What’s going on heroes? Happy Friday, today Arcanekani Cosplay came through the cafe and we had a blast. I ran into him back at Katsucon and I made it a mission to sit down and chat with him. Misson accomplished, to say the least, so sit back and enjoy.
1. What were you like growing up? What were some of the things you were into as a child/teenager?
I was an odd combination of the nerdy/cool kid (though mostly on the nerdy side). It was easy for me to be quiet, but I had no issues making people laugh. My neighborhood was fairly rough, but things like great friends, video games, Legos, and chess really kept me out of my fair share of (serious) trouble.
2.Did those things influence who you’re today?
Oh, absolutely. I still keep in touch with a few of my childhood friends – not as much as I’d like, but the struggles of adulthood are real. I’m still very much into the same things! I’m actually pretty salty that Legos got as popular as they did – I was waiting for them to get cheaper, but alas. The connections I made through those mediums really helped to shape who I am now, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.
3. What was it like working with Grand Artifice on making the Harvester exosuit aliens? Looking at the picture Grand posted, it looks amazing.
Working with Grand Artifice is pure joy. This level of creation is well beyond my means, but I’ve learned so, so much in such a short time thanks to him. Not only that, but he’s really good peoples. Hanging out with him has been an absolute blast and I’m definitely looking forward to our future sessions/projects!
4. Your Ruby Rhod is a cosplay I know you from the most. What was it about that character that stuck with you.
Ah, Mr. Rhod! Joyce “Lystrade” Cosplay actually needs a lot of love, because she’s the one that actually made both body pieces for me! The quality of work is seriously next level, and if anyone deserves praise, it’s her! As for me, Ruby Rhod was one of those cosplays that everyone rode me about for years. While he’s not my favorite cosplay (it takes a LOT of energy to keep up with his persona), he’s always a blast to wear. Ruby is more for the fans than me, personally. Seeing people light up the way they do, their reactions coupled with our interactions? Man, that’s good shit. Bringing people joy like that for just being in character is just great, and it’s obvious that The Fifth Element has touched a lot of people. I’m glad to bring the smiles and laughs out the way Ruby Rhod does.
5.What is one thing you love about the cosplay community?
Mmmm… the cosplay community is a big question. See, I’ve always felt mostly on the outskirts of this community (it doesn’t help that I’m constantly told that I have the male equivalent of RBF and that I come off as unapproachable). While some of my cosplays are very popular and widely received by the internet (Reddit), most people don’t know the man (Arcanekani) behind the costume.
I don’t really have any expectations to make money from this or get super famous, so it’s interesting to watch interactions among people that ARE seeking those things out. I don’t knock ’em any, do you boo boo, but I do notice that it tends to create hostile environments of jealousy and contempt. I’m really in it for the fun of it. IF I happen to stumble across some fame, I’ll ride those waves and see where things go, but I don’t have any real motivation in marketing myself. Since I don’t partake in contests, I really do manage to stay away from the drama of it all. I’m fairly competitive by nature, but man… that all gets super ugly. Plus it’s less stress.
6.Off topic question, favorite food?
All-time favorite food is shrimp anything. I could easily go into a Bubba Gump style monolog, but you get the idea!
7.Any advice you have for black cosplayers starting out. They tend to be harassed the most by some fans at times.
Maaaan. Lemme’ tell ya’, cosplaying as a black man back in ’06 (when I started) was a different world, the crap I’d hear to my face and online, especially when I cosplayed characters that weren’t dark-skinned (Portgas D. Ace and Regal Bryant, for example) was pretty vulgar. Luckily enough I have fairly thick skin, but no one is really immune to crap like that. You really gotta’ ask yourself why you’re in it and be ready for negative criticism because it’ll come one way or another. The key is you can’t let shit like that dictate your actions because that means you’re letting them win. If you’re happy doing what you’re doing, do what you do!
8.Second off topic question, what is something you’re looking forward to this year?
😎 I have no idea when these games are supposed to actually drop, but Narita Boy and Eitr are two Indie games that really piqued my interest! Narita Boy, in its 80’s theme pixelated glory, looks amazing (it was actually my first Kickstarter back)! Eitr looks like a beautiful blend of a 3D isometric (think Diablo 2) game that meets Dark Souls (The Legend Never Dies). I’ve been keepin’ an eye out for updates on a weekly basis!
9. Favorite memory while in cosplay? I’m sure you have a few given some of the characters you wear.
Ah, man! Favorite memories! There are so many to choose from. Mmmmm. One wasn’t at a con, but it’ll always stand out! I was in New York for Halloween a number of years ago and I happened to have Hancock (Will Smith) on me – we were in the process of driving cross country. Well, I donned my homeless attire and roamed throughout New York! Let me tell ya’, it was nuts! EVERYONE thought I was Will Smith. So, so, SO many pictures and people asking for autographs. It was insane. I told people that I wasn’t him (not tryna’ forge no signatures), but the endless attention didn’t subside until I was able to change. If that’s how celebrities feel, I can completely understand them not wanting to spend too much time in the public eye!
My other one also wasn’t at a con! I was wearing my Santa Spartan around town (Christmas time). Well, this girl I somewhat knew came up to me and said her mom wanted a picture but was too shy to approach me. We went and talked her into a pic, but instead of just standing there, I hoisted her up and had her sit my shoulder for the pic (I made sure she trusted me, first. lol). A few weeks later I ran into the young girl again and she was telling me how her mom was literally gushing about that night and how it really made her weekend. There are a ton of stories, but those two just kinda’ popped right on the brain.
10.What cosplays are you currently working on?
There are a lot of cosplays on the table! Finishing up Steven Hiller (Will Smith) from the 1996 blockbuster, Independence Day, Jim West (Will Smith) from Wild Wild West, Agent J (Will Smith) from Men in Black, and Scott Ward (Will Smith) from the upcoming film, Bright (seeing a pattern here?). That’s just to name a few! I’m fairly spontaneous with my cosplays, so it’s likely to see a lot of randomness!
11.What conventions can people find you at this year?
Ah! I don’t really have a con schedule. I’ll be at Momocon, EXP Con, Dragon*Con, AFO, and hopefully MAGfest just to name a few! Cons are also random, so there’s a good chance I might randomly show up to a few! I try to keep people posted, though!
12.Final question, anything you want to say to your fans?
I just want to say thank you, truly. I’m immensely grateful to those of you, new and old, that care enough to keep up with my shenanigans and keep me engaged. I do my best to keep things interesting! Your reactions, comments, and messages really help to fuel the fire
Links as to where you can follow Arcanekani are posted above. All you have to do is click and bam that’s it. If you can please find him at a convention. I know it’s going to be hard given finding cosplayers at a con are tough in their own right but worth it.
Coming to the cafe next week is….
Kimidori Cosplay is making their debut next week. Until then, I’m still XBen3000 and I’m out!