Art comes in different mediums and the Muse is as fickle as they come when inspiration strikes. Some pick up the proverbial pen and write while others pick up a stylus and draw. While still others create tangible costumes of characters we'd like to be. To be able to a combination of these talents is an awesome thing...one such person is GingerAnneLondon ...read on to find out more about her wonderful talents.
First tell us about you... what you want us to know about you
This is a bit tough for me since there is so much about me that I would need to write a novel in order to explain it all. I'll start by saying I'm an artist who loves to express myself in every way I can. Whether it be through costume, music, writing, acting or illustration. I'm always keeping myself busy and currently for my career I've been focused on a novel series titled Phoenix, which has been picked up by some top New York City publishing companies. As much as I love cosplay and illustration, it is only a taste of what my mind has to offer within my own imagination and storytelling. I just want to bring characters and story to life through every way I can and writing as my career choice has been a blessing to me. Anything else is a hobby that I enjoy and take great pleasure in doing to help bring some color to our world.
As a person, I believe in respecting others as you would choose to be respected or treated. Adventure, travel, dreaming big and working hard on a project or goal is what I live for. I love facing life in all that it gives, either it be pain, sadness, love and happiness. It's all worth experiencing while living upon this physical plain. Life's too short. Make the best of it, I always say. Being an artist in this world is the greatest blessing I could ever ask for. It's the hardest to make a living in when it comes to career, but to a true artist, it is not money that drives us, it is our passion to show the world something special and make it a better place.
The work in your gallery is absolutely amazing! Tell us about your favorite art pieces.
My favorite piece would have to be (Julius). I took great pleasure in creating that work and he's a villain in my novel series. The details in his jaw and teeth taught me a lot when doing such a style of painting and helped me later on understand how to do future pieces. I learned a lot of interesting techniques and watched as my character stared back at me, the more I brought him to life. I found that magical.
What software do you use? How long does it take to complete a piece?
I use Photoshop CS5 and the Cintiq 22" HD Tablet for drawing. I used to use my old bamboo Wacom tablet with only 250 pressure points, but since then, I have upgraded and it's been wonderful. But depending on how much detail goes into a piece, it can take up to one to three days to complete a full illustration.
You've done a lot of artwork and cosplay for Hellsing. What's the draw?
Hellsing by Kouta Hirano was a fantastical manga. I am not a huge vampire fan but it was his strong female character, Sir Integra Hellsing, that attracted me mostly to it. The dark magical elements were just a little treat to what I loved most about it. I enjoy acting and created a web series based off his characters about two years ago where I performed as Sir Integra Hellsing with my fiancée Michela Dee and a couple buddies of mine. I wrote and directed the show which was a spin-off of my own thoughts behind the characters and story of Hirano's tale. I wanted to bring them to life in a more realistic way. As a writer and director, I enjoyed British comedy growing up. Since the original characters are based in London, I decided to make my spin off, Hellsing HQ, a British comedy-styled web show. With that came a lot of photos since I worked on the show for an entire year doing the editing, costuming, traveling to multiple conventions and with that, it took off. I guess it really made me happy during some dark times I was going through and I remember laughing a lot when working on the show. That is what kept me focused on that, filling my pages with Hirano's characters and art.
You're both artist and cosplayer. Do you prefer one over the other? Why?
I've always been an artist since I could pick up a crayon as a kid. It came natural to me to wish to bring what manifested within my mind out onto paper. Illustration was more my focus throughout my entire life and I had wanted to make it my career until I got heavily into writing. I struggled with English a lot growing up, so I had to take extra classes to learn to become a better writer. But when it came to art, it was far easier to master than my writing. When I turned twenty two, I got into cosplay. A friend of mine asked me if I wanted to go. This was something I thought I could express myself in another artistic form. Through dressing up like characters I admired, made it feel more like an escape than anything else. I could be whoever I wanted and only on Halloween could I have done this regularly before. Cosplay will always be a hobby to me. Since I love to act and perform, cosplay fed that desire within me so that I could enjoy more of the creative world in full. Illustration on the other hand is far greater in my life and I could never live without it. If it meant me dropping cosplay to save myself from losing my illustration gifts, I would let cosplay go in that case since it's only a hobby, while illustration I feel I could use in multiple ways throughout my life as both a healing and career-based skill.
Your cosplay is wonderfully detailed and perfect. Have you received awards and recognition for them?
Years ago when I first started cosplaying, I would go on stage and write comedic skits in order to perform and make people laugh or entertain them. Most of these performances were judged and awards were given. I did win a lot of awards for my work. Mostly "fan favorite" or "Judges Awards". But what mattered most to me were the performing aspects of being on stage that gave me such a high that I became addicted to it. I eventually stopped performing because I was getting older and since most of the performances were competitive, I didn't enjoy the drama that followed. So I stopped and shared my work through video online where there were no competitions or awards to matter.
Who's your favorite character to cosplay? Why?
I would have to say Utena Tenjou, because the character I feel I most relate with over any character. Her personality and strong masculine, yet feminine features and stance are everything I felt I could relate to. Utena Tenjou from Revolutionary Girl Utena is truly a unique character. Romantic and charming storytelling has been passed down since the beginning of time of how a princess searches for her prince and vice versa. But in this story, it is about the girl wanting to become the prince and with that, it truly captured my heart and soul. When I cosplay Utena, I feel a part of myself come out more and it is a magical feeling.
What's the most challenging thing about cosplay? About your artwork?
For cosplay, it's challenging when preparing for a convention. Trying to balance responsibilities, like work, school, bills, family, etc. can take its toll on you. The expenses for making a costume can be both tiresome and can drain your pockets fast. Sometimes I go further as to work out and strengthen my body in order to prepare myself to hold swords and armor for days during a convention. Sometimes if I crossplay or the character has a smaller body frame, I do try to work out more in order to build muscle for men or lean out for females. Just so that my costumes can fit smoothly, showing the curves or body frame that the character may hold. I am one for health and fitness, so starving is out of the question but there’s no harm in a good workout or two in order to prepare for a role or character. It's a part of bringing them to life, like any actress in Hollywood would know.
As for my artwork, I feel it's getting the inspiration to sit down and work that is challenging most to me. I have to truly love what I am painting. Then it's trying to pull me away from the screen that becomes the problem. I can work for whole days straight and sometimes stay up without sleep. It becomes unhealthy really, to where my fiancée has to find a way to get me away from the tablet so that I can eat, shower and sleep. Those are some of my challenges as an illustrative artist.
Do you have advice/tips for fellow artists and cosplayers?
Keep doing what you love no matter what anyone says. If you are a cosplayer, know that not everyone is perfect and that we are all talented in our own way. Never judge anyone for their skills, just motivate, inspire and share your work and your ideas to the world. As artists, we are all here to shine in our own way. Focus on your dreams and reach for them. If you pay attention to what others are doing too much, you can lose track of who you are and what you are supposed to do. You can lose track of your own talents and waste them away. Don't let others stop you from your creative dreams. Dream big! Work hard and over time, you'll gain what you need to become a great artist who has the power to change the world. You were blessed with an imagination, so use it and use it wisely!
Is there anything you'd like to highlight or add to this?
I believe I have covered it all. Thank you for this interview and I hope I was able to answer your questions well.
Skin by Immerot