Be Kind, Rewind: Culture Cartel 2018


Culture Cartel 2018, Asia’s premiere street culture convention, concludes its power-packed weekend of more than 100 curators, artists, retailers and brand partners from different genres of street culture with an attendance of more than 14,000 strong. Here’s a brief recap of what went down!

For our first edition of Culture Cartel, we teamed up with brand partner Mercedes-Benz to showcase an art installation of the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class by American contemporary and street artist, and Culture Cartel 2018 ART Headliner, Joshua Vides. This collaboration marks the world’s first official car to undergo Joshua’s signature ‘Reality to Idea’ art concept, whereby he highlights the shape and form of objects through a black and white comic-like perspective, showcasing the concept-state beauty of end products.

Another highlight was a booth by the other Culture Cartel 2018 ART Headliner, Mr Stash himself, which showcased the graffiti legend’s artworks and notable collaborations, with a selection of original artworks on sale, which were freshly painted in Singapore.

The big names in fashion and lifestyle also showcased what they were all about at this point in time: ASICSTIGER showed MONSOON PATROL, a three-way collaboration between SBTG, Limited Edt and themselves; Google went VR and put their Tilt Brush software to the test; Nike stomped the grounds with an Air Force One workshop and display; Levi’s collaborated with four artists (Mightyellow, Erikartoon, Mean and Fvder) to elaborate the connectivity of their denim jacket throughout various genres of street culture; Belvedere went all baller with personal customisations of their bottle; Skechers brought in Studio Moonchild to do on-the-spot customisations of their D’Lites 3; Nixon, Timex and Kapten & Son presented their latest collections; Samsung teamed up with Indonesian street artist, Stereoflow, to showoff their new Galaxy A9’s wide lens camera; PUMA set up a laboratory, giving new life to their Cell technology; and adidas brought us into tomorrow land with their new Futurecraft 4D.

We also banded together Singapore’s Bearbrick collectors to do a showcase of the rarest and most collectible Bearbricks out there.

Shepard Fairey also sent his team down to Singapore to put up two Obey Giant murals for Culture Cartel 2018.

The Berlin Wall was constructed in 1961 to separate West Berlin and East Berlin during the Cold War. All the differences between the countries made it a perfect place for people to express their opinions. In the 1980s, the wall was reconstructed and made 14 feet tall, and graffitiing on the wall became popular for artists from all over the world. It now stands as one of the largest canvas in the world.

At Culture Cartel 2018, we attempted to create our own Southeast Asian ‘Wall of Art’, which featured (in order of left to right, top to bottom) Katun (MY), JEFR (MY), Cloakwork (MY), Beerpitch (TH), Rukkit (TH), Cloakwork x Katun x Nestwo (MY), Nestwo (MY), Clogtwo (SG), Stereoflow (ID), SKL0 (SG), Tuyuloveme (ID), Mightyellow (SG), Yok & Sheryo (AU/SG), Erikartoon (SG) and Tiffany Lovage (SG)…

Which were laid out like that…

Another notable booth at Culture Cartel 2018 was by Hong Kong urban outdoor brand, Subtle, who flew in two graffiti artists, Kenji Chai (MY) and Artime Joe (KR), to collaborate on a mural for the pre-launch of their new collection, ‘Mainstreet’.

From art to toys to tattoo to fashion, the collective street culture world came together, eliminating borders and boundaries, to showcase different crafts and collaborations to people from all walks of life — it was ultimately a celebration of diversity and creativity.

Indonesian street artists Olderplus (ID) and Muklay (ID) also performed live painting during the opening night of Culture Cartel 2018. Many visitors who were watching came to the same realisation that there are those who are born with artistic talent and then there is everyone else.

What is a celebration without food? Check out the unique offerings from our F&B friends below!

Putting together an inaugural convention of this scale is not an easy feat and it wouldn’t have been possible without all of you — we at Culture Cartel would like to say thank you! To everyone who participated and supported Culture Cartel 2018, we will work towards bringing an even bigger and better convention to Singapore and beyond.

Spread the love, spread the word. We are Culture Cartel. See you in 2019!

CC2018 Tattoo Headliner: Nissaco

CC2018 Tattoo Headliner: Nissaco

The geometric god, best known as Nissaco, is a tattoo artist from Osaka whose combination of heavy blackwork, intricate dot-work, geometric patterns and traditional Japanese iconography is simply breathtaking. “Much of my work is based on the Japanese style,” Nissaco says to Tattoo Life. “And although I don’t pay that much attention to my roots or to certain rules, I feel that certain ideas which come to me spontaneously are nonetheless influenced by my culture. In any case, what matters most to me is to be free and to always do interesting pieces.”

