Friday, August 1, 2014
I think of each form like an Eco-system; I try to make all the pieces work together in harmony. Like an actual landscape, nature always finds a way to balance itself out, and I use that as a model for how I develop the collages. Whatever parts are not useful become recycled for another piece. After making the collages, I develop paintings from them. I create cropped compositions of the collages to make a painting that’s not merely a representation of the collage but an image independent from its inspiration.
TPL NYC: The work as a whole, what do you hope the viewer will experience while looking at it?
TPL NYC: So this is about peculiar people and things, what is the most peculiar piece of art that you have seen?
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Mimura, a hit in her native Japan, released an album after she auditioned for Takahiro Yamautsuri who was one of the producers for the Pokemon movies.
Since she came to America six years ago, Mimura has released two albums; her newest one is titles Hybrid Girl. The album showcases her sweet and cute side, while also allowing her to express a more mature side of her personality. Mimura commented on how she is trying to blend her Japansese aesthetic with American tastes in fashion and music.
She has done a great job fitting in with the unique landscape that New York City has to offer artists of various types from all walks of life. The sensuous and cute mixed into Mimura's versatile performances help to mainstream the cosplay and J-Pop scene, which is why Reni Mimura is July's Peculiar Person of the month.
|Reni in black|
|Reni in dark colors|
|Reni capturing the cute and serious looks that she emulates|
[The song, "Hello Sunshine" was also produced by Ki-Yo's and had the same process] through it. It was Ki-Yo's imagined song of Reni.
"Lovely NY" and "Judgmental Dramatic Monday" [are two songs that I wrote the lyrics to, but the melody was by Rui. Our process for these songs is the same as for my "Suspect A" song.]
RM: Yes, my point was to create a sense of sexy between Japanese and Americans. I didn't want to be [only] "American sexy." Same as didn't want to be [only] "Japanese sexy." Also, I still wanted to stay in the anime style. It was hard to put all my images together.
You can see the same thing happening in the music. Japanese music has beautiful melodies, lyrics and voices. Record companies are not selling music that has bad words in the lyrics. Even if that artist's personal life is a bad world.
RM: It has been 6 years doing my maid show. I started it alone. Now, I have maid friends with strong connections. They are my jewels. Sometimes we cry together, laugh together, and eat together. [The girl that's been with me the longest is Erica Cotte. She is a leader of the maids at the maid show Maid Cafe #MoeMoeHoney. We are not just wearing maid costumes together. She knows me, I know her, and when we do a show together, it [is truly amazing!]
|Reni in her maid outfit for her regular shows|
To learn more about Reni's Maid Show and music just check out her website www.renireni.com
Friday, May 23, 2014
Originally from Pennsylvania, Bernatovech made New York City his home for many years after he graduated from the Actor's Studio for his MFA. He shares his time with his artist Jamie Fay and colorist Danielle Alexis St. Pierre as well his Comfort Retriever.
He has worked in various plays, television programs, music videos, print and films, but now holds steady employment for the New York Times.
He commented on how the events of 9/11 brought a change to his life and brought him back to his first love of comics.
This led him to found Drum Fish Productions, which features several comic book titles that are written and created by Bernatovich and his talented team of fellow artists.
Bernatovich sat down with This Peculiar Life NYC to tell us how he got started, what his creative process is like, and some of the upcoming projects that he has in the works. Read more as Rich Bernatovech is June's Peculiar Person of the Month.
This Peculiar Life NYC: What got you into comics?
Rich Bernatovech: For me, it was about the art. I got into comics until I was about 12, and the sequential art and storytelling pulled me in. George Perez drew two of the first comics I read. the art told the story before I even read a word of dialogue. I love that about it. Once I actually read the story, I was hooked.
TPL NYC: Who are some of the characters that inspired you the most?
RB: I'm a big fan of the underdog. The character that people write off and don't think is good enough. Characters who strive for something also inspire me. I'm not a big fan of slow moving stories or characters that don't change.
