia book SHAOLIN AND YOU has caught the eye of famous martial arts Jet Li. Not only can you grab a copy of Poon's book, he will also be doing signing sessions. But, Red Dot Diva thinks his special Shaolin wuxia tote bags (see below), which will be on sale at his booth, are pretty awesome.

Other interesting artists visitors can meet at IAF include EBAO (co-founder of art collective DPLMT), Ziqi Wu (well known for his vinyl toy series Monster Little), Shian, and Erikartoon.

Besides booth hopping and busting your wallets, there are two workshops announced. They are:

* Sew-A-Pin with illustrator Siqi (@laughandbelly)
Date/ Time: 29 July, 11 AM - 1 PM
Cost: SGD 8.00 + SGD 3.85

* Creative Zine Making with Beverley Ng (@madebybeverley)and Aik Beng Chia (@aikben9chia)
Date/ Time: 30 July, 11 AM - 1 PM
Cost: SGD 25.00 + SGD 2.29 Fee

In addition, there will be free talks on both days. Artist Shanlyn C will be sharing about how she created her brand Mushroom Mountain while local indie comics publisher Difference Engine will be providing their insights on how to make meaningful books with a South-East Asian narrative.

You can find more information about these sessions, and book for your tickets at Eventbrite.

In fact, you are strongly encouraged to register at Eventbrite to gain access to the IAF. Red Dot Diva understands that this is because the hall's capacity is capped at 600 at any one time for safety reasons. There will be a Walk-In line for those without e-tickets, but it would help with crowd management if you pre-register for a timeslot. The admission rules are also on the Eventbrite page. So, click on to this link to book your relevant timeslot(s). Admission to IAF is free of charge!

Where: Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, 1 Straits Boulevard, Level 7
Date: 29 and 30 July 2023 (Sat and Sun)
Time: 11 AM to 7 PM
Admission is FREE



The Inaugural Illustration Arts Fest Held on 28 to 30 October and 4 to 6 November, 2016

Illustration Arts Festival Returns On 12 & 13 August 2017 With A Bigger Artists Market

Illustration Arts Fest is BACK on 22 & 23 September, LASALLE McNally Campus

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Gamescom Asia 2023 - Capcom Announced For Inaugural B2C Entertainment Zone

Here is a piece of exciting news for this year's Gamescom Asia, which will be held from 19 to 22 October 2023 at Suntec Convention Centre. Capcom, one of the largest gaming developers and publishers of the world, has confirmed their participation at this year's inaugural B2C Entertainment Zone. The B2C zone will be held on 20 to 22 October 2023, with 20 October open to business visitors and a limited number of pre-registered fans only. Gaming enthusiasts will be very familiar with Capcom's best-selling series like Resident Evil and Street Fighter.

For the last two iterations of the gaming festival, the B2C segment had been scuppered due to Covid-19 social restrictions. The key B2C highlights in 2021 and 2022 were broadcasted mainly via Gamescom Asia's online shows PRIMETIME and STUDIO, and it was just not the same as having gaming fans gathering physically on site, where you can wear your favourite costumes, or meet your friends and bond together over the love for gaming.

We are extremely excited to open the Entertainment Zone onsite to the public for the first time this year. We know it has been long anticipated by passionate fans and gamers and we look forward to welcoming them to gamescom asia. As the team works to put up a good show this year with new highlights and expanded mainstays, we invite companies to join us and make gamescom asia the premier Southeast Asian destination to showcase and testbed their games, latest gaming products and services, and reach an audience that is unique to the region,” said Mathias Kuepper, Managing Director and Vice President Asia-Pacific of Koelnmesse Pte Ltd, the organiser of gamescom asia.

Not only will Capcom be making its presence felt at Gamescom Asia 2023, companies like Xsolla, AWS for Games, Unlimit, and Worldline, have also been confirmed as sponsors for the event. In addition, the B2B Trade Zone will be expanded at this year's exhibition floor, and will consist of exhibitors and pavilions from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Japan, South Korea, China, Hong Kong S.A.R., Taiwan, Canada, Israel, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, USA. Some big names have already been confirmed to be speakers on the conference stage. This include CD PROJEKT RED (Cyberpunk 2077, The Witcher), Focus Entertainment, SUNSOFT and Ubisoft.

So, what can gaming fans expect to see at the Entertainment Zone? There will be well-known game publishers and indie studios showcasing their current and upcoming games as well as group play zones. Esports will definitely held on site for so that fans can root for their favourite players and teams. Fans can also enjoy the range of interactive and live entertainment on stage, cosplay, boardgames, merchandise, and more. Oh, and if you get hungry for nourishment, you can attack the range of noms at a designated food alley.

At gaming festivals, Red Dot Diva always found the indie section to be intriguing because these publishers tend to create more quirky and unique games. She is glad to learn that there will be an all-new Indie Wavemakers area where fans and industry folks can test new indie releases and demos. In addition, there will be an Indie Wavemakers Live Stage, where indie exhibitors can share about their products.

Also, in partnership with Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the SEA Game Awards winners will be recognised for the first time at Gamescom Asia. The winnners will be announced at MYDCF 2023 (Malaysia Digital Content Festival) on 29 September 2023 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The SEA Game Awards aim to recognise and celebrate creativity, artistry, and technical genius of the finest game developers from the Southeast Asian and International video game industry.

