Tessa Joyce Riecken is a freelance artist from Vancouver Island. She works primarily in storyboarding, posing, and character development. You can visit her website at http://tjriecken.com/ to learn more, or come by Northwest Fan Fest to talk to her in person. We’d recommend the latter.
LMM: What does fandom mean to you?
Tessa Joyce Riecken: To me a fandom is a kingdom populated by nerds who share a similar interest or obsession. A fandom upholds a world of content and keeps the excitement of a subject, new or old, alive. I say nerds with absolute affection as my heart bleeds for them and I myself identify as one.
LMM: How do you explain that to people not in the know?
Tessa Joyce Riecken: It is difficult to fully explain fandom to people who have never been in one but, to put it very simply, a fandom is a positive community that celebrates a shared interest. Not only do people come together to discuss content that has resonated with and inspired them, but people also contribute to the fandom by creating their own work in the flavour or style of the group’s interest, such as: fan art, fanfics and cosplay. People who create fandom content are a lot like musicians who perform cover songs .
LMM: How has being a part of the fandom affected your life?
Tessa Joyce Riecken: Every fandom I engage with allows me to step past the role of spectator and into the world of cartoon, anime and nerd culture as a participant. I have personally created a fair amount of fan art which has, as a bonus, helped me grow a larger audience and generate more interest in my original artwork. For some people fan art can be controversial and I understand that. For others, like myself, fan art for the fandom helps me to make friends, practice techniques, honour my exemplars and uncover themes that are important to me as an artist.
LMM: What kind of impact do events like Northwest Fan Fest have for the fandom?
Tessa Joyce Riecken: Events like Northwest Fan Fest provide a welcome and safe place for anyone and everyone who is a fan of something, whether that’s comics, anime, games, Star Wars or steampunk, to get together and have fun. It doesn’t matter what you look like, how you dress, what you believe in or where you come from in order to be a fan and enter the fandom. There are a lot of things that divide people in the world. I think it’s important to have positive events like Fan Fest to bring people together; even if it is only over Dr. Who or Naruto.
LMM: What’s your favorite part of Fan Fest?
Tessa Joyce Riecken: This is my first time at Fan Fest. But! My favorite part of any festival is meeting new people in artist alley and basking in the positive enthusiasm radiated by everyone. My face always hurts from smiling so much.
LMM: Who are you excited to see at Northwest Fan Fest?
Tessa Joyce Riecken: I’m definitely excited to see my friends unveil their cosplay and the Costume Contest. I’m also excited to see my fellow artists and the Live Sword Cutting Demonstration!
LMM: How would you get somebody who has never heard of it to come out?
Tessa Joyce Riecken: If they were sceptical, I’d buy their ticket for them if I had the extra cash. And I’d tell them that my artist alley table has free candy.