Character-Driven: Sony Pictures Animation and the DCon-Verse


Everyone’s favorite madcap weekend of art toys, collectibles, artisan merch, indie designers, fine art, digital drops, blind boxes, and international pop culture gathering and emporium — DesignerCon — is back to its full in-person mayhem this month. And as it’s done every single one of its 17 years before, it’s grown. Enthusiastic audiences from lifers to newbies who descend in their thousands on the Anaheim Convention Center (and visit the accompanying virtual platform) have come to expect the unexpected from the core of this arts-forward subculture.

CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS (2009) – Flint Lockwood character designs by Carey Yost (Courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation)

Meeting international fan favorites in person, being the first on hand at anticipated releases, and impressive tech and curated art installations have always livened things up even more; past special projects highlighting the art of iconic films like Back to the Future and Jurassic Park, for example. This year is no exception, as DCon’s besties at Sony Pictures Animation return to the floor, celebrating the studio’s 20th anniversary with a character-driven overview of its most appreciated titles.

 

Sony’s memorable 2018 DCon debut featured a Spider-Verse AR experience. They’ve been back every year, but for 2022, the studio is showcasing the talent of its character and scenic artists — as befits the spirit of DCon, honoring the artistry behind the experience in both content and conversation, and looking back to pioneer moments in the genre’s history, even as everyone’s all agog for the next big thing.

THE MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES (2021) – Katie Mitchell character designs by Lindsey Olivares (Courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation)

“It’s a great honor to have Sony Pictures Animation celebrating their landmark 20-year anniversary at DesignerCon,” DCon founder Ben Goretsky tells the LA Weekly. “With their programming on the stage, we’re able to bring our communities together and add a whole new layer to the DCon experience.” Their presence features a colorful timeline, and a branded stage and programming schedule featuring exclusive, interactive presentations and panels, hosted by Mark Brickey from Adventures In Design.

VIVO (2021) – Visual development by Aurora Jimenez (Courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation)

Sony Pictures Animation casts a fond look back at its first two decades as a fantasy factory, starting with their first full-length feature release, Open Season (2006), the Oscar-nominated mockumentary Surf’s Up (2007), the offbeat cultural touchstone Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009), and 2012’s Hotel Transylvania, the Golden Globe-nominated feature directorial debut from animation legend Genndy Tartakovsky that launched a franchise and broke the box office. Moving through sequels, Smurfs, and the truly revolutionary Spider-Verse (2018) — winner of the Academy Award, critical acclaim, and the hearts of a new generation of devoted fans — Sony celebrates more Oscar nods (The Mitchells vs. the Machines, 2021), the music of Lin-Manuel Miranda (Vivo, 2021), and perhaps a sneak peek at hotly anticipated future titles exploring the cosmos of Spider-Man, K-Pop, Elvis Presley, and Matthew A. Cherry.

SURF’S UP (2007) – Visual development by Paul Lasai (Courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation)

“Our partnership with DCon began after the release of our first Oscar-winner, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, when we brought an immersive AR activation to the floor,” Kristine Belson, president, Sony Pictures Animation, features and series, tells the LA Weekly. “And we are ecstatic to be headed back to Anaheim to celebrate the 20th anniversary of our studio! DCon is such a wonderful celebration of the artists behind some of the most exciting art being made today — we will be showcasing top talent and creative leadership who will bring their collective experience in feature animation to the DCon audience via live demonstration and purposeful conversation.”

Explore the DCon-Verse for yourself at the Anaheim Convention Center, November 18-20; designercon.com. 

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA: TRANSFORMANIA (2022) – Johnny Monster character designs by Craig Kellman (Courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation)

DesignerCon (Birdman Photos)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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