If all these announcements are making you eager for Gamescom Asia 2023, look out for further announcements regarding ticketing. Tickets for the public will start to go on ssale from end-July.

And for those who will not able to visit Red Dot Island for the festival, do not worry. The show's trademark online shows PRIMETIME and STUDIO will return on 19 October and 22 October respectively to help beat the FOMO-feeling, and you will still be able to keep your finger on the pulse of the latest gaming highlights.


Check out previous articles relating to the write-up of Gamescom Asia show:

* Gamescom Asia 2023's Entertainment Zone To Shift To Physical Format (19 to 22 October 2023)

* Gamescom Asia 2022 - A Peek At The Physical Trade Zone


Gamescom Asia is the satellite event of Gamescom, the world's largest event for computer and video games and Europe's largest business platform for the games industry. Both events are organized by Koelnmesse, one of the world's largest trade fair companies.

For more information and the latest updates, visit Gamescom Asia website, or follow their social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Discord, TikTok, and LinkedIn.


If you enjoy my content, feel free to help keep the blog and other Red Dot Diva endeavours going via ko-fi. Thank you for your support!

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Diva's Movie Review - Spider-man: Across The Spider-verse Is A Dazzling Work Of Art

Just after two weeks of its theatrical release, SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE raked in an impressive USD 400 million at the global box office. Achieving this box office number is no mean feat for a superhero animated film, and ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE, the sequel of 2018's SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE, is now Sony's highest-grossing animated release in history. The film continues its money-making gains at the international box office by crossing the half a billion (USD) mark this week.

ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE follows about a year after the events of the first movie. Back at her own world, Gwen Stacey/ Spider-Woman (Hailee Steinfeld) has been dealing with her personal demons. She is feeling emotionally fraught after losing her best friend Peter, and being not able to reveal her secret identity to her dad. Later on, Gwen is roped in to join the Spider Society, which is headed by Miguel O'Hara (Oscar Isaac), the intense and intimidating Spider-man 2099 from Earth 928B. The secret society had been created mainly to prevent the collapse of the multiverse, and consists of numerous Spider-variants as members.

As for Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), life has been busy-intense. Miles believes he is able to juggle life as a normal teenager as well as being the friendly neighbourhood vigilante. “I can do both!” has become his mantra. But in actual fact, Miles is struggling with the balancing act, and his parents sense that something is amiss with their son. Even though his schedule is packed to the max, Miles still feels lonely. He thinks his parents will never be able to fully accept his super-powered persona, and he sorely misses his fellow Spidey-pals, especially Gwen.

After a challenging attempt to capture Spot (Jason Schwartzman), the so-called ‘villain of the day’, Miles receives a surprise visit from Gwen. Meanwhile, fed up of not being taken seriously, Spot hones on to his evil purpose, and turns out to be even more powerful than expected. Gwen and Miles tries to stop Spot's plans to disrupt the inter-dimensional timelines, and are hurled into a multi-verse jumping adventure with life-changing consequences.

Since its release, film critics and movie audiences around the world have been singing praises of ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE. Red Dot Diva agrees with all the kudos - it is her favourite film in 2023 so far.

When it comes to the second instalment of a trilogy, there is a risk that it will not be as memorable as the first. It is like that oft uttered phrase: ‘you never forget your first love’. Red Dot Diva thought SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE was one of the best animated superhero stories she has ever seen. So, she was a little afraid that the sequel might be a disappointing experience. As it turns out, she found ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE to be an immersive and unforgettable 136-minute ride. Red Dot Diva is still vibing from its after effects to this day.

ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE thrusts you on a series of universe jumps and introduces a number of new characters, but it never loses track of Miles Morales' story as well as the sub-plots. This is due to the innovative animation team of over 1,000 artists from various studios who has managed to create a different aesthetic for each character. For instance, Gwen is accompanied by a green and pink watercolour style ‘mood ring’. The enthusiastic Pavitr Prabhakar/ Spider-man India (Karan Soni) from the bustling city of Mumbhattan web-slings in an animation style inspired by a 70's comic book, while anti-establishment cool cat Hobie Brown/ Spider-Punk (Daniel Kaluuya) is fleshed-out via a cut-and-paste zine type sequence. All these distinctive looks are fused together to form the film's visual language that flows fluently with the compelling script and Daniel Pemberton's electrifying soundtrack. It is ingenious, really.

Also, as someone who appreciates villains in story-telling, Red Dot Diva appreciates that ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE has provided Spot with a unique backstory and motive. A superhero's desire to save the world is as good as the villain he has to face, and Spot has become one of the most formidable supervillain in a Marvel superhero movie. There is also the dilemma of what does it take to make someone a villain? Does considering the effects of a multi-universal crisis count?

ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE is not only a beautifully made film, it is also a deeply emotional and relatable one. Red Dot Diva says it is worth watching more than once, as there are so many things to take away from the multiple story arch. One of the key takeaways is about finding a place to belong, which everyone of us can identify with.

As part of the Live with Red Dot Diva series, Red Dot Diva has hosted a movie review and discussion of ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE with her geek bro Jedd Jong and good friend John Yeow.

The movie review can be viewed on the RDD Youtube channel here:

Please subscribe to the RDD Youtube channel!


Check out other Spider-man movie reviews:

* Diva's review of SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME