My Art Through the Years

The title is pretty much self explanatory. My artwork with some explanations as to when, or what, inspired them.

This painting (which is still in the works) was heavily inspired by American McGee’s Alice Madness Returns videogame.
This little doodle titled ‘Mittens: A Self Portrait of Imperfections’ is named that because as I was painting this, the ink bled into the watercolors on her hand. At first I was going to scrap it and throw it in the trash. But my husband insisted I keep it for its beautiful flaws. So I covered it up with painting a brightly colored mitten!
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Respawn

Completely re-doing this page!! Probably going to delete everything and start fresh 🤓 Be prepared for a flood of news posts! (If I find either the time or energy lol!)

MooUnedited Moments in my Life.

Here are the raw, unedited, moments in my life that make me happy. So often we strive for perfection in our everyday lives, or at least I found myself doing just that. However, I soon realized that it made me so miserable striving for perfection about everything in my life. For example, in this photo below, my son is in his own world innocently watching various clips about Plants Vs. Zombies on YouTube (hence the bucket on his head). At one point, our kitty jumped up into his lap wanting to snuggle (which is weird because he normally tortures her!). By the time I was able to grab my phone, swipe it on, get the camera ready, it was almost too late. I turned to take the picture, but my kitty leaped off the couch onto something else (like kitties naturally do…)! I could only get this blurry shot…

Now, on any other given day, I would have gotten upset. Why? I didn’t get a perfectly sharp, crystal clear, shot of Catniss snuggled up with Jhonen of course. Also, I would have tried to crop out, or blur, the “mess” in the background. Or, if I couldn’t, I’d normally apologize for the mess or just not even post it! And that made me a little sad and confused. Why in the world would I avoid posting a photograph of a moment in my life that made me so happy that I felt the need to capture it for as long as technology exists? Why would I be so embarrassed to post the photos because of *GASP!* a mess…? How dare I show the world the truth about being an artistic parent that works full time!

Ok, enough with the excessive sarcasm… I’m sure you all get what I’m trying to say. Basically, I was trying to find things to be ashamed about myself just for the sake of feeling ashamed about myself. I can’t exactly tell you why I was beating myself up, other than striving for that goal of perfection. Hence why I’ve started this blog, I plan to post all the raw moments I’ve captured in my life on here. Whether they be ugly or beautiful, they definitely will mean something big to me. And quite frankly, for the first time in my life, I do not care what you think about them dear reader! 😙 Now! Onto the photos!

Here the photos that made me happy, starting from the newest on top, older ones on the bottom:

“life is good.” June 16th 2017.

The purple flowers are starting to bloom in our yard!!!! They smell so lovely and so intoxicatingly potent.

This is always such a happy sight for me!
Happy memories with my son 💚
I don’t remember why this made me happy, I think it was just the idea I felt free while painting it!
Progress of my office space. (2017)
Feeling spoiled starring at all the pretty crystals and gems that I have been gifted to by friends and family! SO hard not to play favorites!

My (Temporary) Shift from Cosplay.

Myself as Lara Croft for a French Tomb Raider calendar (2017)

As it stands right now – and it’s painful for me to say because it requires confidence – there is no doubt I am quite an accomplished cosplayer. Professional at this point, I guess you could say? I never in my life thought I would be where I am today. It all started when I was a very little kid… I became obsessed with videos games. Me and my little brother Eddie would fight each other to play video games when we got home from school. First it started on our old ancient dialup computer. I couldn’t even begin to tell you the fights that would happen! My poor parents ended up having to make up an extremely strict schedule so that we would share and not end up killing each other! No joke, we would play Warcraft until the last millisecond that our turn was up,  among other games. Then we branched out and got a Nintendo NES. We’d play Super Mario Bros. and on particularly bad days we’d battle each other and take our rage out on each other in (the ORIGINAL) Mortal Kombat games. Then battle each other in real life to play any games that were not multiplayer. Looking back now, they were mostly fun 2D worlds, nothing fancy by today’s standards (though back then it was all considered amazeballs graphics to us).

Ahh, memories…Those pixels and graphics used to be the shit! (Photo borrowed from mortalkombat.wikia.com)

 I remember sneaking out to go to my friend Kevin’s house across the street to play his video games because he had really cool games I didn’t own yet! No matter what I was doing in life, video games were a huge (and happy) part of it.

