Boomslank Artist Spotlight: Kristen Lowe
Imagine if you could, a trip to a convention. Ah yes when you woke up this morning you figured it would be just another con, probably like many you have attended before. You jump out of your mom’s minivan, grab your pre-ordered badge, walk through the doors to find…..everyone in normal clothes. That’s right, a con without cosplay. If you are anything like me that exercise probably hurt your head. Cosplay is so integral to cons, that a complete con day could consist of taking pictures of cosplayers, and nothing more. For this edition of the Boomslank Artist Spotlight, I had the privilege of speaking with a young lady whose passion it is to keep this tradition alive and well.
Photo by Henry Kwong (Henrickson)
Kristen Lowe is a talented 21 year old currently pursuing an illustration major at the Ontario College of Art and Design. As you can see in this sample of her work, she has quite the dexterity for art, be it cosplay or illustration. Being naive, I naturally expected her illustrations to reflect her love of anime as well. After she educated me in the nature of university art programs, and what is expected in one’s portfolio, I asked her if more programs should do more to cater to the growing anime art landscape.
“I think that schools should definitely do more to include anime culture in art education. It's so hugely influential in the illustration scene, I think it would be great to have a course available as an elective for interested students! As far as I'm aware most big art universities are lacking in that aspect…”
When I asked Kristen why she believed cosplay was very vital to the anime community, she took a brief pause and then….
“The way that I see cosplay is, that it’s a testament of love or passion for a certain character or series. I feel like when I dress up in cosplay and go to a convention that I am sharing that passion with others… I also feel privileged to get to see everyone else in their cosplays.”
A fitting response from someone who has been living the cosplay life from the young age of 14. After a good friend introduced her to anime and she made a trip to her first convention, the rest as they say, is history.
Though her passion is for cosplay, she has found herself unable to put as much time into it due to a heavy school load. As a result she is only able to take on commissions without actually getting to cosplay herself.
“I love making cosplays for other people and living vicariously through that, but I really miss out on the social aspect of cosplaying, which I would say is one of the most important and rewarding parts.”
As a true cosplayer, Kristen continually stresses that cosplay also defines a community of people with a true love for what they do. It is not enough to put together a brilliant piece, you have to share it with others to make the cosplay complete.
On what the cosplay game has become over the years, Kristen accepts that doing well at a con contest (say that twice as fast!) is not just about having a good looking cosplay, but also about putting on a good performance on stage. That said, contestants can do more to keep their performance true to the characters they are representing. I personally would like to see masquerade contest be more like fashion shows, but I can abide the skits if they are relevant.
While Kristen continues work on completing her degree, she is already looking forward to getting back in the game. She currently has her eyes set on Princess Midna of Legend of Zelda, Twilight Princess, Ryuko Matoi of Kill La Kill, and Sayaka from Madoka Magica.
It was a pleasure speaking with Kristen, as it is with all the artists out there that proudly live their passion for anime. The industry certainly wouldn’t be the same without you. We hope Kristen and all other artists continue to provide us with the fuel we need to keep our Otaku motors running. You are strongly encouraged to keep tabs on her in the links below.
Deviant Art - http://kaizenian.deviantart.com
Photo by Henry Kwong (Henrickson)