Otaku Culture Through The Mind of Richard Ticas

Introduce yourself

My name is Richard Ticas. I’m 24 years old and was born and raised in Chicago. I’m a freelance artist. 

Back in early April, you posted about how you were gearing up for your first solo show in the spring. How did you know this was the right time to have your show?

The thing with me is that I’ve always been hard on myself when it comes to presenting work. I like drawing anime, but I’ve had this internal struggle with presenting anime artwork on a wall. I got into the art scene, I’d say around 2015 through one of my friends. She put me onto a bunch of friends and over the years I would grow and build my own skills. While I was growing, everyone was like ‘you should do a show, you should do a show’. I remember telling all of them I wasn’t ready for that then. 

Over the last year, I got really into digital art, which made my work very polished and easy to present. I got to the point where I had a good body of work and wanted to be able to present some of my favorite pieces. While I never had a solo show, I curated a few group shows that I was also part of. Those shows ended up bringing out a lot of people. After my last group show in February, I told myself that I didn’t want to show anymore work in group shows and wanted to achieve my personal goal of having my own show. I finally got the confidence and courage to do so. I remember setting the date because if I didn’t, I knew that I wouldn’t do it. 

‘Otaku Daydream’ is the name of your first solo show that opened a few weekends ago. What was the preparation for this show like? 

At the beginning of the year, I probably had around half of the body of work that is in the show. I wanted to hold off on that and work on producing another half of the work for the theme of the show. I had maybe 4 pieces done, and then I produced 4 more. The production on these pieces ended last month. I started going around and finding specific printers that could print in high quality. I want to make sure that when people buy my work they’re buying top quality. 

For the show, I also wanted to make sure that it was more than just prints on the wall for people to see. In Japan, there’s a car culture called Itasha. It’s where people decorate and customize cars with images of anime. It’s a very otaku thing. I designed anime graphics for one of my friends’ car. I’m super excited for everyone to see that. That was one of the physical things I wanted to show off. There are a few other things I included – a big cutout of an arcade girl. I really just wanted to make this show an experience and not just a gallery. 

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What attracted you to Otaku culture?

I’ve been drawing anime style since I was a kid. I thought the only way to get a job in that field was by drawing comic books or animating. While that was cool, I wanted to create single concept images that tell a story within small details. I didn’t want to just be one of those people that loves Japan for anime. When I started doing more research, I found out there were many other things I liked. I found out about Otaku culture and realized that it was a nerdy/geeky grown person that likes anime in such an obsessed and consumed way. I thought there was something funny about that. Ironically, I see myself as that and that’s why I wanted to name the show. I collect a lot of anime memorabilia, figures, etc. Otaku culture has been part of my everyday influence. I want to throw everyday references from Japan in my pieces.

How do you come up with the title of this shows? Did the concept or work come first?

The work came first. The name Otaku was always in my head. Through the process of making the second half of the work, I wanted to make sure there was a lot of authentic modern Japanese influence. I wanted to be in your face with the influence, but also highlight the cultural significance that it brings. After the work was all done, I came up with the name ‘Otaku Daydream’. 

What has you the most excited about this new body of work?

I feel like this is my most polished work. This work is more than just anime and big boobs on girls. I’m really excited to tell the story behind each piece within this show. 

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For people who attended this show and saw your artwork for the first time, what do you want people to take away from it?

I’ve always questioned that myself. I don’t want people to just walk by and think that this is just ‘cartoony’. For the older generation, I feel like it’s harder for them to maybe take this kind of work seriously. I want the older generation to see the artistic technicality it takes to my pieces. I want the younger generation to understand where the concept of the show came from and the meaning of Otaku Daydream. I don’t want them to think that this is some cool, new wave, but that my work is rooted in Japenese traditions and culture. 

Can we expect any more capsule series shows throughout the rest of the year?

I do want to plan more for the summer. I tweeted it about a couple weeks ago saying that ‘Capsule 3’ was coming soon. A lot of people were supporting it. I was like damn, people do really want more of these shows to happen. I think it’s really cool because I like to bring on younger artists that haven’t done a lot of shows. 

As you look back on the last couple of years, what do you think has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned that’s gotten you to where you are now?

I think it’s really all about networking. It’s important to make friends with the people that are supporting you and showing you that love. Realize how important those relationships can be. 


Written by: Nico Rud

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