Opportunities for artistic expression at SFU Summer Festival

The SFU Summer Festival draws anime fans every year |

SFU’s Anime Club presents its 4th annual SFU Summer Festival, meant to mimic Japanese summer festivals commonly seen in anime series. It will be held at Convocation Mall at the SFU Burnaby Campus again this year on July 15.

The free one-day event, used as a way for the club to raise funds, includes an artist alley, a cosplay contest, trivia games as well as food and other games.

“I love to entertain and the Summer Festival was one of the first groups and events that let me do this,” says Jovi Souk, PR coordinator and MC for the festival.

Cross play

Souk is also an avid “cross player” meaning he cross-dresses as various female anime characters under the alias Rin-senpai.

“I’ve always been into fashion and when I got my first job, I was able to buy things to cross dress,” says Souk.

Now aged 30, Souk has mastered the art of makeup and transforming himself into a convincing female character.

“I get plenty of misconceptions about [cross playing] all the time, but the support and love from the community is far greater than those who aren’t onboard with what I do. So it’s pretty easy to just take it in stride and enjoy it,” says Souk.

Showcasing anime art

Sailor Moon inspired art. | Illustration by Raquel Stone (aka Seafoammelon)

For Zen Dela Cruz, this will be his first foray into selling his artwork to the public. Growing up, he started by drawing dinosaurs as any kid would but by the time he was in high school, he had moved onto drawing anime and teaching himself by reading “How to draw” books. Going by the pseudonym Zen Cross, Dela Cruz has been hooked on anime since watching My Neighbour Totoro as a child.

“I enjoy the story itself and how the anime conveys feelings and empathy in the audience,” says Dela Cruz, the artist behind the mascot drawn for the festival posters.

With a degree in Interactive Arts and Technology from SFU, Dela Cruz is trying to pursue a career in animation and illustration. Currently, he is trying to master his own art style but describes it as alive and ever-changing as he tries to incorporate new elements that he likes in other artwork. In addition to art, he is attempting to write his own light novel, a short novel with illustrations.

Raquel Stone is another first time artist vendor at the summer festival this year. Known as “Seafoammelon” online, Stone discovered anime as a child when her family would rent VHS tapes and she would always choose to watch Sailor Moon. Stone was not allowed to watch TV until she was 10 and then it was only allowed on weekends.

“As I got older, I just chose to watch anime all the time,” says Stone.

Growing up, she attended art school every summer and even skipped grade 5 to solely attend art school. Stone describes her work as more Western or Indie comic book style with a strong anime influence. She also enjoys drawing cute characters in the chibi style, characterized by short characters with larger heads and smaller bodies.

Stone is planning on selling prints, stickers and buttons and may be opening an online store soon as well.

Both Stone and Dela Cruz enjoy drawing fan art and hope to gain more exposure for their work at the festival.

For more information, visit www.sfusummerfestival.com.


The illustration used on the top left of the front cover of Vol 18 No 2 to tease the Anime festival article was by Zen Cross Digital. The Source apologies for the lack of attribution.