Conventions have become a well oiled machine in many situations, bordering on being colossal juggernauts like Anime NYC and San Diego Comic Con. So it’s extra refreshing to partake in smaller cons that you can get the gist of in one afternoon and don’t have attendance numbers in the tens (or hundreds) of thousands. The Five Points Fest is one such convention. Created in 2017 and held in Brooklyn, New York, the Five Points Fest takes a shotgun approach to its offerings, touting “Indie Artists, Designer Toys, Original Art, Resin Sculptures, Plush, Blind Boxes, Blanks, Minis, Kaiju, Japanese Vinyl, Street Art, Posters, Prints, Apparel, Live Painting, Craft Beer, Food Trucks, Pins, Patches, Tattooing and more!” Unfortunately they’ve also added NFTs to that brew, with “minting stations” at the con. Seems kinda weird to sell a web address to a JPEG at a con that’s supposed to be focused on physical art objects, but I digress.
At its heart, Five Points is an art-toy event. While some booths had mini zines and indie comics, don’t come to this show expecting something like MoCCA Fest, though I did manage to get some risograph zines about dim sum and Asian supermarkets. 3D printing has been a boon for small operations making their own figurines, but there was also no shortage of traditional resin casting, while artisans such as Sunguts and Marusan provided some old school-style sofubi. Part of me longs for the plastic models and resin kits of events like Wonder Fest and Super Fest in Japan, but garage kits are considered passé in the States and plastic models are considered the territory of anime conventions.
But whereas Five Points Fest isn’t as much of a toy swap meet, it is a very good artist’s alley and a chance to see some great handcrafted (or 3D printed) figures. Everything is a little bit tinged by neon paint or glow in the dark plastic, while evoking the M.U.S.C.L.E. keshi figures of days past. There were some very nice collectors vinyls, but with those sorts of figures often costing more than $150, I had to hold back from those. Despite this, I did come back with a sizable haul. The one major downside to the convention is that it was held in an un-airconditioned warehouse, where it was pretty much on each booth to provide a fan to mitigate the heat for themselves. That said, it’s still a great event for collectors of monsters, toys, or those of you just looking to see something hand crafted by an actual artisan instead of yet another Funko Pop regurgitated by a factory.