Tokyo Art Book Fair 2013

This blog has gathered  just enough cobwebs for Halloween! Yipee.

So the waves have finally brought me back to my sunny shores. Actually, since a week ago. My mysterious disappearance to Australia was the result of being sucked into a relentless temptation offered by a budget airline and a need for some quiet time.  I will be posting my photos from my trips bit by bit so there would be something to look at for the next few days.. weeks... months? 

 It is hard to believe that September came and gone just like that. 21st September was a day that I was counting down to since the 1st of July. When the day finally came, I did not know what to expect and almost relieved at the fact that I am present in Tokyo, at Tokyo Art Book Fair as an exhibitor.  By Grace I made it there, and I am sure glad I did. ☺

This year's fair was a massive one, we were one of the 300 over booths at Tokyo Art Book Fair held at a university with the most confusing name at Shinanomachi, Tokyo this year. The event was a huge eye-opener, it was really great meeting independent publishers from all over the world. However, there were a few challenges in being part of such a huge exhibition as well – in trying to stand out and having to set prices at a competitive rate. When I took a break from manning the booth and walked around, it was only then I realized how huge the compound was. I ended up only purchasing two zines on the first day myself. Both were by Taiwanese designers and extremely lovely. ☺

Seated at my tiny corner at the booth, it was interesting to observe the way people interacted with my designs and the display space. It was an incredible experience to see how your design extends beyond the physical material (in this case, the book) and to the environment in which is sitting in and vice versa. It gave me a lot of ideas on how my works can be improved to provide a more wholesome experience. I also thoroughly enjoyed talking to people who took interest in my works, to explain about the concept of my writings and designs even though not everyone who came by left with something in the end. It was a truly humbling experience to meet people who tell you that they appreciate what you do, and my heart stifles a chuckle whenever I see people smiling while flipping through my books. 

 

 

Over the 3 days, we had our fair share of surprises – friends (Saki, Silas, John & Lp) who showed up to give their support, as well as acquaintances who came by with coffee and chocolates, including the man from an antique shop in Shimo who loaned us display items for free. There was also a sweet Singaporean lady who dropped by our booth with her son to show her support when she realized that we are also Singaporeans. Not forgetting Bernice, Stacy and Josiah who helped us packed at the end of the fair and Josiah who carried my stuff up 5 levels to our apartment with his super strength after he learnt that our apartment elevator was not working. So thankful for these people. ☺

This trip was unlike any other trips to Tokyo, mainly because the intention was not for vacation. It is definitely a great experience and something I wouldn't mind doing again. As there is always a first for everything, I am beyond blessed to have this experience to call my own.

Here are some pictures that I have managed to capture amidst the crowd! Hope you guys will enjoy the post, it was not easy typing with both hands covering my ears to protect them from the boisterous roar of the thunderstorm. ☺ 

 

Entrance to Kyoto University of Art and Design, Tohoku University of Art and Design GAIEN CAMPUS   

Entrance to Kyoto University of Art and Design, Tohoku University of Art and Design GAIEN CAMPUS

 

Stamping workshop at one of the tents on lvl 1

Stamping workshop at one of the tents on lvl 1

Cute booth designed like a birdhouse

Cute booth designed like a birdhouse

Random by PY Leong X Wood&Lead

Random by PY Leong X Wood&Lead

Our tiny booth – I had to balance a merchandises on my head and it helped to draw some crowd.

Our tiny booth – I had to balance a merchandises on my head and it helped to draw some crowd.

Customers browsing through  Of Clouds & Parenthesis , a travelogue.

Customers browsing through Of Clouds & Parenthesis, a travelogue.

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LP who gave us a HUGE surprise by turning up with John without notice 

LP who gave us a HUGE surprise by turning up with John without notice 

Michelle, Wood&Lead customer who bought and modeled the tote *___*

Michelle, Wood&Lead customer who bought and modeled the tote *___*

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Click on the image above to watch the video which accurately captured the mood of the book fair. This video was taken and originally uploaded by my friend Stacy who runs a cool site with updates of her life in Tokyo. 

 

Also, Wood&Lead items sold at Tokyo Art Book Fair are now available for purchase, visit Wood&Lead Etsy store now ! ☺ 
  

 

七倒八上

This was really me a few days ago when I shuffled around the house in this manner beyond frustration and self-defeat, occasionally wiping away fierce tears with my paint-stained hands. Ok, I exaggerated.

The reason behind my anguish lies mainly in my impatience. I've been experimenting with a new painting medium and it frustrated me to no end because I just couldn't work comfortably with it and I ended up ruining two simple paintings that took me a few hours to do. I panicked and got frustrated, because I've wasted so much time and I felt that it was crucial for me to learn a new medium. All the old insecurities slowly resurfaced and I found myself wading in self deprecation. Painting suddenly became as tough as trying to touch my toes.

I allowed myself to sulk, but only for awhile (like 10 days, just kidding). Sulking is important, it is a critical part of the process to feel better about things. Just like how crying is, but the former is more eco-friendly as it doesn't kill trees so I'd go with that. I also made a drawing out of it –

 

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But I didn't immediately feel better, not until the following night when my japanese teacher asked me to draw a neko (cat) during a class pop quiz. I thought I had heard wrongly but was secretly happy as it was my favouritest thing to do! How did she know, aren't the Japanese amazing?! While I was drawing on the board infront of the class, it was heartening to know that what I enjoy doing can bring joy to others as well. It wasn't the best looking neko on the planet but that mere 30 secs gave me a fresh perspective and a sense of purpose [or perhaps I am just disgustingly optimistic].

People used to tell me that if it's something that you really love, you would do whatever you can to get it. Because of the way that I was, I never saw failing in the part of doing. It didn't make sense to me how you're doing anything right through making mistakes. But that's where you learn, the beauty of distress. While there is a lot of pressure and self-struggle in face of repeated failures since it often takes 10x the effort to get pass yourself, through it you do gain resilience and patience.

I figured that since I've been consistently failing at the attempts of what I enjoy doing, there's no harm taking another plunge because I have nothing to lose. Like the Chinese saying (of Japanese origin) that goes, "七倒八上“ / 七転び八起き (nana-koro-bi-yao-ki) which translate to 'fall down seven times, get up eight' . Everything will work out eventually, just keep going. ☺