Unafraid of bending the rules, Nissaco’s work, although experimental, does require considerable technical skill; spontaneity and artistic freedom are also keys to creating his unique bodysuits of black. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing one of his works up-close, a double-take is a guarantee, followed by a “Sugoi!”, or “wow” in any other language.

Today, Nissaco has an Instagram following of over 350k, with an average waiting period of one year for a once in a lifetime booking with him. Culture Cartel is honoured to have Nissaco headline our inaugural event. Here, we continue our chat with him.

What is your favourite part of being a tattoo artist?
I’m not sure about my favourite part but tattooing is my life.

What is it like being a tattoo artist in Japan?
So much problem being a tattoo artist in Japan, but I just don’t care about it.

Who does your tattoos for you?
All of it were done by my friends.

What has been your favourite moment in your career, so far?
When I got first place at the London Tattoo Convention.

What advice can you give to artists who are just starting out?
Just keep willing to learn, and do not copy from other artists.

Buy your tickets to Culture Cartel here and watch Nissaco up-close in action!

CC2018 Tattoo Headliner: Gakkin

CC2018 Tattoo Headliner: Gakkin

Gakkin is one of Japan’s most internationally recognised tattoo artists. A native of Wakayama, Gakkin mostly draws his inspiration from nature and also from several ancient Japanese painters. His tattoo work is so mesmerising and precise, which makes it all the more a wonder that he wasn’t raised in an artistic family and didn’t even start drawing until his late teens: “Honestly, when I was 15 to 18 years old I didn’t have a dream,” Gakkin explains to Japan Times. “I was just a bad boy who liked drinking, smoking, motorcycles, skateboarding.”

Today, Gakkin is a blackwork/traditional-Japanese freehand maestro with 281k followers on Instagram. He has also permanently moved to Amsterdam with his family since 2016, escaping the confinements of life in Japan, one of which is not having to hide is own body suit of ink, and another is a recent court rule that a tattoo artist cannot work with needles without a medical license. “That’s so stupid,” says Gakkin. “The news was a big surprise. In other countries, tattooers have worked with local governments and doctors to establish guidelines and regulations. Of course, I got a license to tattoo in the Netherlands. But if I worked in Japan, I would be a criminal because I don’t have a doctor’s license. Who’s gonna become a tattoo artist after graduating medical school?!”

Life is more relaxed now for Gakkin and he gets to spend more time with his family. He opens his studio at 10am and closes shop at 5pm, taking just one booking a day, four or five days a week. Culture Cartel is honoured to have Gakkin headline our inaugural event. Here, we continue our chat with him.

When and why did you start tattooing?
I started tattooing when I was 18 at my home, on my friend. I just thought it was cool.

What is your favourite part of being a tattoo artist?
To have friends everywhere in the world.

If you didn’t become a tattoo artist, what would you have done?

Who is your favourite tattoo artist of all time?
Noko (his daughter).

Have you ever tattooed yourself? Who does your tattoos for you?
Yes, I tattooed myself last week — it’s very fun. Most of my tattoos are by my friends and family.

What has been your favourite moment in your career, so far?
My daughter became my apprentice!

What advice can you give to artists who are just starting out?
Work hard! That’s the best shortcut to be better.

To understand better the tattoo world of Gakkin, watch his video here. Or buy your tickets to Culture Cartel here and watch him in action up close!

PUMA’s Revival of the Cell

PUMA’s Revival of the Cell

Having originally debut in 1998, PUMA’s Cell Endura is a true gem that walked as much as it talked, featuring polyurethane elastomer configured in a pattern of interlocked hexagonal cells that are designed to provide better stability and improve cushioning. Now 20 years later, PUMA is bringing sexy back (just as well that “dad shoes” are in fashion) with their new-and-improved CELL Endura.

With the 2010s closing out, the resurgence of 90s style is alive as ever, and German sportswear powerhouse PUMA intends to keep their head in the game with this archival revival of the sneaker. This means capturing the relevance of ’90s aesthetics, while celebrating the technology’s 20th anniversary, making for a sleeker shape but maintaining the shoe’s characteristic aspects like the ingenious lacing system and translucent parts that reveal the cushioning throughout the midsole. Pretty dope.

PUMA will be showcase their Cell technology at Culture Cartel 2018.

The World of BE@RBRICK

The World of BE@RBRICK

BE@RBRICKS are created by Japanese toy makers MediCom Toy, which essentially represents an anthropomorphised bear, and is loosely modelled after the Kubrick, MediCom Toy’s earlier creation that paid homage to Stanley Krubrick, one of the most influential directors in cinematic history.

