Monkey-AME, in their own words

June 17th, 2010
By

When I first got the idea to catch up with the ladies of Monkey-AME for today’s fifth-anniversary edition of Cel Shaded, I knew there was one person I needed to get in touch with: Rachael Ing, one of my Twitter followers and someone who’s figured several times into the recent history of local anime/manga journalism. She was one of my interview subjects in what arguably was one of the prototypes for Cel Shaded, a profile of MangaBento as part of the Star-Bulletin’s preview coverage for the first Kawaii Kon in 2005; a year later, she was also interviewed by current Daily Disher Cat Toth as part of the Advertiser’s Kawaii Kon 2006 preview.

Rachael was very receptive to the idea, and quite helpful in getting material from some of the other Monkey-AME members, to boot. By the time I started writing the column, I had four e-mails packed full of updates. I tried to pull out the highlights for today’s column, but there was just too much good stuff to leave on the cutting room floor. Presented here are those biographical blurbs, edited slightly for content and style but otherwise left uncut.

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From Rachael Ing: “I’m attending the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. At first I was going to major in photography or animation, but I ended up choosing visual development (a type of illustration) in my second year. I’ll be graduating in Spring 2011 after four years. I was fearful of majoring in art before due to lack of confidence and concern about jobs after graduation. Being able to talk about these concerns with friends who are going down a similar path is invaluable.

“I have to admit, a major bonus that comes with going to school on the mainland is being able to attend several anime conventions a year. Each has a very different atmosphere, and it’s great seeing how diverse and creative con-goers can be.

“I have no long-term job goals in mind; I just get through the months project by project. Even if I end up not doing illustration as an occupation, drawing is something I will still continue to do. The list of personal projects I would like to accomplish is never-ending.

“Regarding the group: Monkey-AME’s last collaborative project was in 2007. As our members became more involved with college classes, we’ve had less time for group and personal projects. We still communicate online and have reunions in Hawaii during vacations. A few of us have begun the planning stages for our own original manga. We bounce ideas off of each other and give critique and suggestions on plot and characters. It’s a slow process, but we’re working toward something we’ve never done before, and want to create the best manga we can. If there is another collaborative release in the future, it will be under a different circle name. ‘Monkey-AME’ has collectively matured, and we’d like a new name to reflect that.”

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From Leslie Ann Kam: “blu/blubloodrazberry has just recently graduated from Cornish College of the Arts and is now trying to put a portfolio together and look for work. She attended Seattle’s 2010 Sakura Con and is planning to attend AkiCon (in Bellevue, Wash.) this fall and possibly sell some art in the artist’s alley.

“For my senior project, I created my own anime episode with characters based on the western zodiac signs such as Cancer, Libra, etc. It was a big learning process and a lot of fun. I plan to have it up on my website (lesliekam.com) for viewing soon.”

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From Jaymee Masui: “After graduating from high school, I attended the University of Hawaii for about a year and a half before transferring to Academy of Art University in San Francisco. I’m majoring in illustration and am enjoying the process of developing my drawing skills. Leaving Hawaii to go away to school on the mainland was a difficult decision for me, but I don’t think I could have progressed in any other way.

“I’ve also started going to more anime conventions on a regular basis, I think I was in Artist Alley for about five conventions from October ’09 to this May? When I look back at how the AA at Kawaii Kon used to be my only convention event, it makes me nostalgic because I remember thinking that it was impossible for me to ever attend a mainland convention.

“As far as long-term goals are concerned, my focus right now is to finish school and to work on developing my personal projects. I’m very intent on making drawing and creating my professional career, and open to the many leads that can make it a reality.”

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From Ashley Nose: “I’m Mayumi from Monkey Ame. I was born and grew up in Honolulu and graduated from Kalani High School. I’ve always enjoyed drawing since I was a kid, and continued to doodle through my early college days at Kapiolani Community College. Somewhere along the line, I decided I wanted to try my hand at animation (I love the medium so much … so it seemed like a good idea at the time). I’m now entering my third year at California Institute of the Arts, majoring in character animation. This summer I’ll be working on a portfolio that I can show to studios in hopes of gaining an internship or job. Eventually, I’d like to graduate from college and enter the animation industry.”

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Thanks for your help, everyone! Good luck with your future endeavors.

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