19 diciembre 2018

Being Goth in Venezuela #1: Lay Black

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Read in Spanish

Some time ago I was working on a project to show what it's like to be Goth in Venezuela. Due to various complications, the project was left behind and almost forgotten, but I recovered the interviews I did at the time and hope that each of them gives you an idea of how we are like the Venezuelan goths.
Source: Sent by Lay Black
The  firs interview is with Lay Black, a Venezuelan illustrator and comic artist whose name and work has been playing on the networks for quite some time. I confess that I'm a fan of her work, especially the digital daughter she told me about in this interview. I invite you to meet them!

1. For you, what is it to be Goth? When did you notice that you identified with the Gothic subculture?

Well, "Goth" covers too many things, focusing more on the subculture as such, Anne Rice showed me the beautiful world of vampirism, The Cure their enigmatic sound and aesthetics and as I discovered more I realized how comfortable I felt relating to all of this. I don't consider myself Goth in its purest style, I feel I couldn't place myself in those parameters, I'm more a mixture of different tastes that range from a dark aesthetic or half cyberpunk to the Transmopolitan (Warren Ellis comic) to a great diversity of musicals tastes that include the Jazz of Cab Calloway or the Acid Folk of Cocorosie.

2. How did you find out that you wanted to dedicate yourself to art?

Well, I started in the art world since I was little, in addition to my conventional classes in elementary and high school, I always spent part of my time drawing and improving my stroke. When I went to college, although I expected to start an artistic career directly, I started studying Psychology, a branch that is also an important part of me and that in one way or another I implement in my work. In spite of all the classes, art was always there, until I decided that that was what I had to dedicate to myself from the beginning. I started in a college studying Graphic Design, realizing that the classes were not what I expected, I decided to become completely freelancer and study everything I really needed to learn on my own with the help of my husband, who's also an artist, and I must say that it was the best decision I could make. Together we have our own company, we are dedicated to the art and development of video games, and I'm working on several projects in the area of ​​comics.

3. Who influence you as an artist?

Source.
This is a difficult question, but I think that my main influence in the world of comics, in which I develop the most, has been Jhonen Vásquez. Since I read his first comics as Johnny Homicidal Maniac or I Feel Sick, I was very inspired, then I got to know the great work of David Firth, Roman Dirge, Jonathan Ian Mathers, and the incredible Tales from the Crypt comic among many other works and it was all a complement, I felt that this is where I would like to be, so I adapted my ideas and developed my own style, my own stories, and little by little I learned more and defined my own style much better.

4. Where is Frida Mortem born? How did you choose that name?

Frida is born of an idea to show that, as her tagline says, there are laughters in the dark, and this can be interpreted in many ways. In the case of Frida, she's a girl who likes to play with subjects and situations that few dare to touch, someone who, despite all the bad and difficult situations that she has had to live at her young age, seeks the way of being happy in her own way, in the company of allies who constantly help her to stay ahead and see the fun in the absurd. Frida's name derives from her own personality, she is very enigmatic and cold (Fría, in Spanish), so I decided to name her "Frida", it makes sense for my haha, besides I was looking for a strong name, to combine with her and be different. Her last name comes from my fascination with post-mortem photographs, something that has confused the fans a lot thinking that she is dead haha, but I have already clarified this several times.

5. What response have you received from the public, have they received Frida well?

Source.
Oh yes! It has been a wonderful reception since the first year, many people wrote to me saying that they loved the work, I was very excited when very popular pages like Mundo Sobrenatural (Supernatural World), one of the largest paranormal content pages in Latin America, noticed her and contacted me, then Frida became very popular in Mexico calling attention to a large Mexican animation company such as Ánima Estudios, having participated in one of their contests, was in second place among more than 200 projects, I really feel very proud of it and all that she has achieved so far.

6. Honestly, I haven't seen more characters like Frida, do you think she will become a Gothic icon of Venezuela?

I would love that, here in Venezuela she has her fans despite the fact that the Mexican public's the biggest, I have met with fans in the street who tell me they love Frida and they ask me for pictures or they give me their fanarts, it gives me a bit of shame, haha, I didn't expect it and when it happens sometimes I don't know what to say but it's fantastic all that support and it encourages me to continue with the project.

7. Once you were asked about Frida's religion and you said that she is a Wiccan. Have you included the religious theme in any way or do you plan to touch it later?

Yes, that's right, Frida is Wiccan like me, and she's not afraid of talking about it in the cartoons or even celebrate it like anyone who has a belief. Magic is an important part of her life and her adventures, something that will be much more marked in the volumes that I'm writing.

8. Could we say that Frida reflects the day to day of Goths? At the national level, perhaps?

Source.
Frida is a mixture of allegories and situations taken to extremes to highlight that crazy and sly touch of society, black humor, that's what she really seeks to reflect, in addition to the different emotions that rarely dominate her and take her to moments that sometimes she doesn't even know how to control, so she can connect with anyone who thinks differently and accepts that sometimes it is healthy to laugh at situations in which others would never imagine doing it.

9. Will there be more Frida Morten projects besides her participation in Facebook?

Yes, in fact I'm working on the first full volume which, will finally tell all the origins of Frida and all her colleagues. It's a work that I hope will come to light this year* as I know that it is highly anticipated by her fans. This touches much more delicate issues and I try to find a way to play them very carefully, I will also develop much more the personality of each of the characters and will give the fans a better understanding of their behavior and why such different beings coexist together in one roof.

Support Lay Black
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* This interview was conducted in 2017, before Lay Black moved to Colombia. Don't stop supporting this girl to see this and more projects done!

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