Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What's In a Name?

This post is a little late partly because of an unexpected trip to Charlotte yesterday afternoon. We didn't get home till late, and I pretty much crashed as soon as we got in. The rest of the reason is that I procrastinated on writing it until mid-afternoon and by then we were on our way to Charlotte. Yep, I had several chances to write yesterday morning, but didn't--I am a horrible procrastinator, and although I usually can still get things done on time, this time, it didn't work out so well. I keep thinking one of these days I'll learn and quit with the procrastination thing. Anyways... my bad procrastination habit is not going to be the subject of this blog post. =)

Yesterday morning I discovered a new blog--not just new to me, but fairly new to the internet as well. The blog is written by House of Decadent Delusion. Her most recent post was a very eloquent piece on where she got the name of her shop. It then occurred to me that I haven't written a post on where I got the name for my studio yet, and I've been looking for a post topic that had nothing to do with moving. As a discussion of my studio name had nothing to do with moving and was a subject that should probably have been addressed sooner in this blog, there was much rejoicing.

So, where did I get the name Gothic Panda? Well, once upon a time, in a galaxy far far away, I was an mmorpg addict. Specifically, I played Ragnarok Online, and I was well pleased with this game. My first character was KasumiAngel--which at the time was my screen name for everything. You can still see remnants from this period of my life in my DeviantArt account: http://kasumiangel.deviantart.com/. I periodically consider moving to a new DA account that matches my studio name, but I don't think it's really worth the time and effort that moving accounts would take when I could be doing much better things with my time--like drawing more, crocheting more, sculpting more, sewing more, or maybe even cleaning my house. Back on topic. KasumiAngel was a lovely priestess, and she and her wizard husband went on many many adventures together. They reached the highest level, transcended and became high priestess and high wizard together. Their story is a long and involved one and should be saved for another blog post.

Now, you may wonder how I got Gothic Panda from KasumiAngel. Well, after KasumiAngel, I made a long string of alt characters: the dancer Buttercup (yes this is from the Princess Bride, and my husband made a bard named Wesley), the assassin Analthia (b/c Amalthia from The Last Unicorn was taken), the alchemist Rayne, the sage Indian Muffin Princess and finally the crusader Gothic Panda. There were others, many others, because I became an altoholic. Since KasumiAngel's sweet wizard was no longer playing as much, she spent more time on her alter-egos. Over time Gothic Panda became her favored personality. As Gothic Panda, she joined the guild Valiance of Figaro (Final Fantasy VI ftw). She went on many fun adventures with VoF. Eventually VoF disbanded, and she spent many lonely afternoons sitting in front of the Clock Tower in Alde Baran. She was befriended by a nice gentleman who led the guild Dreams. She joined--it didn't take much to convince her; the guild emblem was an adorable little panda. She enjoyed many more months of fun and camaraderie with her new friends in Dreams. This is the abridged version of the story of Gothic Panda.

Ragnarok Online was the first place I used the name Gothic Panda. I came up with the name because I wanted something with the word Panda in it. After several hours of brainstorming I settled on Gothic to go with Panda. I love pandas. I also like gothic things--it's my favorite architectural period in European history, plus I love the more contemporary gothic clothing style; I'm also a big fan of gothic lolita. During the time when I was playing Gothic Panda with Valiance of Figaro, I applied for an artist alley table at Anime USA (2008) on a whim. The application required a studio name, and I chose Gothic Panda because that was the center of my internet identity at the time. If I had done this 2-3 years earlier, I would have probably chosen a name like KasumiAngel's Art because that was my identity then. For many years, I was called Kas, Kasumi, or Kasy. I never gave out my real name online, and most people assumed my name really was Kasumi. That part stuck even after I assumed the Gothic Panda name, although after that Gothic, Panda, and GP were added to the list of names I responded to. Although I no longer play Ragnarok Online, the Gothic Panda name has stuck. Well, I got into Anime USA's artist alley. A moderate amount of panic followed that because I hadn't seriously thought about what I'd do if I actually got the table; at that time, I had nothing. The result was I ran my first AA art table with pretty much only the Major Arcana from the Anime Tarot set and a few pieces of jewelry my husband had made. Since then, I have had 12 AA tables across 4 different conventions. Obviously the content of my table has grown in that time. Naming the studio Gothic Panda started as a whim, but it's come to define my identity beyond the internet, and I really think it fits. For Animazement 2010 I designed a gothic-lolita styled cosplay to wear at my art table. In late 2010, I started posting some of my table inventory on Etsy, and encouraged by my fellow Etsians, in early 2011, I completed the art based on the Gothic Panda cosplay that I now use as my avatar most everywhere--the final result is nothing like the crusader that once represented the name. So, that's the history of my studio name.

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