It’s time for another interview and this time around my subject is the ever-delightful Bethany Van Scott! Bethany, known variously online as Penanggalan, Boogle, Vera, Bogmonster etc. is a Freelance artist living and working on the east coast of Florida. I’ve been a fan of Bethany’s vibrant, engaging and often haunting art for years now, and learning that she was a fellow admirer of My Little Ponies only increased my interest in Bethany and her work, and I could not have been more excited when she agreed to take part in this interview.
So please, join me as Bethany shares her own personal journey of ponies, art, dolls and monsters.
…wait, what was that last one?
When and how did you first become interested in My Little Ponies?
I remember playing with ponies as early as age 4, but they’ve been “around” me all my life. My Aunt bought me a plush Bowtie the day before I was born and put it in my crib to come home to. I still have her 🙂 You could say my cousin is who kept me interested, as we’d play ponies in the back room of her grandma’s house all the time.
Who is your favourite pony and why?
Sweet Stuff. I always loved her in the movie and episodes, she was so… well, sweet! And the pony itself has such pleasing colors.
What would you be like if you were a My Little Pony?
I do in fact have a pony persona, though she’s just the alternate version of my ball-jointed clown doll, Boogle.
She’s bubbly, adventurous and sweet, and I imagine she would be one of the most quirky and strange additions to the MLP herd. Her markings are KittyMonster’s eyes, a plush I made a long time ago that is very near and dear to me and one of Boogle’s closest friends.
Apart from My Little Ponies, who or what is your favourite fictional equine?
Starlight from Rainbow Brite would be up there!
What is your favourite generation of My Little Pony? What do you think of the other generations?
>1980’s. The others are good, but the originals are the most special to me.
Do you collect My Little Pony toys or other merchandise?
I have about 400 of the 80’s ponies, many of which are from my childhood. I also like a lot of the merchandise from that era.
Do you collect or covet any other toys?
I collect tons of other toys and have a lot from each that I’m missing/wanting! Mostly other 80’s girly toys like Yum Yums and Hooks, but also some newer toys such as Jurassic Park and Trash Pack.
Do you keep any of your childhood toys in your room/house now? What about new toys?
I have them scattered all around my house, but most of my pony collection is in my (very suitably pink) living room 🙂
Have you seen the “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” cartoon and, if so, what do you think of it?
My boyfriend and I love it! I love the 80’s cartoons, but the newer one is a bit more gripping and well-written.
Your art strikes me as a mixture of the conventionally cute (ponies, fuzzy animals, girls etc.) and things which many people would consider creepy or “weird” (monsters, eyeballs, clowns etc.). What is your response to people who say that this combination is strange or jarring?
I’ve never actually had anyone describe it as jarring; only interesting or cool, which I appreciate. I have never been the type of person who easily fits in one genre or another; I like a vast number of things and very little creeps me out. I find beauty in and am fascinated by many things that people think negatively of, usually out of taboo or ingrained reasons. I always try to redefine the misunderstood and get people to see the alternate side of the things that disturb them.
What are the best and worst parts to you about being an artist?
Not sure how to answer this one… it’s hard to find a “bad side” to being an artist, since it’s my livelihood and something I enjoy immensely. I get frustrated with it a lot and feel stuck sometimes as I try to improve, but that’s every artist, I think.
I love monsters, but I had never heard of the Penanggalan before. Where do you do you go to learn so much about monsters and myths?
I read a lot about mythical creatures and one of my favorites are yokai/Japanese monsters and ghosts. I discovered the penanggalan years ago when reading about yokai as it’s frequently mentioned alongside yokai myths. It’s also easy to get trapped in wikipedia going from article to article and site to site.
I hear you have some rather unusual pets. Care to tell us about them?
I think most of my pets are pretty common, but then I am used to associating with all the communities for invertebrate/reptile enthusiasts, so to me, they seem common. I keep a variety of roaches in particular as they’re one of those misunderstood creatures as aforementioned. I think one of the best ways to really understand something is to study it yourself, and I’ve learned so much about them since keeping them. The vast majority of cockroaches are not at all like the ones that invade our homes. They vary greatly from species to species, and their biology is fascinating. They’ve helped people & the environment far more than they’ve hurt them, by being pollinators, helping farms by eating worse pests, providing nutrition to insect-eating creatures, and helping break down leaf litter on the ground. They even inspired a far superior artificial heart for humans.
