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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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09/30/2005 Archived Entry: "Interview with Ian of Bay Area Artists United (BAAU)"

BAAU interview with Ian Sy, whom I met at AnimeExpo this past July.

GM: What are you Bay Area Artists United working on these days?

BAAU: Now that school has started again, a lot of our members are less active. However, we've just launched work into our fifth collection of short stories. Our members are now hard at work on cover art and stories for BAAU Down 5.

GM: Who are the members of BAAU? And what are your backgrounds in art and life that lead you to be BAAU?

BAAU: We, as a group, are mostly students. We've all begun our journeys into art and are having tons of fun in our art classes. Some of our most promising members are now majoring in art related courses. Some of us are already working full time -- some in game companies, web portals, and some in the semiconductor industry here around San Jose.

(Note: For links to some of the individual BAAU artists' webpages, please see Tom Good's review of BAAU Down 4. Or this page. GM)

GM: Are any people in BAAU working on independent projects in the art or comics industry?

BAAU: Our founders, Studio XD, started out as a comics studio, doing contract work and creator-owned work. Now they run Gaia Online. We also have a few members working with game software companies, or as graphic designers. The rest of us work on our art through BAAU Down or other collaborative comic works.

GM: What's the BAAU history with Fanime?

BAAU: Fanime was probably the first convention many of us went to. Some of our older members have friends who now run Fanime! We love being able to set up shop at Fanime, and get in touch with all our local friends and fans.

(Note: I was under the impression that BAAU founded and ran Fanime, but I seem to have been mistaken. GM)

GM: Does BAAU do other conventions? Which ones and what kind of response have you had from them?

BAAU: We also go to Anime Expo, down in the Los Angeles area, and Pacific Media Expo in our home San Francisco Bay Area. We've just increased our print run, so we're planning on attending more cons like Wondercon or Alternative Press Expo this coming year.

GM: Does BAAU have any feelings about the manga industry in the US?

BAAU: Well, BAAU is a large group with many opinions. We all hope that the manga industry stays healthy both for imports and for homegrown art. We hope that there will always be a wide variety of stories and art styles to read and enjoy. We hope that we'll be part of the manga industry some day!

GM: Are there manga publishers BAAU particularly admires and why is that?

BAAU: Again, there are so many people that opinions range widely. Personally, I admire the independent artists and wish that both the artists and their customers are able to take risks and find new and exciting material.

GM: What anime titles and artists do you admire and why would you recommend J LHLS readers seek those titles and artists out? We're always looking for a new thrill, but we usually need a little more motivation.

BAAU: I'm going to take this chance and answer with my own personal recommendations. Through BAAU, I met and greatly admire two artists from North America who are just beginning to make a splash. Do a search on the web for Brian O'Malley's "Scott Pilgrim", and for Corey Lewis's "PENG" and "Sharknife". I don't think you'll be disappointed.

GM: Who have been BAAU's role models?

BAAU: Studio XD! They are a great prototype for awesomeness. Friends who gathered and met on the internet, and have grown into great friends and artists. We hope that our art is a gateway to our growth and our lives.

GM: What keeps BAAU going? Fear, greed, lust or something else?

BAAU: BAAU keeps us warm in the winter when there's not enough light to see our drawings. Maybe it's just the heat fans from our computers, but we all support each other with inspiration and good cheer and ridiculous online chatter.

GM: How did BAAU get started?

BAAU: BAAU started as a way to meet people. Studio XD's original members all came to the Bay Area, but didn't know many people besides themselves. But, with a little bit of IRC and a handy website, BAAU found out that a lot of artists were right around the Bay Area. It's really an amazing thing to meet fellow artists -- I think we're rare enough that it's always a thrill meeting someone who appreciates art enough to want to give back to art as a whole. It's like a perpetual motion engine.

GM: How has BAAU evolved over the past four (or five?) years?

BAAU: I think BAAU was more social in the beginning, being a smaller size. These days, I think the social nature is still there, but it's dispersed through different websites and different chat engines. Still, the BAAU homepage is a warm hearth for us all to gather back and keep in touch! Definitely, the core mission of BAAU is to produce BAAU Down, now. This didn't exist in the early days. Oh, lest I forget: We also exist to hold a fat barbeque once yearly to feed the starving Bay Area artists ;)

GM: BAAU puts out a beautiful print anthology every year. I think you can take a baau for that (ha ha... yeah). What have been the most interesting aspects of group publishing and print publishing in general?

BAAU: I think that the large scale of the project breeds a great sense of trust and reward. Collaboration is the key word -- from sitting down and sharing magazines and comics, to shooting the bull until a random conversation becomes a story, all the way to thrilling each other with new art that's never been seen before -- BAAU re-circulates and re-energizes itself every step of the way.

GM: What are BAAU's hopes and dreams for the future for BAAU and for the members of BAAU?

BAAU: I hope that we all find a spot for art in our lives, whether it be our jobs or a way to unwind at the end of a long day. BAAU is a place that takes creativity and enthusiasm and shows how adding a little structure can really reach out into the world and make a difference.

GM: Thanks, BAAU.

BAAU: Thank you Liheliso! It's a great honor to sit down and chat with you.

Email Ian Sy at [email protected] to order BAAU Down 4 (see J LHLS review for more information). List price is 10$, and 5$ for shipping and handling.

Replies: 2 comments

Hello! This is Ian Sy, aka ian_oji, from BAAU. Many thanks to Ginger for giving a review opportunity for BAAU Down. The images here are previews, works-in-progress, for our next volume, BAAU Down 5! We still have issues of BAAU Down 4 ( on sale. Feel free to email me at [email protected] to order! List price is 10$, and 5$ for shipping and handling.

Posted by Ian Sy @ 09/30/2005 09:30 PM PST

Thanks, Ian!

Posted by Ginger @ 10/01/2005 11:00 AM PST

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