TPL NYC: What do you feel independent comics offer readers more than mainstream?
RB: For me, it's very clear that independent comics offer more diversity in characters and genre. They also give creators freedom to have their characters grow and evolve. I often find independent comics to have more passion in them because the creators are more connected to their own creations that they are to company owned characters. I feel they tell ore engaging stories that readers can enjoy.
TPL NYC: Tell me about your book Neverminds? How did the concept come about?
RB: I wanted to create something different and that wasn't superhero at all. I began working with artist Jamie Fay, and we came up with an interesting story of a girl torn between two worlds. It was a fantasy story, and we were excited. As we were working on the book, we discovered that there was another book coming out that was very similar to what we were doing. After a log time considering what to do, we re-evaluated Neverminds and decided to do something different. One of Jamie's strengths as an artist is the way he draws women. I played upon those strengths by adding new characters and changing the setting of our main group. To make it different, we kept some of the other worldly elements that we had from the earlier version.
|A cover from Neverminds|
TPL NYC: As a writer, how do you go about plotting the story? Give readers some insight into breaking down the process? What are the best parts, and what are the challenges?
RB: Plotting varies for me depending on the format I'm writing for, but I always need to know the beginning and end of the story before I start. I need to have my main characters fleshed out. Once I know where I'm starting, going, and who I'm writing about, I find it pretty easy to drive in. I daydream a lot before I start and develop elements of the story as I create characters and ideas. Then, once I think everything is good, I sit down and start typing out the story and go from there focusing on the dialogue. Honestly, I enjoy all of those aspects of writing, but I think the best part is when you're able to sole a problem that you encounter and have it work into the story perfectly. It feels like completing a puzzle.
|Original artwork |
by Rich Bernatovech
|Original artwork |
by Rich Bernatovech
RB: As an artist, my favorite part is creating characters and getting a visual that feels right for the character. I also love changing looks and facial features from character to character.
TPL NYC: You also have a toy line. How did this come about? Is there a figure that you feel turned out the best?
RB: The figurines came after a toy company saw our designs and contacted us. I looked at their work and after discussing possibilities with them, we decided to work together. We have a total of seven figurines. They have been selling well and we are proud of them. I couldn't pick a favorite as I think they are sculpted beautifully and I love them all.
|Figures for Neverminds|
|More figures from the Neverminds toy line|
|Bernatovick with artist Jamie Fay|
TPL NYC: Tell me a bit about the color palette for Neverminds? It is very vibrant, how did you choose them?
|Latest copy of Neverminds|
|The characters of Neverminds|
RB: I just recently released the original graphic novel Bugged, which is a very dark and humorous book about a teenager and a talking roach. It's been getting great reviews and I'm extremely happy with the response that we've gotten on it.
|A splash page from Neverminds|
Monday, March 24, 2014
|(Chartles Battersby in costume)|
I had the opportunity to cover an article at the Japan Society on the Lolita community that congregates in New York City, a community that can only be described as...thriving. You may be wondering what I mean by Lolita, but I assure that it is an all ages and most important, legal, event that caters to a subculture of people known for wearing Victorian dresses and garments. At the center, I was surrounded by an array of colorfully dressed girls in cotton candy wigs, covered head to toe in Bo Peep fashion and lace. While brushing elbows and petticoats, I had the chance to meet playwright and Lolita Charles Battersby.
Charles Battersby: I learned about it as an extension of goth culture. I think the old term was "Elegant Gothic Lolita." I used to work in a costume store in the 90's and we had a huge gang of goths that hung around the store so we were immersed in the Goth/ Lolita / Victorian communities.
TPL NYC: What do you feel the Lolita community offers you that other communities don’t?
CB: A lot of fashion subcultures are centered around noisy nightclubs or crowded conventions, but Lolita has a quiet and polite nature to it, usually based around tea parties, picnics and fashion shows. Lolitas are also whimsical and playful, it's a break from the constant attitude of "I'm a very serious adult doing terribly serious grown-up things."