BE@RBRICKS are generally made of plastic, are comprised of nine parts — head, torso, hips, arms, hands, and legs — and come in six different sizes, with the smallest being 50% and the largest at 1000%. The first BE@RBRICK was released in 27 May 2001 and given out as a free gift to attendees of the World Character Convention in Tokyo, Japan — a basic white bear with a blue BE@RBRICK logo on its torso. This marked the standard BE@RBRICK size, the 100%, which measured at 70mm.

Today, BE@RBRICKs are one of the most sought-after collectibles in the world, with big name collaborations under its belt including KAWS, Comme des Garçons, Colette, Swarovski, Chanel, Nike, Andy Warhol and more; it is no wonder that the average price points for rare editions are easily in the 5-digits region, with the Yue Minjun ‘Qiu Tu’ 1000% BE@RBRICK fetching a whopping USD160,000 at auction — the most expensive BE@RBRICK ever sold.

Visit Culture Cartel 2018 to check out our BE@RBRICK exhibition put up by our very own band of Singaporean collectors.

Street Culture is TOYS

Toys aren’t just for kids. What was once an object for a child to play with, is now a collector’s piece of art that same child proudly displays in his home as an adult. 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 or for investment, one of two or both.

Take KAWS toys for example, like Edward Ng says in the video above, a KAWS figurine that he bought 20 years ago for $150 is now selling for $15000. And on 17 May 2017, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City sent out an e-mail blast 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.

And while this is one of the better and more extreme examples, so many other kinds of toys, from Lego to Star Wars to Barbie Dolls to Bearbricks, have all become serious collector items. And just like traditional art sculptures, some spend money on the toys that catch their eye so they can decorate their home, while others buy toys regardless of whether they like the model, just because they know it will multiply in value in years to come.

The demand is real. The new generation will not have the same interests as the generations before. So while toy collecting may be something that was thought of as childish, it is, in fact, immature to think that way today.

Visit Culture Cartel 2018 to learn more about this toy phenomenon, with KAWS and Bearbrick exhibitions put up showing you their crazy price jumps; and a panel conversation about toys, with moderator Jeffrey Koh of Flabslab, and panelists Sebastian Burdon (aka Whatshisname — Toy Artist/CC Headliner), Jackson Aw (Mighty Jaxx — Toy Producer), Daniel Yu (Toy Artist), Jahan Loh (Street and Contemporary Artist) and from the video above, Edward Ng (Toy/KAWS Collector). Click here to buy your tickets for Culture Cartel now, and here to register for our Conversations.


The Return of the Holy Grail — Air Jordan 11 “Concord”

The Return of the Holy Grail — Air Jordan 11 “Concord”

“Well, I don’t know exactly when that moment is that you realise you’re shaping history, when you realise you have helped create something that people will someday consider the ultimate grail,” says Howard White, Jordan Brand’s Senior VP for SLAM, on the Air Jordan 11.

The history of the Air Jordans is one that is long, complex and controversial. To start, Air Jordans may have never even existed if Michael made a deal with his preferred choice of adidas instead of Nike. But as fate would have it, Michael ended up creating the first Air Jordan with designer Peter Moore that would influence footwear design for an entire generation to come.

“[D]o you realise at the time that you are shaping history, or do you just know you’re an artist? Did Michelangelo realise that he was doing something historical like the Sistine Chapel? He didn’t really want to do that because he was a sculptor at heart. But look at how that came out. So, I think Michael Jordan, in his heart, is an artist,” continues White.

Michael called the first Air Jordan the devil’s shoe. The Air Jordan 1 is infamously black and red, and it went against NBA’s uniform guidelines at the time. NBA fined Michael $5,000 every game he laced them up and went on the court (which Nike happily paid — the sneaker ban racked up some serious hype for Nike for a shoe that wasn’t even released yet). Michael had some of his greatest moments in the Jordan 1, including his 63-point playoff performance against Celtics that had Larry Bird comparing Michael to God. 13 years later, Michael would once again break out his first kicks for one last time in his Chicago farewell tour stop at Madison Square Garden even though he had outgrown the pair by a full size.

Fast forward 10 years later, in May of 1995, designer Tinker Hatfield (who took over Peter Moore from Jordan III) would unveil a shoe that would blow the sneaker world away — the Air Jordan 11. “They were shining underneath the lights in Orlando. They were damn near glowing, an everlasting flash that hadn’t been seen before. It was the patent leather. A glistening shade of black, contrasted against a clean white base. And when Michael rose up for his jumpshot, hints of purple peeked out.”

“I remember when we first showed MJ, he was like, ‘That’s it! That’s what I’m talking about. You got it,’” recalls White. The Air Jordan 11 was a shoe that was as functional as it was aesthetically perfect. The use of patent leather helped Michael’s foot stay locked in on hard stops and cuts. And to top it off, the shoe was dubbed Michael’s return to greatness.

