Tuesday, November 19, 2013

20 Facts About Me

So I got tagged by a friend on Facebook to write facts about myself, and I've seen it going around on everyone's posts. I filled one out, and thus I also thought to post it here since they're really more about who I am and what I really do beyond cosplay.
  1.  I subconsciously think I’m eternally 17, and I apologize to anyone in the past if I’ve ever seamlessly said, “Oh, I’m 17!” I’ve been doing that every year after being 17, and I think it’s just me really just liking that age number. I’ve been carded before for saying this by accident. 
  2. My real name is Alexandra, but I’ve gone by Kagura as a nickname since I was 12 when it stuck in middle school after Fruits Basket came out. Ironically, I don’t know if I really have Kagura’s personality much, but she was also my first cosplay then too. I’ve come to love her personality more now than before as the manga made her more of a complicated person. I really love my real name though too, and I don’t usually go by Alex because that’s my brother’s name.
  3.  I’ve been cosplaying for almost 10 years, and consider the past 5 of them really focused on actual garment construction. The past years before, I basically was modifying clothing and though I rarely got commissioned items, I would try really hard to ghetto sew. It worked for appearances but I wanted to get better and really learn.
  4.  I don’t really tell people often what I’m studying, but I’m a game design major. I got inspired while working on a project that’s opened to me a whole new world of experiences. I’m transferring to a design college early next year as well to further my studies and networking, and am hoping to do more supplementary work in London in the future.
  5.  I have a huge addiction to Japanese visual novels. I’ve loved them since I was really young and confused them for anime. I’ve gotten chances to work on some projects to help and learn how to do digital illustration CG's and script work. I have my own small circle currently, and am hoping that together we can grow and push new ideas and projects in the future.
  6. I secretly obsess about Sailormoon fanfiction, and I have since I was about 15. I’ve never written any though, just love to read it! My absolute favorite is Usagi x Mamoru, which is my ideal dream OTP.
  7. I previously worked at a costume house for the film industry for a short but amazing period of time. During my time there, I was able to work on several projects and meet several film costume designers. I got to handle some classic film costumes that to this day, leave me in a surreal and grateful place.
  8.  I’m terrified of most horror movies -  I can’t even be near a TV that’s playing Jurassic Park (not even horror xD), but I adore the Alien series. I really don't know why, and I find Facehuggers absolutely adorable.
  9. Anything I cook explodes. I’m so terrible and clumsy at cooking or chemistry. At one point, my chemistry teacher told me to hand the tube to someone else while I did the calculations.
  10. I just think Europe is the place I should be at, somewhere there. I adore everything about European cultures, and hopefully I’d love to go travel and be inspired.
  11. My dream is to eventually work hard enough to compete in the World Cosplay Summit. I love cosplay, and I love the idea of being part of something that unites countries together creatively.
  12. I love classic literature and British period films. My first piece was David Copperfield when I was 10 because Daniel Radcliffe was in one of the film versions of it.
  13. I’m terrible with spoilers. I get so impatient that I spoil movie endings and shows. I also do that because I tend to get very anxious and sensitive about what I watch. Ironically, this doesn't apply to anime, but live-action violence sometimes gets to me, so I make sure it's something I can deal with.
  14. I love automatons and dolls. I think they’re fascinating, and a lot of my inspiration comes from them. And I absolutely love mannequins. I have a dress form I named Ema Heshire or Emy, after the mannequin from the film, Mannequin. (Mannequinception!)
  15. I have a homemade collage of Christian Bale magazine over my bed. It’s so outdated with The Dark Knight and Terminator Salvation photos, but I refuse to take it down. <3 
  16.  My favorite topics are usually about anything on psychology or surrealism. I’ve been a huge fan of David Lynch movies for a long time and my favorite anime of all time is Shoujo Kakumei Utena. I saw it when I was really young, but even then, I know I understood it. It’s a part of me now. I also like studying alchemy symbolism during my breaks at work. I’ve been fond also about the psychology of myths and fairy tales, and often read Jung or Von-Franz in the back room at work. 
  17.  I’m a self-taught graphic designer of 8 years, and consider myself as a trans-media artist since I like to blend all kinds of art into my work. I’ve been drawing for way longer than that too. 
  18. I’ve played the violin for over 10 years. I constantly practice and also compose my own solos and songs. I've performed and recorded before for some of my friend's local band events, and got the chance to be in their music video. My violin is actually a 200-year old custom Italian violin I named Constantine (Yeah, after the Keanu Reeves movie.).
  19. I have a huge obsession and love for Italo disco. My father introduced Italo disco to me when I was about 9, and since then I’ve seen some older bands live like Trans-X, collected and mixed dozens of songs, hear fantasy radios, and even now have my own Jupiter 8V, Cubase, and Arturia software to make my own. I dream of making my own Italo disco group and play at a crazy underground Italian disco club.
  20.  Arthurian Mythology is another huge part of my life. I love King Arthur and he is the basis of a lot of my allegorical artwork. I secretly think that I was Morgan le Fay in a past life. 

