Me: Who are you and what do you do?
Dashi: I want to start out by letting you know how honored I am to be interviewed in this fashion! Thank you so much for having me and being interested in my work! To give you a quick summary of myself; I’ve been prowling the internet under the name Dashiana/Dashi for a while. I’m a twenty-something-year-old game artist with a passion towards things cute, pink and sparkly! While maintaining an office job at a fairly large game studio, I run what I consider an aspiring lifestyle brand, Princess Koneko-Chan, during my free-time.
Me: Why do you do what you do?
Dashi: My chosen mediums of self expression have always been drawing and writing. Drawing even more so, since I consider myself a very visual person. I’ve never really stopped to consider why, most likely because, like to many others who draw or write, creative output has grown into a second nature. Neil Gaiman’s “Everybody has a secret world inside of them” also comes to mind, whenever I get asked something along these lines. Drawing is how I explore mine.
Me: How do you work?
Dashi: My working process, be it drawing or writing, is always laced with gallons of green tea and
long walking breaks with my dog. As far as the actual drawing process is concerned, majority of my work starts out as a wonky pencil sketch on a small sketch pad I keep with me at all times, should inspiration strike unexpectedly. And when I sketch, I’m usually not too concerned with proportions, perspectives or anything that falls under the “neat and well thought of” umbrella. This is mainly because I feel composition is the key ingredient to all great art – and because my sketches always end up completely reconstructed in Photoshop CC. Or alternatively, Paint Tool SAI, which I use a lot with my Koneko-Chan related art.
Me: How did the creation of Koneko-chan happen?
Dashi: I’m always extremely enthusiastic to answer any and every question about Koneko-Chan, so thank you so much for asking!
To give a quick summary, I’m going to quote one of my previous interviews and say that Koneko-Chan is a fierce monster princess from her head to her feet, even if her face is full of teeth! She is a self-proclaimed princess, who loves everything cute – often with a side of creepy. She is striving to be the “Barbie” of creepy and cute, and enjoys sporting all sorts of different fashions and professions. She adamantly believes you can make your shortcomings into your strong points, and become anything you aspire to be. So she became a princess! She is also a firm believer in the power of pink and likes to wear all sorts of things, including (but not limited to) dresses and lingerie to show her fellow monsters that there’s a lot of positive power in things that are traditionally considered feminine.
Her creation was actually very organic, in a sense that it happened slowly over time. When I was still attending Upper Secondary School, I was heavily invested into comics and drew a bunch of my own. My favorite one to draw at the time was one about a monster hunter, who ran a Hotel in the middle of a gothic fantasy land. Koneko-Chan, a supporting character, was a regular guest at this hotel, and had a huge crush on the main character. The comic never made it past page 15, but Koneko-Chan kept showing up in my sketchpads very regularly long after I shelved the comic.
|Koneko and Friends|
When I graduated from Upper Secondary, I got acquainted with Japanese street fashion – which to this day, is one of my biggest inspirations! However, back then, I felt like I was never this-or-that enough to wear any of it, so Koneko-Chan became the mannequin for all my fashion dreams. I used draw her sporting lolita and gyaru inspired outfits, as well as donning different seifukus and cosplaying as various characters. In the light of how much confidence I have gained since, in retrospect, she kind of helped me through a very awkward phase in my life where I was very insecure about myself.
I hope I can pass the positivity forward and she can help other people gain confidence as well!
Me: What is your dream project?
|Koneko and Friends Chibi|
Dashi: I consider Koneko-Chan my dream project. She is something I feel deeply and passionately about, and delivering new content to the gnawesome audience she has garnered is the best part of my week! I consider it both a huge privilege and honor to influence, and to be influenced by, such an amazing group of people. I like to refer to Koneko-Chan’s fans as the monster royalty, because in my books, people who are willing to give Koneko-Chan the time of day, are nowhere short of being regal.
My dream projects within this dream project would be to expand the universe around Koneko-Chan! I’d love to develop her into a Hello Kitty/Emily the Strange/Ruby Gloom type of a character based lifestyle brand, as well as expand the creepy cute kingdom around her with new characters and places. Maybe one day, she will gain the status of a creepy cute “Barbie” she dreams of being!
Me: Does Koneko-chan have anything to say towards her fans?
Dashi: Koneko is ultimately, as the story of her creation might suggest, about self-acceptance and self-empowerment. She encourages monsters of every gender and age to embrace their inner bad-ass princess or prince, and treat themselves like the monster royalty they are! Be glad, be rad, and take no bullshit!