Culture Cartel 2018: Asia’s First All-Inclusive Street Culture Convention

Held for two days nearing the end of 2018 (1 to 2 December) at the Singapore F1 Pit Building, the different sectors of Art, Toys, Tattoo, and Fashion converged at Culture Cartel – a consumer trade show that showcased the best of street culture in Asia and around the world.

Co-organized by Habitual, Axis Group Asia, and Division Communications, Culture Cartel placed the limelight on the often-neglected segments of street culture.

Culture Cartel 2018 - toys

Culture Cartel was powered by official brand partner Mercedes-Benz, and was also supported by Singapore Tourism Board, MTV Asia, Scoot, Krafers’ Paradise and Asia Tattoo Supply.

Culture Cartel 2018 - graffiti

The curation of the exhibitions at the inaugural event was spearheaded by prominent industry leaders such as Invasion Studios by Jahan Loh (for Art), Jackson Aw of Mighty Jaxx (for Toys), Augustine Nezumi of Singapore Electric (for Tattoo), and Mandeep Chopra of Limited Edt (for Fashion).

They were joined with more than 100 street artists, designers, tattoo artists, and urban brands across the world, putting together a holistic and interactive street culture showcase that has never been seen before in Asia.

Culture Cartel 2018 - jeremy tan

Jeremy Tan, Convention Director of Culture Cartel, said, “Although there are plenty of fairs catered for fans of the different aspects of street culture, the existing events are very niche and are relatively spread out geographically and periodically throughout the year. What makes Culture Cartel stands out is that it is Asia’s first event to unite the street culture community. From Art, Toys, Tattoo, to Fashion, everyone under the street culture umbrella will converge over one exciting weekend to communicate, collaborate, and create. Visitors with multiple interests will be satisfied at one go with the various offerings, and they will certainly be drawn to the multifaceted street culture.”

Here’s a glimpse of what Culture Cartel had to offer:

Joshua Vides x Mercedes Benz

Culture Cartel 2018 - mercedes benz

American contemporary and street artist Joshua Vides – who is also one of Culture Cartel’s headliners – collaborated with Mercedes Benz to showcase the then newly-launched Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

Culture Cartel 2018 - mercedes benz graffiti

Joshua Vides is known for redefining the idea of street art through his concept ‘Reality to Idea’, which highlights the shape and form of objects through a black and white comic-like perspective. The installation presented the concept-state beauty of the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class in a youthful and dynamic manner, yet grown-up and comfortable like never before.

KAWS and BE@RBRICKS Private Collection Exhibitions

Culture Cartel 2018 - BE@RBRICKS_1

In today’s world, a toy collector is not much different from art sculptor collector. Their purposes for collecting are generally the same – for decoration, investment, or both. As such, Culture Cartel did not cut corners when it came to toys either, roping in local toy collectors to showcase their private collections of BE@RBRICK and KAWS collectibles.

Culture Cartel 2018 - BE@RBRICKS_2

BE@RBRICK is an anthropomorphised bear created by Japanese toy makers MediCom Toy. Today, BE@RBRICKs are one of the most sought-after collectibles in the world, with big name collaborations such as KAWS, Swarovski, Chanel and Nike under its belt. Hence, it comes with no surprise that the average price points for rare editions are easily in the 5-digits region, with the 70cm Yue Minjun ‘Qiu Tu’ BE@RBRICK fetching a whopping US$160,000 at an auction — the most expensive BE@RBRICK ever sold!

Culture Cartel 2018 - BE@RBRICKS_solo

KAWS is a New York-based artist who has made a name for himself, designing limited edition toys and clothing. He is also a world-renowned artist who exhibits in museums and galleries internationally. KAWS had an opportunity to design and produce limited edition vinyl toys in the late 1990s, which instantly became a hit with the global art and toy-collecting community.

Culture Cartel 2018 - KAWS_1

For instance, when the Museum of Modern Art in New York City sent out an email blast on 17 May 2017 announcing that it had limited supplies of the $200 KAWS Companion action figure available for sale in its stores and online, the resulting rush of traffic promptly crashed the MoMA Design Store website, which stayed down for most of that day.

Culture Cartel 2018 - KAWS_2

The KAWS and BE@RBRICK exhibitions put up by Culture Cartel also displayed the collectibles’ crazy price jumps. For example, a KAWS figurine that local collector Edward Ng bought 20 years ago for $150 is now selling for $15,000.

Nike – Air Jordan 11 “Concord”

Culture Cartel 2018 - nike air jordans 11

The Air Jordan 11 was presented to the public in May 1995, which then took the sneaker world by storm. Part of the shoe’s novelty is due to the fact that it is classified as a general release. It is not limited edition; there are no ballots for it, and from its public releases in 1996, 2000, 2001 and 2011, it warranted campouts – the only way to buy them.

Culture Cartel 2018 - nike air jordans close-up

In true spirit, Limited Edt launched the Air Jordan 11 “Concord” – campout style – at Culture Cartel 2018. Pre-orders with limited quantities were available on both 1st and 2nd December, giving visitors the chance to secure a pair of Air Jordan 11 ahead of the launch.

The Adidas Consortium Runner 4D

The Adidas CONSORTIUM RUNNER 4D was the first of many exclusive drops that took place at the Culture Cartel. The in-house model series was built around innovation; featuring a high-performance midsole that embodied Adidas’ enduring commitment to pioneering technologies, innovative designs and collaborative thinking.

Culture Cartel 2018 - Adidas Runner 4D

It is also the first of its kind to utilise Digital Light Synthesis technology, resulting in a lattice-like midsole created from light, air and liquid. Designed to optimise the running experience like no other midsole before it, CONSORTIUM 4D technology is a combination of craftsmanship, athlete-driven data and sporting excellence.

First-ever VR Graffiti Battle in Asia and Tattoo Competition

Culture Cartel 2018 - VR graffiti

Co-organised by Kult Gallery and supported by Tilt Brush by Google, culture cartel showcased Asia’s first VR graffiti battle, as both local and Asian graffiti artists battle it out using Google’s Tilt Brush, a 3D VR painting programme.

It also presented a showdown between local and regional tattoo artists, offering visitors a chance to see the best tattoos created over the convention weekend.

Overall, Culture Cartel 2018 was a resounding success as street culture enthusiasts from Singapore and across the globe came together to share, collaborate and create their passion for art, toys, tattoos and fashion.

For more information, visit

Visuals courtesy of Culture Cartel and Darren Chiong of the DANAMIC team.

Deepa d/o Chevi Vadivelu

Animal and music lover, bookworm and movie enthusiast. #blackismyhappycolour

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