To back track a little (if you’re new to my blog you’ll find I tend to back track a LOT), I was a mall rat. Before I had my own car and a decent group of friends, I would beg my parents to take me to the mall so I could hit up all my favorite shops! East Meets West, Hot Topic (or as my husband likes to call it Hot Pocket haha!), Suncoast, and Gamestop were my favorite go-to places! I remember it like it was yesterday, I wandered into a Gamestop and that day they just so happened to be playing the new Resident Evil: Director’s Cut trailer on the TV monitors. My mind was BLOWN. I needed this game and console in my life. So that year I got myself a PlayStation and RE:DC and my life was forever changed. One thing led to another. I discovered amazing game after amazing game; Tomb Raider, Silent Hill, Resident Evil… the list goes on for miles! And through video games I discovered cosplay. Cosplay became my new obsession! And as I’m sure you all know, that passion spread like wild fire!

First photo taken of me as Jill Valentine from Resident Evil. Photo by my father.

It all started with Jill Valentine and Lara Croft. I wanted to grow up to be just like them!

First photo taken of me as Lara Croft from Tomb Raider. Photo by my father.

Then, as I learned about Chuck Brite’s Lara Croft look-a-like competitions, I defaulted more to Lara and all of her different outfits.

My first Classic outfit.
My first Nevada outfit.
My first AOD outfit.
My first Jean Jacket AOD outfit.
My first Young Lara outfit. (And yes, I was 16 here!)
My first Chronicles outfit.
My first Legend outfit.
Another Legend outfit… are you getting sick of these yet??

Skip to about 18 years later, and now I am an official Lara Croft cosplay Ambassador for the Tomb Raider franchise. Again, mind. blown… I’ve been nothing but spoiled by Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix. I’ve gotten to meet a TON of people who heavily influenced and inspired my life since childhood.

Spending the weekend with Nathan McCree (composer of the Tomb Raider 1,2, and 3 soundtracks) at PAX East 2016.
Filming promotional work for the Tomb Raider franchise at PAX East 2016.
I even received an ovation for my cosplay work at the Tomb Raider panel at PAX East 2016!
And again at San Diego Comic Con 2016 with Jenn Croft!
An older photo, but this is from when I was invited by Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix to PAX East 2015. Photo by XBOX.
His face is covered up because I’m an idiot, but here I’m with Andy Park going down the escalators after a Tomb Raider panel at San Diego Comic Con.
With Camilla Luddington.
Me with Jenn Croft, the O.G. Ambassador for the US! (And BFF 😋) Photo by Square Enix.

2016 was definitely the year of Tomb Raider for me. And I enjoyed every single second of it! However, when I got home after SDCC, I found myself super burnt out (in a good way of course!). All the time I spent focusing on making costumes, exercising and trying to keep a flat tummy, bleaching my teeth so they’d stay perfectly white, constantly responding to people on all my social media (Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, World Cosplay, DeviantArt, messenger, etc.), trying to organize photo shoots, filming and editing vlogs, hosting giveaways, interviewing celebs, and being apart of calendars etc. well, it got to be too much. And the hardest part was, it was taking time away from me and my family. And that’s when I came to the decision to temporarily put my cosplay on hold for a bit. I still have photo shoots planned for this year, definitely not as many as I had originally liked. But I need to take time away from my phone and social media, and start spending WAY more time with my husband and son!

So, yes, I am taking a break from almost all projects except my illustration I’m working on. And yes, I will be back soon! 

Blessed Life

Good morning lovelies! I had the greatest treat this rainy Saturday morning! I wanted to take this photo so that I could always remember today. This is me, no makeup, bags under my eyes, messy morning hair, and only one filter (the B&W one lol). Here’s the story;  My hubby let me sleep in until whenever I wanted to wakeup (so noon, lol!), and it all started with him quietly coming in the room. I heard some ruffling and awoke, stretched out my arms and my hand just so happened to perfectly land in his. I looked up, whispered “you’re smoothe…” and he smiled and left to go get my morning cup of delicious coffee. As I sipped it, I was greeted by our fat and happy cat, and upon hearing my voice, my son entered the room with his face all-a-glow and a big smile! He greeted me with a big squishy hug and kiss, and I felt undeniably blessed! I hope you all had a lovely morning as well, stay fierce! 😙

The End of 2016

I have a 2016 year in review thing but I’m working on trying to word it. I started an opening like “I did this, then got to do that other thing” and when I went back to reread it, it sounded like all I was doing was bragging. But maybe that’s a good thing? Anyways… Here’s my 2016 year in review!

