For this spotlight, it is my great pleasure to introduce you to Rui L (aka Ravefirell). We first met her at Anime Central 2015 and were quickly pulled in by her sense of humor and clever art style. She is one of my favorite discoveries since starting the Boomslank journey, both as an artist and as a friend.
Rui is a 26 year old illustrator based in Canada, but her artistic journey began in earnest at age 6 after she won a contest at school. She took that passion to the next step, earning a degree in illustration at Sheridan College. Today she is a full time illustrator and can be found in a con artist alley on most weekends. Though she’s admittedly not a fan of traveling, she’s a con warrior through and through.
“Favorite part is seeing that no matter where you go in the world... all weebs are the same!”
Her style is very much anime inspired, drawing from her favorite shows which include One Piece, Mob Psycho 100, and My Hero Academia (she’s all about her best boys!). Similar to our very own P-Shinobi, her pieces start as pencil sketches which she scans and finishes digitally. Anime has defined her art from the start, however she found that the traditional art schooling of the time did not share her enthusiasm for it.
“....they really discouraged (it) and the professors didn't think of it as a viable option which is why I didn't really like my first 2 years…..it's hard for them to grasp that people can make a living out of anime since to them it's like the unknown.”
Sadly this seems to be the case with a lot of institutional art education. Thankfully we have recently seen a bit of an evolution in what is offered by our colleges, like growing support for E-sports and even schools that host pop culture cons. I personally am optimistic that the culture is changing.
I would say my favorite part of Rui’s art is the light heartedness of it. Her pieces have this ability to disarm you with wit, humor, and charm. Her booth is the one that stops you in your tracks as you walk through the artist alley aisles because you just saw the most hilarious Arataka Reigen print ever. I’ve always believed that good art reflects the artist’s personality, and that is certainly the case with Rui’s work.
Of course these days you will not be seeing Rui, or anyone else, at any con. As a full time artist with the bulk of her income coming from artist alley tables, she is quite anxious to get back to doing what she loves, like all of us. I was curious to hear her thoughts on the current COVID situation. Like many others, artists have been severely affected by the necessary social distancing measures. How are they coping? How are they staying motivated? Well in Rui’s case….
“I’ve been coping by playing Animal Crossing all day! You should come over to check out my island!”
Can’t say that I was exactly shocked. Along with anime, one of her other passions is gaming (hardcore Fire Emblem). She did have some wise words for some that may be perhaps a little complacent about the situation.
“I'd follow the WHOs recommendations. Your life is more important than anime conventions. I know many people are saying ‘If I die I die’ but think about it, if you die now you won't be able to go to future cons!! You'll miss out on new animes! So stay safe everyone!”
Like most other artists, Rui has definitely felt the strain of the social distancing measures, but she remains hopeful that things will soon return to normal. We all miss our cons and our artist alleys, but they are still out there and you can still find them. We encourage you to check Rui out on the outlets below, and I’m confident you will be pleasantly surprised.