Currently reading : Cute and Aware: An Interview with New York Artist and DJ Boylita
Meet Boylita also known as Aaron Kolfage, an enigmatic visual artist and DJ currently living and working in New York. I became familiar with Boylita’s audio work after being introduced to New York pseudo-label and party Shock Value NYC. I later came across her visual work, which she spends most of her time on nowadays, and was immediately drawn to the playful and critical use of vibrant anime aesthetics incorporated to produce abstracted prints and photographs.
It’s no surprise that anime is gaining mainstream traction in the United States especially with online streaming sites such as Hulu and Netflix drawing large audiences with new anime-programming that transgress the boundary of family entertainment. In many ways, anime is a space for discussing and mediating politics of the body and society. It seems much of the appeal of anime stems from its ability to capture and confront the general infantilization of our Internet generation and the general preoccupation with sexed “cuteness” while also being a space to portray and discuss social taboos, affects, and desires tinged on gender and sex. Boylita is the performative embodiment and lens of this space and brings to light the cultural contexts that inform this trend by incorporating the safe representational escapism anime provides for accessing these hidden subjectivities that continue to shape a post-internet identity.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Boylita and getting a better sense of what they’re about and uncovering more about her love of anime amongst other topics:
A lot of your visual work is informed by anime, where does this interest stem from? How specifically does it inform your visual work?
> oh i dunno *smiley face* i just love cartoons. video games, big budget fantasies, anything with amaze sfx, and reality tv are great too. i wanna be the st teresa of toontown â™¡
Is there a specific time you began exploring the world of anime and identity augmentation?
> the land before time
Who are some of your favorite anime characters?
madoka kaname, motoko kusanagi, rikka takanashi, rei ayanami, ruka urushibara, mako mankanshoku, haruhi suzumiya, mitsukuni haninozuka, kuranosuke koibuchi, konata izumi, hatsune miku… but theres rly wayyy too many to list hehe
Tell us about Boylita? Is that your alter ego?
> when i start a new game, it always takes me so long to make a character, it’s harder than beating the final boss (âˆ©ËƒÍˆ â•» Ë‚Íˆ âˆ©)! sometimes being yourself is a hard thing to be!!
In what way do you think Boylita defies traditional notions of identity representation, if at all?
i don’t like games that make u choose a gender and stick with it *shrug* im just out here tryna achieve my final form
I’m sure you’re familiar with recent media reports of people undergoing plastic surgery in order to resemble their favorite musician. Have you gotten any surgery done to get closer to the anime look?
> i haven’t had any bridalplasty yet, but sign me up for the next season! please! (Ë˜áµ‹ Ë˜*äºº)
What are some of your main influences, whether fictional or non-fictional?
> pee-wee’s playhouse, soul caliber, spongebob squarepants, kingdom hearts, idol girls, disney world, cosplay, who framed roger rabbit, miku miku dance, chuunibyou, madame tussaud’s lolita kei, peter pan, arcades everwhere, sanrio, magical girls, “traps”, celebrity holograms, whoever makes kyary pamyu pamyu’s wigs
What do you have planned for summer?
> i wanna visit the beach on new zack island, but its so hot in the living room my playstation always overheats before i get there, so i’ve been studying japanese, watching survivor reruns and reading louise hay instead
Can we expect new projects from you anytime soon?
lots of coming attractions, i promise they’ll be blockbusters… or at least cult favorites 0:)