Your various online galleries have lots of pictures of your clown character, Boogle, and even some of you in clown makeup. Have you ever performed as a clown?
I’m far too shy to perform as a clown, and I can just barely juggle and make some balloon animals thus far. I would like to start out by performing with puppets and perhaps work my way up to being comfortable in front of a group of people one day. I love to make people laugh and am pretty much an every-day clown, just not always in grease paint. : o )
If you want to see more of Bethany, her art and her collections, you can find her online at any of the following links:
– Tumblr: penanggalan.tumblr.com
– deviantART: penanggalan.deviantart.com
– Nabyn: penanggalan.nabyn.com
Every year the suburb of Belgrave holds a Lantern Parade to celebrate the Winter Solstice. This year some friends of mine who live in the are invited me to come out to visit then and stay to enjoy the festival…I naturally assumed that Firefly was included in the invite.
The parade was wonderful. Community members of all ages turned up in full force to warm hearts and light up the night with an impressive array of home-made lanterns. There were lanterns of all shapes, sizes an colours, from tin cans with shapes cut out of them and plastic bottles covered in crepe paper to an almost-life-sized viking ship (complete with child-vikings wearing light-up helmets) and a better-than-life-sized dalek…all glowing merrily in the winter evening.
It wasn’t just lanterns, either! The evening was full of fire twirlers and music…I did feel a little sorry for the belly-dancers, though, given how cold it was.
I intended to take lots of photos of the trip, only to discover when I arrived that:
A) I had forgotten my camera; and
B) I have no idea how to take effective photos of lights during the dark (Do you have any tips, readers? They would be greatly appreciated!)
Luckily I was able to find this picture of the Viking Ship Lantern online, courtesy of Yewenyi
I did manage to get one photo of Firefly with a lantern…
We all spent the rest of the night eating pizza and playing a quick, six hour game of Talisman. Talisman is a fantasy-themed board-game, which takes a notoriously long time to play, especially when you have six people playing, as we did. As it happened, after six hours of playing, with only a brief break to watch Black Caviar win her latest race, we didn’t get anywhere near finishing the game…
… although Baby Firefly was convinced she deserved the Crown of Power.
That’s all from me for now, but stay tuned! I have a very special post planned for tomorrow…
Could it really be? Two posts in as many days? Somehow I don’t think this trend will continue for long, but let’s just enjoy it while we can, shall we?
Here are a few outfits I’ve styled inspired by that innocent and fun-loving pony, Baby-Firefly. I must say, I really enjoyed putting these ones together. Every now and then it’s nice to have a bit of ‘zazz in one’s life, and with her glittery appearance Baby Firefly sure knows how to make an outfit sparkle.
This first outfit was inspired by the fact that I was visiting some friends in Belgrave last weekend for the lantern festival, a celebration held every year to coincide (roughly) with the Winter Solstice. For this reason I chose a dress with lantern sleeves, as well as warm, fluffy winter accessories (don’t forget the thermal underwear, too…Belgrave is FREEZING this time of year!). To coordinate with Baby Firefly’s overall colour scheme we have here some lovely purple tights (with Swarovski crystal accents, no less) and a metallic handbag.
Baby Firefly’s favourite past-time would, of course, have to be kite flying. Winter may not be the most traditional season for kite-flying, but maybe with some warmer accessories we could make it work? The insect theme, inspired by the name of our baby pony friend is carried through with this whimsical butterfly kite print…not to mention the dragonfly kite!
Not enough glitz in your life, Baby Firefly can sympathise! There’s no reason to despair, however. With the array of glittery accessories out there, even a plain and casual outfit can become a flamboyant cacophony of sheer SPARKLE! Bangles, shoes, belts, rings, purses…the options are virtually limitless. If you can’t find the perfect shiny accent to go with your outfit, you can always try making your own glitter heels.
