Say what you like about the Groundhog-esque sensory overload that was this year but few people sought to challenge the pervading sense of doom and foreboding by punching a light of hope through the narrative.
Step forward L.A born visual creator and all round good egg Jonathan Belle. Rising as he did from his own Fortress of Solitude he went on a mission to deliver his own brand of positive messaging through the power of knowledge and creativity and swiftly became someone I and countless others from all over the world enjoy to watch and learn from.
A quick trip to his socials will bring you through an absolute symphony of incredible creative projects to include his wonderful Photography which when married to another of his creative outlets 'Cosplaying' makes for something which is at a level I'd never seen before.
A few years back a vehicle accident on a freeway which could have had dire consequences for him resulted in Jonathan believing that life is much more than material wealth. The over-riding sense of needing to be happy and pursuing what he loves to do prevailed and he quit his job and drove to Seattle where he delivered the value of hope to many in becoming his favourite childhood hero 'Superman'.
5 years on he's become one of Social Media's most recognisable figures cutting a dash across America dressed as the characters he loves. Indeed, it was this that brought him to the attention of none other than DC Comics, which is incredible in itself.
Of course it would be remiss of me not to mention how influential he has also become in bringing the genre of Synthwave to a larger audience and his regular video's on You Tube 'Synthwave and Chill' make any Artists day when they know they've been featured.
With all this and more Forged in Neon where incredibly happy that he agreed to this interview, I do hope you enjoy it as much as we did putting it together!
Take a look!
Firstly, let me thank you for your time today, I’ve been loving the content you’ve produced thus far on your socials and of course your music, we’ll get to that in a moment but how do you think this year has gone for you creatively speaking?
You’re welcome! Thank you for wanting to talk with me!! Creatively speaking, it has been a year of somewhat in-betweens. Honestly it hasn’t been bad year for me, a long one though haha. I have started a lot of projects, half finished some, fully completed others and a lot of them are still an idea.
This year I was set on learning how to organize my creative process. And it has helped. By organize I mean writing down to-do list, making storyboards, know what I am going to record before I hit record, clean up props right away as soon as I am finished recording. Little things that I don’t do that add up to time wasted. Streamlining the process was a challenge this year.
Of course, some of the community I’m involved with are most familiar with your brilliant ‘Synthwave and Chill’ videos on You Tube, what inspired you to start those?
I wanted to start taking YouTube seriously for awhile now. I haven’t found the right thing for me to stay consistent with though. However, I think I found it with Synthwave!! I spend a lot of my time in the car and this was one of the original ideas I had for a channel, however I didn’t think it would work out that well. But, you never know right? So I tried it. Also making videos consistently is a great way for me to practice videography and Cinematography and storytelling. Eventually there are some ideas I want to put out in the world (with video) so using Synthwave and Chill to practice is essentially what I am doing.
What motivates you in life?
Telling stories, traveling and wanting to inspire others.
Telling stories is my “art” haha for the most part. With Music, photography, videography, heck all the different aspects I try to articulate how something makes me feel… I love it.
I also love to travel! The feeling I get from being a new place for the first time is amazing for me!
I also hope to be an inspiration and inspire people to express themselves, especially creatively!
Tell us a little about your creative processes for both Photography and music, where do you draw inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from music usually. At least for my photography. I try to take pictures to show how lyrics and songs make me feel. Musically wise, I try to pull from some of what inspires feelings of happiness. And how to translate that into a melody.
With respect to the fantastic music you create what do you feel is the most distinctive aspect of it?
I don’t even know if there is one hahaha. Well at least not yet. I am still figuring a lot of things out.
Of your entire discography what is the one track that resonates with you? Why?
“An Ideal to Strive Towards” it was the first one I started and Completed. It was a challenging process and something I did in 2020 quarantine. After I did that one, I knew I could do other things.
What is the one guilty pleasure that you cannot live without?
Ahhhh that is a hard one. I love taking baths! And whenever I am in places with showers for too long, It makes taking a bath more savory.
What has been the most cherished memory of your creative journey to date?
I had a goal to be recognized by DC Comics as Superman, and DC COMICS posted a picture of me in my Superman Cosplay on their official Superman Instagram and social medias. That was a great day for me!
You seem to live a nomadic almost enviable lifestyle, always discovering yourself and surroundings. You’re on record chatting about your subconscious identity and being fearful of commitment, has this changed for you in anyway in the intervening years?
It has not, although I feel like it may be getting kinda close. The more ideas I have, the more things I want to buy, like wardrobe and props and whatnot. More cosplays. The “problem” with that is space. Currently I still don’t have an apartment. My work pays for my hotels when I travel. So Space is limited. Currently I have two storage units. One in Philly and one in Seattle. Eventually I would like to find a city to have a home base. However, I know I haven’t lived everywhere I would like to consider for that. Sooooooo I don’t know. Relationship wise it has definitely “Kept” me from anything long-term. Quotes because I do it to myself.
What started your love for cosplay?
Probably my love for dressing up. Wearing clothing that wouldn’t seem “Normal” Before the full blown Superman Cosplay I used to wear a sweatshirt and a full length cape that was attached to it. I like how I feel when I wear things that make me feel good. And Cosplay is one aspect of that.
Heading back to Synthwave, who are you loving right now? Who are your go to listens?
Haha I honestly can’t really answer that. Because of YouTube I try to listen to new stuff on camera for the first time. But when I do want to hear things I have heard before, I usually turn to specific songs from multiple artists, as opposed to shuffling through one artists’ collection.
Synthwave in of itself is going through some growing pains with some of the exasperated masses suggesting it sounds too samey, have you any advice for Artists on what it takes to stand out?
I don’t. I see your point though. It takes a lot to pull people away from the sounds they want to hear. Artists make music for themselves. But they also make music for masses. So its one of those things you gotta be ok with. I guess my advice would be to tune all it out and make what you like. Some people will love it, some will hate it. I can say this so easily because of my YouTube. Reading comments is a trip sometimes. Everything is subjective in music.
Can you tell us a little more about any current or future projects in the pipeline?
Yes, I am starting to dabble a bit with 360 video. Should be some very cool stuff coming out in the near-ish future. That's Youtube. Cosplay I plan on doing some Spiderman related stuff next year! And I have a new Superman Suit coming very soon.
The best life advice you’ve ever received?
“You can always find a job” Meaning “You will always have an opportunity to make money when you need to.” My mother told me this when I was planning my nomadic life and wondering if sometimes things might not work out. I might not want to work being on this creative path. But I am fortunate to be able to make extra money if I need to.
A message to your fans?
Thanks for tuning in to this journey this far! I appreciate the support immensely.
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