Meet Reiko

Posted 2006-03-15 @ 11:34:44 In articles > features

We managed to track down artist and Reiko creator Vincent Grisanti who graciously answered a couple of our questions.




The rest of you who already know and love Reiko we have a tasty morsel to offer you. We managed to track down artist and Reiko creator Vincent Grisanti who graciously answered a couple of our questions. Reiko even sat still long enough to answer a couple for herself.   

Questions for Artist:

Where do you get your ideas for your Contemplating Reiko web comic about a demon child who wreaks death and carnage upon all who cross her path?

[I don’t know where the inspiration for each Reiko gag comes from. I have always had a dark sense of humor and weird perspective on things. I suspect there is something passive-aggressive in my head that vents out stress and aggression through Reiko humor rather than actual violence. Kind of like playing violent, yet fun, video games, or watching violent, yet fun, movies. I think people enjoy Contemplating Reiko for the same reason. We can each get a sense of sadistic satisfaction from her actions. I think we can all live vicariously through Reiko in a sense. I mean who hasn’t at sometime or another, just for a split second, wished they could maul some annoying person with a pickaxe? But Reiko and her victims are just cartoons, thankfully, so through her actions we can get 100% the satisfaction and 0% the guilt.

Though I really should like to point out that most Reiko strips usually do not involve intense or active violence. I believe most of the humor to be more interesting, clever, twisted, and implied than just relying on pure gore for shock value with no thought behind it. People often seem to perceive my comics as a whole as more bloody than they actually are.]

Reiko is quite reminiscent of another young -gothic crazed- little girl, by the name of ‘Emily the Strange’. Obviously Reiko is a little more macabre; rather than dabbling in the darker side of life, she actually is a demon creature. Were there any ‘Emily’ influences in the creation of Reiko?

[Seems folks have a natural inclination to try to compare one thing with something else. Since publishing Reiko on the web I’ve gotten comparisons with Emily, Lenore, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, Wednesday Addams, and probably other characters I can’t remember at the moment. All I can say is neither Emily nor these other characters had any influence at all on Reiko’s creation. It is unfortunate that both Reiko and Emily happen to have shiny black hair, but to me that is the extent of their similarity.]

How was Reiko born, was she a doodle on a page or a conscious effort of creation?

[I never consciously planned to create Reiko. Reiko began as a series of cartoon sketches derived from some different inspirations. Some years ago I was acquaintenced with a half-Chinese girl named Bianca, who despite being only 5 years old was quite dark in nature. I always thought she was very interesting and funny for it, and I think she had some influence on the character of Reiko. Later on while living in Japan I came across a piece of art by an early twentieth century Japanese painter named Ryusei Kishida. It was a portrait of his young daughter Reiko. I found the girl’s features to be unsettling and the painting became the major inspiration for the development of my Reiko character.]

When was the site launched and has it lived up to your expectations?

[The Tainted Ink site featuring my Contemplating Reiko comic strips was launched in late July 2004 due at least in part to the relentless, yet appreciated, nagging of my long-time friend Jonathan Mathers of Neurotically Yours. Being a diehard pessimist I never expected much of anything to come of the site, so I can honestly say it has exceeded my expectations. I’m very flattered and amazed to have made so many fans. I appreciate all of them and their enthusiastic support.]  

Do you have any aspirations of crossing mediums with Reiko, to television perhaps?

[I don’t have any specific aspirations, but every time Reiko takes a step into a new direction it’s a big thrill. I just saw a Contemplating Reiko comic in print for the first time in Zoinks! Magazine and it’s soon to be printed in Lollipop Magazine as well. The web is a wonderful place to self-publish but there’s something special in transcending it to other media. Recently I’ve begun making some Contemplating Reiko flash cartoons. Black and white one-panel comics to animated flash cartoons was quite a leap in medium, and it’s great to see it in action. I think a Contemplating Reiko flash game would be a fun next step if I could figure out how to do that. And now that you mention it Reiko on TV would be awesome as well. Why not? I’m certainly open to any possibilities that might present themselves.]

Do you have any non-Reiko related artwork or characters which can be viewed online?

[Yes, I have a DeviantART page and an Elfwood page. Though since I don’t do a lot of non-Reiko related work these days, for right now the Deviant Art page has only Reiko stuff on it, and the Elfwood page has mostly very old fantasy art work of mine.]

Do you have any formal art training?

[Yes, I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Art from PaceUniversity.  I’ve also studied life drawing at The Art Students League of New York, and the Reilly League of Artists.]


Questions for Reiko:

What is your favourite food?

[Sushi made from fresh mermaid.]

What is your favourite movie?

[Evil Dead II… because I like documentaries.]

What do you want to be when you are all grown up?

[A Chef. I’ve got a cool cookbook titled “To Serve Man” with lots of great recipes I’d love to try out.]

Who would you like to be stuck in a small room with?

Just give me five minutes  alone with The Wiggles, a chainsaw, a heavy duty car battery, a sledgehammer, an icepick, gardening shears, and 50 feet of stainless steel barbed wire.]

Who is the little twerp you dropped a ton of building blocks on?

[That was Neil. He’s in a better place now: Hell. If you’re interested in joining him let me know.]

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