I used to be crazy for purple when I was a teenager, and while I can’t say the same applies these days, I do still feel a soft spot for this colour. I can imagine Baby Firefly would be the kind of girl to drape her whole bedroom in purple, and I must admit, that purple dressing-gown does look pretty lusciously cozy. Of course, it wouldn’t be Baby Firefly’s bedroom without multiple sources of (preferably purple and sparkly) lights! I can just imagine curling up with a mug of hot chocolate (I always use real chocolate for hot-chocolates…none of that powdered stuff) and gazing up at a tangle of purple fairy-lights and imagining they’re fireflies.
Have any of you ever worn any Firefly-esque outfits? Acres of purple? Piles of glitter? If so, I’d love to see a photo!
…Well so much for those “more regular updates” I keep promising! I really don’t know how these serious bloggers do it. Perhaps I need to work on my organisational skills a bit more and rework my schedule? Maybe I just need to get better sleep so I don’t feel so run down all the time.
Anyway, let’s see if we can’t make up for some lost time with a profile of one of my favourite baby ponies, Baby Firefly.
One first thing I want to clear up about Baby Firefly is the issue of her somewhat confusing name. The original “Firefly” was an adult pegasus pony released in the second year of the My Little Pony franchise. A Baby version of this pony was released the following year and was, like all baby ponies that were based on specific adult ponies, a miniature version of her mother.
The Baby Firefly I am referring to in this post, however, is entirely different. This Baby Firefly was part of a set, the “Baby Sparkle Ponies”, who are notorious for having the same names as previously released ponies, including other baby ponies.
Confused, never mind. Here, look at the pretty pony!
I actually had a Baby Firefly when I was little, but was coerced into giving it to a friend of mine when I was in Primary School. It was for this reason that, when my childhood interest in My Little Ponies was rekindled a few years ago, Baby Firefly was one of the very first that I tracked down and bought (and probably paid a bit more than I should have for her in my enthusiasm…oops!).
Baby Firefly’s cutie mark is a kite with ribbons tied to its tail surrounded by stars.
More so than any other baby pony I have, Baby Firefly seems to capture the spirit of childhood. I think kites are perhaps the most magical item a child can play with. There is something almost indescribably wonderful about holding on to something as it flies, about feeling it pull against you. The fact that the kite depicted in Baby Firefly’s cutie mark appears to be flying completely untethered, and the fact that she herself is a pegasus, seems to perfectly express the feeling of complete freedom and innocence that we, as adults, seem to think of as characteristic of childhood (I seem to remember that it never FELT very free at the time, what with grown-ups always telling me what to do and always having to wait so long for every exciting event to come along).
I see Baby Firefly as essentially the “Peter Pan” of My Little Pony world. She represents that perfect state of childlike wonder and innocence. The desire for adventure and the endless pursuit of, and awe in the face of, new sites and experiences – rolling down a grassy hill, looking at funny shapes in the clouds, collecting insects and watching for bright lights in the skies.
Thinking about this all really makes me want to fly a kite again…I literally can’t remember the last time I did so! Unfortunately it’s a bit too parky here at the moment (ie. COMPLETELY FREEZING!) so that kind of dulls the edge of my enthusiasm to do anything outside. Also I don’t have a kite, which may also be something of an impediment. I did see some lovely kites shaped like insects and animals the last time I went to the Violet Town market, so I may have to stop by there again some day and see if I can find them again.
Are there any items or symbols that you guys think of as characteristic of childhood, either “childhood”, generally, or your own, specifically?
As I stated earlier, my boyfriend and I recently celebrated our five year anniversary. Evan may just have outdone himself this year in showing how sweet and thoughtful he is as a partner. Not only did he buy me a harmonica (I don’t play, but for years I’ve been saying that I’d love to learn), but he also made me this…
…Yep. That’s a hand-carved My Little Pony. How cute is it! Evan even carved the year and our initials on the base of of its hooves. This little fellow is roughly the size of a G1 Baby pony and was modeled after Baby Surprise. I have named him Baby Splinters.
In terms of going out to celebrate our anniversary we decided not to make any big plans. Our anniversary itself fell on a week night (right in the middle of the week, in fact!) and we had other plans for the following weekend, so we decided to have a quiet evening at home…or, at least, that’s what I thought we decided!
When I got home from work on the day of our anniversary Evan already had dinner ready for me. He then informed me that I had half an hour to eat the dinner before we “went out”. Despite my repeated inquiries and general poking in the ribs, Evan refused to tell me where we were going. He then proceeded to lead me on a baffling journey via tram and train until we finally wound up at The ABC television studios to watch the filming of Shaun Micallef’s new show, “Mad as Hell”!