There are so many wonderful things that I got to experience in 2016. I was invited back to PAX East again to join my fellow awesome Tomb Raider fans.

At PAX East. From left to right: Meagan Marie, Melonie Mac, myself, and Sara Croft.

At PAX East I also had the honor of meeting Nathan McCree, who is the genius behind the original Tomb Raider music.

I had the pleasure of spending time with Nathan McCree for the whole weekend at PAX East 2016.

And then, during my trip to PAX something magical happened. During the Tomb Raider panel, Meagan Marie had me stand up and say hello to the entire audience. I was left speechless and eternally grateful.

A round of applause for my 18 yr. dedication to Tomb Raider and my Lara Croft cosplay.

I also got to hang out with my best friend Sara again, God I love that girl!!

At the hotel room. Sara and I all decked out getting ready to go to a dinner party with people from IGN, and the Tomb Raider franchise.

I was also filmed for promotional footage for the Tomb Raider 20 year Celebration at PAX!

Behind the scenes shot of being filmed for an official promotional video for the Tomb Raider 20 Years Celebration. Photo taken by Meagan Marie I believe.

I was pulled aside and got to do a photo shoot with the famous, world renowned, photographer Martin Wong.

I still can’t believe my dumbass wore my latex top inside out! How embarrassing! Photo by Martin Wong.

And when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I was then hired and invited as the Official Lara Croft Cosplay Ambassador for San Diego Comic Con. I was flown out and shared a hotel room with my other best friend, the famous, Jenn Croft!

Our fancy hotel room at The Hard Rock hotel!

We did lots and lots of filming for promotional stuff!

This guy was SUCH a trooper wearing the bear costume in insanely hot weather! Luckily we had Robin taking care of us, and she kept everyone healthy and hydrated!
Figuring out how to get the next shot with Jenn Croft.
More filming with Jenn Croft.
You can believe there was LOTS of goofing off and fun!!

And Jenn took really good care of me.

Jenn helping me do my hair and special fx makeup!

I got awkwardly hit on by Jared Leto while we were waiting for the elevator to get to our Tomb Raider panel. Speaking of panel… Man, I thought at PAX East I was spoiled by being called up to say hello. But SDCC takes the cake. Not only was I called up to panel, again, Meagan told the audience about how much of a dedicated fan I am, and that I was now an official Ambassador for their games because of my dedication, and that meant so much to me. But honestly, the fact I got to stand by my friends side, and be recognized together, with her, makes it SO much more special to me!

I got to meet Andy Park, Brian Horton, Noah Hughes, Phillip Sevy, Camilla Luddington, Earl Baylon, and SO many other incredibly talented people.

You can see how short I am here, haha! From left to right: Me, Jenn Croft, Camilla Luddington (voice actress of Lara Croft from Tomb Raider), and Melonie Mac.
Myself with Earl Baylon, voice actor of Jonah from Tomb Raider.
At our private Tomb Raider community dinner.
It was SO good seeing Carla Croft again, and I had the pleasure of meeting Issac Cabrera. He’s an incredibly talented artist!!
Another community dinner! I was so sad I had to leave early that night. I think the jetlag and anxiety caught up with me at that point. Luckily Sebastian was very nice and walked me safely back to my hotel room.

I was also interviewed for Meagan Marie’s official Tomb Raider book “20 Years of Tomb Raider

Myself holding my copy of Meagan Marie’s official Tomb Raider book “20 Years of Tomb Raider” that I was interviewed for.

After SDCC I came back home to Maine, where I got a chance to finish my Tomb Raider fan film for our dear friend Kate!

Tomb Raider: Hunted. A fan film written by Kate Sykes.

In 2016 I also sold a lot of my artwork and cosplay prints!

I was so proud of this painting, and even happier that it sold!

I was a witness to my friend getting married to his wife! And so many other wonderful things! I’m in a bit of a rhythm atm, so when I remember more amazing things I will post them! Looking back now, it really seems as though 2016 was the year of Tomb Raider for me!!!

Meet Dreadie Jr.!

Annie in her early stages of pregnancy in Neptune, NJ. Photo by Shu of EAT Photography 2011.

Quick! A backstory… In my early stages of pregnancy with my goober of a son, I had such a fierce craving to grow dreadlocks! It started off with one little tiny baby dreadlock tucked away underneath all my hair. I believe my then fiance (now husband) had helped me palm roll it when we first moved to Maine. We didn’t have many belongings, just a dog and a car full of misc. shit we deemed worthy to travel with for 10+ hours. We moved into a hotel for a little while until we could secure another place to live. I remember it like it was yesterday, a small baby bump, and a baby dreadlock growing at the same time, I remember looking into the hotel mirror and being so happy and content with my lot. A few minutes later we bundled up and took a trip to Schoodic.