Part of the shoe’s magic 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. And in true spirit, Limited Edt will be launching the Air Jordan 11 “Concord”, campout style, at Culture Cartel 2018, for pre-order with limited quantities on both 1st and 2nd December — your first and best chance to secure a pair ahead of the launch.

“I think when you look at legacy, when you look at how something becomes ‘the grail’, when you look at what this single item can mean to a populous, it really breaks down to what sacrifices are people willing to take to repeat a dream,” muses White. Coming back as No. 45 and having to feel like you aren’t living up to who the world thought you were. That shoe says you’re really not worried about what the world thinks. It says you really want to be your self-conceptualisation of who you know you can be. So, are you willing to push through those boundaries?”

Culture Cartel Conversations 2018 Programme

Culture Cartel Conversations 2018 Programme

You MUST have a ticket for Culture Cartel to RSVP for any of the below. Tickets available at and at doors of convention. Click here to RSVP for any of the below.


1 December 2018, Saturday. 1:00PM.

Discussion Topics:

  • The brief history of how toy collecting became a serious hobby.
  • How KAWS/BE@RBRICK changed the toy game?
  • What goes into creating a toy? From thought process to design to production.
  • Discussion on the demand for vinyl/collector toys in Singapore and the world.
  • The blurred lines between art and toy.

Moderator: Jeffrey Koh of Flabslab


  • Sebastian Burdon (aka Whatshisname — Toy Artist/CC Headliner)
  • Jackson Aw (Mighty Jaxx — Toy Producer)
  • Daniel Yu (Toy Artist)
  • Jahan Loh (Street and Contemporary Artist)
  • Edward Ng (Toy/KAWS Collector)


1 December 2018, Saturday. 3:30PM.

Talking points:

  • The streetwear industry, then and now.
  • How social media, “hype”, reselling changed the industry?
  • Starting your own streetwear label and what goes into it — from concept to production to marketing, etc.
  • Which markets in Asia are buying the most streetwear?
  • Is brick-and-mortar still relevant in the current market place?

Moderator: Chooee Hwang of Streething, Jeremy Tan of Culture Cartel


  • Tamish and Giorgi (Ageless Galaxy, Indonesia)
  • Hugh (Pestle & Mortar Clothing, Malaysia)
  • Mae Tan (Surrender, Singapore/Asia)
  • Shangguan Zhe (Sankuanz, China)


1 December 2018, Saturday. 5:00PM.

Talking points:

  • Growing up in Singapore as an arts kid.
  • What kind of support is there in Singapore for the arts industry?
  • What is street art in Singapore?
  • Challenges faced as a creative in Singapore.
  • Opportunities abroad as a creative.

Moderator: Mandeep Chopra of Limited Edt, Marc Wong of Habitual


  • Mark Ong (SBTG)
  • Jonning Chng (Footwear Designer)
  • Sam Lo (aka Sticker Girl — Street and Contemporary Artist)


2 December 2018, Sunday. 3:30PM.

Talking points:

  • A brief history of graffiti.
  • How street art was like before social media?
  • Street art and the gallery.
  • What street art is today?
  • How Instagram/social media plays an influence in creatives today?

Moderator: Tracy Phillips (Buro 24/7 Singapore Contributing Editor)


  • Stash (Graffiti Artist/CC Headliner)
  • Joshua Vides (Street and Contemporary Artist/CC Headliner)
  • Jahan Loh (Street and Contemporary Artist)


2 December 2018, Sunday. 5:00PM.

Talking points:

  • Influence of music in street culture.
  • Importance of an artist’s image.
  • What record labels look out for when signing an artist?
  • Music trends.
  • How music streaming changed the industry?

Moderator: Indran Paramasivam (Bandwagon)


  • Kheng (Sony Music Singapore)
  • Tabitha Nauser (Pop/R&B Singer & Songwriter)
  • Zaran (Collective Minds)




What is “street culture”? The term holds a different meaning to everyone. To some, street culture is skateboarding at 3am; to others, it’s signing off on a wall with a spray can; to Southeast Asia’s Empress of Hip-hop and Dancehall, MAS1A, street culture is MUSIC: “If I wasn’t able to express who I uniquely am as an individual, as an artist, then I’d be a miserable person.”

Culture Cartel has started an on-going series of videos about what street culture means to different people. This one with MAS1A is supported by Levi’s.

New Era x Culture Cartel Caps

New Era x Culture Cartel Caps

We are excited to share with you our Culture Cartel x New Era caps! Coming in two models: the 9FORTY and SnapBack 9FIFTY. Available exclusively at Culture Cartel 2018!


© Culture Cartel 2018
Contact us: