Geeks Can Have Style: Interview with Artist Kevin Wada

geek culture, menswear, suvudu, gchs, 1, 11

GCHS Geeks Can Have Style

The union of fashion and geek culture is what The Ralphnerd celebrates at its core, so to keep you guys current on the matter, I've created a new segment on the blog titled: GCHS (Geeks Can Have Style). To kick off GCHS, I reached out to artist Kevin Wada for a quick Q&A on superhero fashion, diversity in art and how it feels to be a variant cover artist for Marvel. Check out the fantastic interview accompanied by some of his stellar art pieces below.

House of M Fierce Family Fashion ft. Wiccan, Magneto, Speed, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver

You do an amazing job of merging pop cultural/geek influences with high fashion (something I find myself doing a lot of on The Ralphnerd.) Is there one you're more attracted to, or do you have equal love for fashion and the pop/geek cultural world?

I'd be hard pressed to say there is one over the other I'm more attracted to. I enjoy and revel in certain aspects of both. I love the artistic and personal statements fashion encompasses more than the artifice and materialism. I love film and pop culture and comics and I love geeks in general but fandoms can become quite stubborn.The qualities of both worlds that I try to meld together are the ones I enjoy most.

X-Men issue #1 variant

You were commissioned to do the X-Men issue # 1 relaunch variant cover art. Did Marvel reach out to you? This is a big deal, are you still reeling from it all?

Marvel reached out to me. It's funny because a few days before that happened, Brian Wood purchased a print of a fashion piece I had done on his new all female X-men team. He must have passed along my name to the editors and I thank him to this day. I really can't wait to collaborate with them again on another project.

X-Fashions ft. Jean Grey &Emma Frost

What designers inspire you for your fashion focused pieces?

I'd say Tom Ford, Alexander McQueen, Givenchy, Armani Prive, Atelier Versace are some labels that speak to me. I can't really say I have a hardcore dedication to any designers as it really depends on the season and the line and what they've done for that collection.

X-Fashions ft. all new X-woman team: Storm, Psylocke, Kitty Pride Jubilee, Rogue and Rachel Grey.

Your X-Fashion series seems to be the fan favorite on the web, and you always find ingenious ways to recreate the lot. What is it about the X-Ladies that draws you to paint them multiple times?

Well, a lot of the X-fashions have been commissioned so that explains some of the repeat attempts at fashionizing them :P. Other than that it really just depends on the character. There are several that I think could be explored and reinvented till the end of time; Storm, Psylocke, and Emma come to mind. Every once in awhile I'll come up with some neat way to reinterpret them, either traditionally or with a fashion spin and I think melding together different worlds is a great way to spur on creativity.

Vanity Fair ft. Rogue, Polaris, Emma Frost, Storm, Psylocke, Ms. Marvel and Sage.

If you could do another Vanity Fair shot with some of the male Marvel heroes, who would you choose for the Lineup?

Oh my.There are sooo many good ones to choose from. Off the top of my head... Gambit, Namor, Thor, Black Panther, Nightcrawler, Beast, and Magneto or Xavier. I think that lineup would provide a wide range of looks and types and the fashion would have to be exciting. Can't just put Beast in a suit and call it a day and think people will be satisfied, right?

X-Fashions ft. Hulking, Wiccan, Rictor and Shatterstar

Your art is so diverse, and you actively include gay and multi-racial spectrums in your pieces. Do you feel there's a lack there of in the comic and art world?

I think the art world is full of representations of race and gender and sexuality; you just have to know where to look. Comics could use a little work but I think they're making the right strides. We've come a long way from ethnic heroes being defined by their racial makeup and I always applaud when a hero's sexuality or race is incidental to their quality as a character.

Gigantes for NSF Clothing

Your collabs with DUCKIEN and NSF are pretty amazing. Could you see yourself doing more for the world of menswear?

I would most definitely love to do more menswear work. More fashion work in general is where I could see myself really letting loose. It's funny because the original concept for the DUCKIEN collab was for it to be X-men modeling his fine denim jackets, but copyright kept us from attempting anything in that vein.

Judging from your paintings, you know your stuff when it comes to super heroes. Are you an avid comic book reader? If so, what's your current comic book obsession? (Could be a title or character.)

I may alienate a lot of fans but I actually don't read many comics these days and even when I did, not many of them were superhero ones. I grew up with superhero comics around me but I think I adored from afar and fell in love with the characters as icons more than as actual story lines. Sacrilege, I know. I am familiar and well versed enough to get by these days. Right now I'm reading Saga, and I'm trying to keep up with the current X-men series. I fall in love with artists over stories these days so if an artist I like has contributed to a story worth reading I'll pick that up. Love Tim Sale and some of the stuff he's done. Frank Miller was a huge inspiration to me back in the day. David Mack is beyond stellar.

Check some of Kevin's non-comic book pieces that I'm equally obsessed with.
Adventure Time Issue #11 Variant Cover
Bruce for DUCKIEN
The unconventional "aww" worthy couple for Kevin's "Floating City" project.
The Boys of Teen Wolf aka my new Facebook Banner

Follow and shop some of Kevin's fantastic pieces online: Tumblr | Twitter | Facebook| Kevin's Store