Kugali Spotlight: Ntocha
Anthony Van Den Reysen, better known as Ntocha, is an art teacher at MJM Graphics High School. The Brazzaville-born and Paris raised artist has been drawing since he can remember. His passion for the craft led him to study 3D animation at ISARTDIGITAL (Higher Institute of Digital Art). Since then he has been working on personal projects and made several appearances in various conventions around Europe including Switzerland (Polymanga), Belgium (ComicCon Bxl) and France (Paris Manga, Japan Expo, ComicCon Paris, Paris Comics Expo, Geekopolis).
K: What gave you the courage to pursue a career in art?
N: I knew very young that I liked to draw. Initially, it was for leisure but it quickly became a passion and is now a profession. Rather than courage, I think it is perseverance and motivation, actually it is hard work, which discourages most, but we must have this passion that even pushes us to go beyond our constraints and difficulty.
K: Describe the reaction of your family and close friends when you told them you want to pursue a career in art
N: It was not a surprise, rather an obvious for my loved ones. They have always supported me and still support me today.
K: Now that you are professional there is a certain level of quality your fans have come to expect. Has this changed your process creative?
N: I am very hard with myself. I’m not looking for perfection but I’m looking to improve myself to make my job easier. My creative process is based mainly on learning and practice, these are two principles that are essential for me and that allow me to evolve. So I don’t accept the demands of others because already, we can not satisfy everyone and I challenge myself very much but that does not prevent me from being open to criticism, it also participates in my evolution.
K: Describe your favourite job or project and why?
N: My favourite project is my current project, MAKAKU. It is a project that encompasses illustration, cartoon, video game and animation film. I begin with comics to present and set up the universe. It is a project that is close to my heart, I initiated it for almost ten years and I am only at the beginning of the adventure! There is still a long way to go.
K: Describe your worst job or project and why?
N: I haven’t had any bad experiences so far, it’s by chance!
K: Describe your creative process, from the point of inspiration to the realisation of a piece.
N: My creative process is quite simple, DRAWING. Draw, draw and still draw. Of course, this must be done intelligently, that’s what I’m trying to do. I also give a lot of time to learn, to review the basics because you can not master them enough! For example, I always start with a sketch to see what I understand about the theme, then I do a thorough research on the theme, a search for direct or indirectly concerned references and then begin the second sketch phase.
K: What do you think separates good art from great art ?
N: I have no particular judgment on that. It is something peculiar to everyone, it is felt for the most part. Certainly, there is technique which serves as a gauge between artists, some are more skilled than others. Art is subjective at the core, we all have different cultures, different morals and this is what influences our feelings, through our works.
K: When you think about beautiful art what is the first name that comes to mind?
N: I think of all those who have a lot more experience than I do, I don’t have any names in particular …
K: If you could go 5 years into the past talk to your younger self what would you say?
N: I would tell him to go around the world, but it is not too late!
K: Who are your 5 favourite artists?
N: I don’t have any favourite artists in particular, I don’t like the principle of being limited to one or a few people. Of course, there are artists who inspired me like Katsuya Terada, Masashi Kishimoto, Akira Toriyama, Katsuhiro Otomo, Moebius…but it is rather the currents that inspire me, sometimes even often without knowing the artists.
K: Describe your art in a sentence?
N: My art still needs to be enriched with knowledge.
K: What can we expect from you in the future?
N: The completion of my project things are getting there gradually. I have already produced the first issue of my comic MAKAKU independently. The next step is to produce the next issue and to explore this universe more and more. All I can say is stay connected!