The Australian artist Ry-Spirit unleashes a plethora of video game and manga, anime or tokusatsu heroes, escaped from his childhood dreams and memories. Not afraid to cherish his fanart roots, he manages to extend and tap into visual equivalents of fanfic or creative writing categories that push the limits and boundaries of initial original series or narratives.
In your portfolio on deviantART, there is a folder with illustrations, named “Childhood Favorites Month”. What can you tell us about this theme and which superhero do you like the most from your childhood?
Ah, I have this monthly theme that I like to do on deviantART, where I dedicate a month (usually lasting longer than it should!) to a certain theme. I had Zelda Month, Pokemon Month, Underwater Creatures Month, Gods and Demons Month, and for the Childhood Favorites Month I have drawn characters I liked as a kid, such as Anpanman, Kamen Rider (aka Masked Rider in America), Doraemon, Ultraman etc. My favorite superheroes would have to be the Kamen Riders. It was my favorite TV show when I was young; they just look so cool and powerful and unique.
Your art also has many video classic characters, from Link to Mario, Donkey Kong, Sonic, Mega Man… What is your favorite game, and what kind of influence do games have on your work and why?
I loved so many games, oh gosh… Metal Gear Solid, Crash Bandicoot, Donkey Kong… but my childhood favorite game would have to be the Pokemon series, no doubt. And yes, games have a HUGE influence on my work because I grew up with them, I never had any siblings or too many friends coming over to my house, so I spent a lot of time in front of the TV playing games; games were my friends… and even like my siblings. (Yes my life is pretty sad).
You have many fan-arts of Pokemon; what does this anime mean to you?
This anime is pretty much my childhood, really. I still remember the first time I saw Pikachu on TV and thought ‘Oh this yellow rabbit thing is cute, also why is there anime on my Australian TV screen?’, then eventually I started playing the games and watching more of the series and fell in love with it. I still love it; I like how the series hasn’t changed too much either throughout its 15 years life span. The series also has a lot of positive themes and messages that children can follow, I love that. In fact I would go as far as to say that Pokemon has made me a better person. I like to be honest and treat everyone equally, as well as making new friends along the way on my journey to become the very best… that no one ever was.
It looks like you took a liking to “The Adventure Time”; why is that?
LOL yes I did! Adventure Time was recommended to me by my friends on deviantART, actually. We talk a lot on this group chat thing, and we always share stuff we like. So when my 14 years old friend recommends a cartoon show, I just have to check it out. So I went out and bought the DVD because I don’t have paid channels, and I immediately fell in love with the series; the humor was spot on, and the animation style was very colorful and unique. I cannot get enough of the show. It is so good.
You switched from traditional art to the graphic tablet, but your drawings still retain a hand-drawn feeling. Do you like it more, or is it easier to draw with it?
Actually I draw quite differently traditionally and digitally, even though my digital artworks look hand-drawn. It’s kinda odd. My traditional drawings consist of more solid lining, while my digital ones are more sketchy and rough-looking. And what is even more annoying is that, to be honest, my digital art style takes longer than average compared to other ‘digital art’ styles. Usually, when you mention digital art to a non-artist, they would probably think of the traditional anime style, where there’s a certain gradient color or cel-shading etc. And no disrespect to that art style – if done correctly, it can look very impressive; however, I have taken a liking to this brushy painterly art style that I have adapted from an artist I admire, called Cuson. He actually literally taught me how to draw digitally with a graphic tablet. And I have stuck with this style that fans have grown to recognize me with.
What is fan-art to you and why did you take the decision to venture in this “realm”?
I think fan art is a way of showing appreciation for something you like, while giving it your own views and adaptation. I just love doing it; you also get to meet many other fans of the shows and have great conversations with them, a fact that usually leads to friendship being bonded. It’s fantastic. In a way, it’s like at the comic and anime conventions, where people dress up as their favorite cartoon characters, or people writing fan fictions about the shows they like; I pretty much do the same thing, only that I’m doing it through art.
Tell us about your next project…
I have been working on stories and ideas for a comic I wanna do. I have wanted to do a comic for years, but never took the time to actually do it. But now I really wanna start it before I get bored of it (I don’t want it to end before it begins), and might even ask around for people to work with me on this, because I know comic would require lots of work and, realistically, I really am just one artist. Either way, expect more artworks from me on my deviantART or Facebook or Tumblr while waiting for this possible comic book that may or may not happen.