I could not have been more surprised and delighted! I never really saw much of Shaun Micallef’s material before I started going out with Evan, but now we’re both huge fans. The best part of the night? Before the show Shaun Micallef actually wished Evan and I a happy anniversary!
Because we ended up having such a busy time on our anniversary and the weekend that followed it, this weekend just gone just stayed home and chilled out. I decided to relax in true, Heart Throb style with a long, frothy bubble bath.
Don’t mind the blood-red bubble bath mix! That was the result of my failed attempt to make a pink bath after reading a tutorial online. I was joined in my ablutions by this little fellow… a tiny rubber swan that I brought mack from my stay at the Langham in Hong Kong.
Heart Throb and I would like to dedicate this style post to all of the people who keep trying to tell me that you shouldn’t put pink and red together because they “clash”. Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once:
Pink IS Red.
Pink is a shade of red, and I think it’s nonsense to say that they should not be put together. Aside from that, I think people should wear any colour they want together, rather than worrying about silly fashion “rules”.
That is all I have to say on the matter. Now, on to the outfits!
In honour of my five-year anniversary with my honey, these outfits were styled around one simple question, “What would Heart-Throb wear/do to celebrate love?” Well, let’s see!
There’s nothing more romantic than a picnic…and Heart Throb agrees! I like to keep things a little casual for a picnic, with cute prints, comfy shoes, and a few whimsical accents (I seriously adore that armadillo bag!) Grab some food to share with your sweetheart (preferably something home-made), curl up on a picnic-blanket and have a nibble, perhaps accompanied by some of your favourite tunes? If you, like me, are in the southern hemisphere and are currently experiencing weather conditions that are not so conducive to dining outside, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun! Why not spread a blanket on your lounge-room floor, break out the plastic cutlery and crockery and treat yourself and a loved one to an indoor picnic. How sweet!
Perhaps you prefer a more formal event to celebrate your love? This outfit would be great for a fancy dinner date, followed perhaps by a movie or even a horse-drawn carriage ride. The cape-like sleeve on this dress has something of the sorceress or witch about it, an idea that is reinforced by carrying a love potion about your neck! This glittery-silver purse is the perfect homage to Heart-Throb’s cutie-mark, and goes great with these silver shoes… although I think a person would genuinely need to have magical powers to be able to walk in those!
Here’s a look for all the literary lovers out there. Emerge yourself in a world of unrequited love or happily ever after, whichever takes your fancy, with these earrings containing text from classic romance narratives. Curl up on a couch in this comfy dress with your favourite love story or poetry anthology and soak in the dreamy ambiance that only comes from ink on paper (e-readers just won’t cut it in this case!). Perhaps you and you sweetie could take turns reading to each other? Better yet, why not write your own poem, love letter or romantic masterpiece inspired by that special someone? A feather pendant around your neck and a quill pen to write down your deepest thoughts and desires will help keep you in touch with the love god, Eros (and with Heart-Throb, too!)
When I was a teenager there was a brand of cosmetics I loved that had on the home page of their website the following quote:
“The laws of attraction are simple: Pout like a baby, purr like a kitten, glow like a peach and bathe like a goddess,”
Not exactly the most feminist sentiment out there, but the line about bathing like a goddess always grabbed me.
I think that the perfect bath, the most indulgent and sensual of all aquatic experiences, is undoubtedly the bubble bath. Take this experience to the next level by using pink bubble bath and sipping some champagne (but don’t get these two confused!). Wearing a pretty necklace in the tub seems almost wickedly decadent, and with their bubble-like appearance pearls make the perfect choice for this. Don’t forget a small amount of your favourite chocolates to nibble on, too. The final touch is a pair of soft slippers and a big, fluffy towel to have on hand to step into when you emerge from the tub and before laying your perfectly barrel-curled head to rest on a monogrammed pillow. Talk about “goddess”! Oh, I suppose you could invite your sweetheart to join you…if you really want.
That’s all from Heart-Throb and I for now. I hope you are all having a LOVE-ly weekend.
*kisses from Pernickety and Heart-Throb* XOXO