Speculative-Inspired Arts: A Look Back and Ahead

In many ways, it’s hard to believe it’s been a full year since I started the Speculative-Inspired Arts series here at Luna Station. But then, I’ve also felt every single minute of 2020. Haven’t we all? Yes, it’s been an oozing dumpster fire of a year, which makes it all the more important that we bring as much artistic beauty and joy into our lives as we can. I’ve been fortunate to virtually meet and interview many talented women-identifying artists for my column, so in celebration of a full year of SIA, I’ve reached back out to them to find out what they’ve been up to since we last talked and what new projects they have lined up.

The bellydancing Wookiee of Raks Geek!

Dawn Xiana Moon: “This has been a weird year for art. Britain’s Got Talent flew me to London in January—I performed as the Bellydancing Wookiee—but by the time my segment aired in May, the world had locked down and live performance and international travel had ceased to be viable. So I’ve been producing and performing in livestream shows. At this point Raks Geek and Raks Inferno have done 10 virtual productions of firespinning, bellydance, and circus with performers from around the country – we’ve even done private events for big corporate clients. (Hire us to entertain your company online!) I’m also producing a virtual festival featuring Asian-American artists (Defiant Silk Bellydance Festival) that will be coming in January.” You can watch Raks Geek’s latest public livestream shows here: https://www.facebook.com/raksgeek/live_videos

Deneen Melody in her home studio.

Deneen Melody: “Hello!! Since I was last featured, lots has happened in my VO career. I was cast as Rotten “Rottie” Dollhart, in the video game Death end re;Quest 2! We were fortunate enough to complete recording before quarantine started. Speaking of the quarantine, this caused voice studios to close down, which meant my partner and I had to put together a studio-quality booth in my home. Doing so allowed me to continue doing voice work, including several Netflix dubs! I play lead roles in the English dubs of Curon, The Twelve, 3%, and To The Lake (all currently available on Netflix!) I also worked on The Misfit of Demon King Academy. I voice Nono Inota, part of a wonderful group of girls all voiced by some of my favorite voice ladies! I’m now narrating Trapped in Wonderland by author Dani Hoots! Audiobooks are new to me, so this has been something I’ve had to really step up and push forward with. I’ll be keeping everyone updated on Dani’s books on my Twitter, so be sure to keep an eye out!”

Elven Witch by Erika Carlevarino

Erika Carlevarino: “During the pandemic, I have been contacted to create characters for a film in stop motion in Peru. I’m still working on the creation of characters, it’s a first phase and it’s not final, but I’m very excited to participate in such a project. Meanwhile, I continue with my fantastic creatures and colored lamps.” Erika is constantly adding new dolls to her Etsy shop, The Elven Refuge. See more of Erika’s work at her website and her Etsy shop, and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

Shasta Schatz: “Just after the interview was published, all of our events were canceled or moved to an online format, which was both heartbreaking and inspiring. I finished the Orko (Masters of the Universe) and Georgian Princess Allura (Voltron) projects, using the extra time to work on details that may have been lost in my normal “Con Crunch”—the cosplay equivalent of cramming for a test. I was also able to complete my dream project—a gown inspired by a 16th century painting, a medieval Link (Legend of Zelda) ensemble, and a basic 18th century kit. With all of the time at home, I’ve been able to focus on improving my sewing technique and narrowing my costume focus to the bits that I love most about the hobby like hand sewing and historical research.” Follow Shasta at her website and on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Courtesy of GLEO

GLEO: “It’s funny, because I’ve just been available where the opportunity has led me. And so in the midst of what the end of the world has felt like, I was painting a large-scale wall, where every day it was an internal mission to find that tranquility that we are all looking for in these times.  On this wall, I wanted to portray ‘good intention’—the opportunity to let our hearts flourish in the midst of pain.” See more of GLEO’s latest projects via her Instagram @gleo_co.

Screenshot from Heart is Muscle by Heiden

Heiden: “The year has been pretty stressful, but I’ve been able to concentrate on my projects! I was selected to be part of this year’s (online) SAAM arcade at the Smithsonian as well as IGDA DC’s District Arcade. Despite there not being any in-person events this year, the SAAM arcade and District Arcade were a nice reminder that despite everything, there are still people out there interested in weird little indie games. Other than that, I’ve also been working on my newest project, Heart is Muscle, which I’m hoping to be finished in December.” You can find Heiden on Twitter at @dieletztenrosen.

I also recently interviewed dancer and choreographer Maura García, podcast creator Jessica Best, and pumpkin sculptor Liza Slaughter Barker, so be sure to check out their interviews if you missed them. I follow every one of these talented artists on social media, and when they aren’t adding awesomeness to my timelines, they’re dropping knowledge and perspective on important social issues. I highly recommend giving them all a follow!

I want to thank everyone for joining me each month as we talked with—or about—female-identifying creatives whose work and projects touch on the speculative fiction themes we love so much. I’ll be stepping away from the column for a while to concentrate on finishing up some of my own projects, but I promise it won’t be a permanent absence. When I return, I hope to have even more conversations with talented speculative-inspired artists to share with you!