CB: Lolita isn't necessarily a costume, and that's what separates it from cosplay. Some "Lifestyle Lolitas" dress in Lolita clothing every day. Other people might just wear a single item as an accessory to an otherwise ordinary outfit. It isn't necessarily about wearing a costume and role playing.
CB: There are smaller meet ups almost every week, and a larger gathering about once a month. Lolitas can also be found at any major Anime/ Cosplay/ Manga event. Recently most Japanese cultural events like Japan Day in Central Park, or Sakura Matsuri in Brooklyn will have Lolitas and other forms of "Street Fashion" present.
CB: The tea parties can range from just a handful of friends getting together for lunch, up to mini-conventions with over a hundred people. New York has quite a few restaurants that specialize in tea parties.
TPL NYC: How do you go about putting a costume together? What catches your eye when you see an outfit?
CB: As an actor / cosplayer I have a wardrobe packed with outfits accumulated over decades. I tend to buy pieces individually then put them together when an event approaches. With Lolita it's not hard to make an outfit since almost everything is pink, white or black.
As a relatively older Lolita I try to be as elegant and streamlined as possible to avoid looking like I'm wearing a costume. The "Sweet Lolita" style of being covered in pink ruffles and glitter from head-to-toe is better suited to younger people.
TPL NYC: Is it hard finding the clothes for your body since you are a guy?
CB: Yes. Most Lolitas are young women, and the most popular brands are from Japan, so the clothing is tiny. Almost everything I wear is either custom-made, or extensively modified by me for the right fit. I'm small when compared to the typical American man, and I wear corsets that bring my waist down to about 22 inches, but I still have a hard time finding dresses and blouses that fit my shoulders.
TPL NYC: Are there many men that participate in the Lolita fashion?
CB: Not many, but there are a few. They usually dress in period men's outfits when they join their female friends at Lolita gatherings.
|(Defying convenstion even amonsgt the unconventional)|
TPL NYC: You seem to play with the gender roles in this community, which is interesting. Do the women ever wear masculine fashion in the community?
CB: There's a subculture called "Brolita" and there are usually a couple of boy wearing Lolita clothes at any large Lolita gathering. It's also very common to see girls dressed in clothing that would have been intended for men in the 19th Century. The men's styles back then were very feminine by today's standards.
TPL NYC: What do you like most about the Lolita community, and what is the most fun part?
CB: The food! Any Lolita gathering is awash with cookies and cupcakes!
TPL NYC: Have you faced any challenges by being a part of the community? Is there any discrimination from inside or outside this community?
CB: Inside the community, no. The people I meet at Lolita events are usually happy to meet another person who shares their interests. I've never had the sense that I'm unwelcome.
TPL NYC: What does your family and friends think of you being a Lolita?
CB: Most of my friends are actors, cosplayers, or creative types so they're fine with me throwing on a victorian ballgown every now and then. They're accustomed to seeing me dressed in all sorts of outfits when I'm acting in a show or cosplaying, so Lolita is just part for the course.
|(The famous Lolita Captain America)|
CB: I've been cosplaying since before we had the term cosplay, and a few of my costumes have had Lolita influences. I'm well-known for my "Lolita Captain America" costume which was one of the stock images used by news agencies to cover the New York Comic Con.
CB: I act, I write plays, I direct and produce (Sometimes all at once, Ed Wood style!) In the past I performed in lots of Off Broadway and Off-Off Broadway shows, and did bit parts in movies and TV shows, but the last few years I prefer to perform in projects that I write and produce myself. I'll usually write in a role that I intend to play.
I'm currently writing the "Fallout Lore" webseries for Shoddycast.com, and I have a play reading at the Penny Arcade Expo in Boston in April. The play is a romantic comedy about a married couple trapped in a bomb shelter built for one. It's called "That Cute Radioactive Couple".
I'm also planning a production of a new play called "The Astonishing Adventures of All-American Girl & The Scarlet Skunk" for later this year.
|(Defeating the Red Skull)|