Trip to Schoodic 2011. Photo by Shu of EAT Photography. (You can see said baby dreadlock’s silhoutte in this picture!)

One hidden dread turned into five hidden dreads, then, eventually they took over my whole head. 

About to pop! Possibly 8 months pregnant grabbing a bite to eat at some Restaurant in Ellsworth, ME. Photo by Shu of EAT Photography.

I was about 8 or 9 months when I had my long locks. And then my son was born. And it became a difficult balancing act of managing a ton of dreads and a newborn baby. So I got rid of them all. And, to my dismay, my hair was left in ruin. Then it didn’t help that I bleached the hell out of it for no fucking reason.

Christmas, I honestly forget which year this was, lol!

Fast forward a few years down the road to August 1, 2015 and BAM! I shaved almost all my hair off! Biiiiiiiig mistake! Don’t get me wrong, it had its perks… I definitely felt more badass, and I also don’t recall ever getting honked at as much before by guys in passing cars. But that’s just not me.

When Annie shaved her head. Yes, this look was entirely inspired by Ruby Rose!

A little while before this photo was taken is when I lost myself. I was heavy into trying to promote my cosplay work it became a second job. And it just went downhill from there. It lost its spark for me, and the happiness and joy I would normally get from it faded away. I got swept up in feeling like my self worth depended on how many likes a photo got, or what strangers had to say about how I looked and acted. It began affecting me in my daily life. I went from this free spirit who didn’t give a shit what people thought about her, to someone who was extremely insecure and scared to say or do the wrong thing. I went from not wearing any makeup and rolling out of the bed with my hair a mess, to spending hours in front of the mirror with negative OCD affirmations in my daily routine and lordy did I cake on the makeup!

I found myself spiraling out of control and tried to cover it up with makeup and a side glanced selfie.”

But I am taking my life, and happiness, back! I am (slowly) reclaiming what I once had inside me all along. To hell with social media! Yes, I am a mother and wife now, but that does not mean my foul mouthed free spirit needs to shrivel up and collect dust in some secret hidden cabinet in an unused room. It should be embraced, loved, and let shine! ☉ 

And thus, Dreadie Jr. was born.

Dreadie Jr. Circa December 2016 with a cameo appearance of my nut job hubby, Shu.

Progress

It’s getting there. I will make this space my home, my sanctuary for creativity.

“Progress” by Annie Roig-Pate 2016

On another note, DUDE I AM SO EXCITED! Seriously, this means so much to me. For the past few years this is the first time I have a concrete room to call my own! My husband has his nerd nook, and now I have my own spot! Ahhhh…. so nice.

Ooh, I must add! That wallpaper has been a bitch to get off, but it’s oddly satisfying tearing it off piece by little piece. It’s like slowly trying to pick off a cocoon shell!

Ophiel’s Garden of Creativity

My story is a simple one. Just like anyone else really. I grew up in New Jersey and fell in love with art from a very young age. My favorite memories growing up with art include many a summer day either in my room or in my grandparent’s incredible log cabin house tucked deep away in the Blue Ridge, GA woods. I loved to find old Looney Tunes coloring books and use them as a reference to draw them on a different piece of paper. I’d then color it in and give it to my grandma. Or I would stay up until the sunrise with my best friend drawing endless pages of our own made up Sailor Moon characters! Life back then was good. And as long as I am surrounded with art, I am good. 

I am just rambling on now at this point. If I still have your attention that’s good. Because I would like to share something with you. A painting I did last night. The inspiration arose from quite a not-so-happy place. But the painting itself makes me giggle so much! You see, my husband and I had gotten into an argument. Feelings were hurt, uncomfortable sentences were said out loud. Realizations were made and then there was pure forgiveness. Just like anyone in a relationship knows, shit’s gonna get real sometimes. But after everything was said and done, and I sat on the floor, propped up against the bed in a sea of tissues, and possibly the worst stuffy nose and swollen face, we were able to look at each other and laugh. All because of a joke that I had made, ‘my husband’s life right now reminds me of a sad, half deflated balloon that’s just barely hovering the surface of the ground, and it’s being rained on.‘ And thus, “Cheer up Charlie.” was born.
“Cheer up Charlie” by Annie Roig-Pate 2016