I think these help sum up quite a bit about me. More recently, I don't really go and share a whole lot other than cosplay photos and the occasion, "Oh my gosh, my homework is getting to me." moments, even on Facebook.
I don't really think I noticed how many different types of artsy things I like to do, I suppose. I once listened to a seminar by graphic designer April Greiman once for my graphic design class, and I not only loved her work but also felt that the term, "trans-media artist" really applies to me too. If I'm not doing one artistic thing a day, I find yet another.

When I was about 10/11, I had a teacher who really encouraged me to write down my stories. She and I still keep in contact, and she's seen a lot of my more recent work and what I'm studying, and she's pretty happy I found my way back to writing. I've kept a good record of the stories and ideas I have and it grows everyday.I love the research and inspiration part too. My friends also have great ideas, so we often sit and talk together and help one another. One of my close childhood friends is also studying creative writing after all those years of us bouncing ideas together.

I've been playing the violin since I was 12, and from there got to learn a bit more about other instruments like some basic piano, knowing the viola, and trying out the trumpet. When I was a kit, I really loved classical music. I listened to it for hours daily, and when I saw my local middle school's orchestra perform on Incoming Student Night, I immediately signed up. I'm the winner of the National School Orchestra Award for my high school too, which is still a huge honor for me.

My brother is also a drummer and plays flute, and then my younger sister is starting the piano soon. I know how to compose and transliterate music as well. I've worked with Finale for years and love adapting music to play solos or small groups. I even used to be in a small anime music quartet, except we were all students so it was a learning process.

I started graphic designing for little anime sites when I was about 14 and had started high school. It was a great hobby to have and I would spend my weekends working on something while jugglign AP classes. I moved on more towards helping school projects, local businesses, charity events, and musical sites shortly after high school. I still design, but it is more for my projects and also whenever I end up getting a burst of creative freetime to make a new wallpaper.

I started drawing since I was really little, but I don't think I really got super into it the way I am now till I was about 10/11. Right in middle school, I often drew for my classmates and then eventually that's also when anime became an even bigger part of my life and hobbies than before when I was just watching some shows. I began to practice more, and one of my friend's had a really talented older sister that inspired me too. 

In high school, I began dancing more too and learned Para Para. It's pretty easy to do, and I followed a lot of routines on Youtube from the old games and training videos. It ended up being a regular thing for a while, and while I still do it, I feel like I only can at the moment. I think the ability to perform however has helped encourage me to perform dances for skits, and I occasionally still hold panels.

I don't think anyone technically foresaw me making costumes as a huge part of my life. When I was 12, I saw an ad for Anime Los Angeles online when it was going to be first held, but they had then pushed it a year later for more time. I waited and remembered, and the very first time I went there, my family was confused but I was totally digging it. I went back on Saturday with my middle school friend Sara, and we had a pretty fun day getting to know the con, buy swag, and see all the amazing cosplayers. It inspired me to cosplay the very next year, and it became a reoccuring hobby for me to bring friends and go have fun.

From there, I really got into cosplaying because it was a pretty unique art. Granted, I was afraid of the sewing machine (an embarrassing truth) for a few years first, so I would modify things little by little, and my Kagura cosplay was commissioned by a family member. I also used to only have 1 wig, which was my pink Utena wig that I used for several other cosplays (except really Utena).

And then probably getting older in late high school, I began actually working on some of my cosplays a bit more, learning more how to sew, and actually try harder. It was a great way to also escape some of the harder times of my life back then. One summer, I just had a moment where I felt pressured to make a choice before entering senior year, so I thought because I loved cosplay, I could become a fashion designer.

It was a great idea, and it transformed into wanting to become a film costume designer. I went to college for a year and a half for it, but after my father passed away and my life was very confusing, I figured out that I lvoed costumes and cosplay, but as a hobby. I was a good student, but something was missing.

When I began getting my current circle of friends, they inspired me creatively to pursue game design, which I think is a way better fit for me and all the hard work I've put throughout the years. As an awesome byproduct, I think it also helped me see cosplay and costuming as more a hobby and has allowed it t bloom in its own way. Even as a hobby, I think it's opened so many doors for me emotionally, socially, and even professionally. It's kind of surprising that maybe just under three years ago, it was a hobby I wouldn't really talk about with people unless you were familiar with it. Nowadays, it's someting that my family members and people I know and work with are supportive of, and it means a whole lot to me.

I think cosplay in my life needed a purpose, so that's why I compete in some ways, but more than anything, it's about showcasing my art. I adore cosplay as being a way to globally communicate with others, and it's allowed me to make true and valuable friends and learn life's lessons along the way.

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