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In the Spotlight

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“Oh hey, Akira-” Ann breaks through his soap opera induced haze- ”The new baking videos comments have started rolling in”

 

“That’s nice” Akira spares a glance towards Ann, a Cheshire grin is affixed to her face. Leaving Akira both curious and fearing for his safety. It is April Fools after all.

 

“Mhm.” The suspicious smile still hasn’t left.

 

Akira surreptitiously checks for any traps nearby. Focus on the show in front of him lost, his full attention is put on Ann and being prepared for whatever she throws at him.

 

She shoves her phone in his face.

 

Akira immediately recoils, squinting and attempting to adjust to the cornea searing brightness that is Ann’s phone screen.

 


 

Shinedown 1 hour ago

This recipe looks so good! I’ll definitely be trying this.

30 likes

 

Struts 2 hours ago

Needs moar vanilla

 

Gamergirl4420 30 minutes ago

Who’s the hottie at the end? He was so quiet X>

View 3 replies

 

Mr. SIAMES 47 minutes ago

Anyone from april 2200? Sound off

 

Badflower 15 minutes ago

That outfit was great Ann! Who did your hair?

 

Sick Puppies 23 minutes ago

“Just put as much sugar as you like in there, you have the power” 6:10 this is bad advice, one time I put 4 cups in and the cookies turned black >:( dislike

 

Powerman5000 1 hour ago

Your taste tester is new this time, who is he *owo’s intensely*

 

The Literary Detective 10 minutes ago

Hm, I should try this recipe sometime.

 


  

“Congrats! You’re famous”

 

“I’m not famous, ” Akira denies, “they’ll forget about me soon enough.

 


 

Despite Akira’s hopes, the internet’s memory lasts.

 

“C’mon Akira nowadays we get more comments about you then we do on our actual content,” Ann leans over the table, getting close -too close- to Akira’s face, “Make a channel!”

 

“I’ve already got a job though. Multiple jobs.” he looks off to the side to get a little bit more distance between himself and Ann.

 

Ryuji chooses the next moment to leap into the conversation with, “Dude, you work at like-” he pauses, counting on his fingers- “three different coffee shops, Plus the magazine shots. Couldn’t you just quit a few?”

 

“With what money? There’s no way I could make enough from the videos to make up the difference in pay”

 

“You fucking liar!!” Ann says, laughing, “you could post anything and half the internet would thirst watch”

 

Akira at least has the decency to blush at that statement, refusing to dignify it with an answer, “what about Mona’s channel? You know he can’t edit the videos on his own.”

 

“And you know that that stupid cat doesn’t let you do too much editing anyway, cause it,” he pauses to add air quotes, “makes the channel feel less real.” Ryuji shakes his head disbelievingly, “don’t know how you stand it.”

 

“What would I even post, my life’s not that interesting” he knows he’s grasping at straws at this point, but facing the reality of having a large group of people’s expectations on him? Sounds like a nightmare.

 

Ryuji bursts into laughter. “Not that- Akira, did you just hear yourself? You have more crazy shit happen to you than anyone else I know. Including Haru!”

 

“That’s a lie, no-one can out weird Haru.” Ann doesn’t give Akira a chance to touch that statement before she shoots it down.

 

“Yeah, you’re right, but still, second place still means a Whole lotta weird shit”

 

“I can’t build a channel on only vlogs Ryuji”

 

“Then why not do like, an information series then? Only the gods know what kinda weird skills you know.”

 

“Hm.”

 

“Dude you know how to make latte art! Do you know how many people would watch a well filmed tutorial of that?”

 

“Don’t forget the cooking,”

 

“You know how to make molds of stuff too.”

 

“You can put together IKEA furniture without the manual, like some kind of wizard.”

 

“That thing where your draw a perfect circle?”

 

“Or climbing up the side of buildings to get the perfect shot?”

 

“All of your many knife tricks, which are scary to watch by the way.”

 

Akira’s face burns at the unexpected praise, “Okay, okay I get your point, but-” he’s interrupted by the other two beginning chanting.

 

“One of us, one of us, one of-” as they chant, Ann and Ryuji’s smiles turn to grins, before long, all of them are laughing too hard to argue anymore.”

 


  

“Welcome, I hope that you are well today and I thank you for joining me. My name is Yusuke Kitagawa. Today I will be reviewing a set of oil pastels sent to me by my dear friend Haru from Haru’s Haul, as part of a… collaboration, as I believe it is called.”

 

“I pondered for quite some time on how to properly ‘test’ an art supply as everyone’s use and experience is subjective, but eventually it was brought to my attention that since there is no way to review objectively, I should just ‘go with the flow’ as it were.”

 

“That is why I will be doing a color study using a photo with a strong depth of field. The soft background should lend itself to being rendered in pastels beautifully, while the detailed foreground should prove a challenge if the pastels do not allow me to build color properly.”

 

“As I will be showing my entire experience with this project, I will be speeding up the footage until I am finished with it. Afterwards, I will speak about my thoughts of the pastels quality.”

 

“I think that is all I have to say, with that, I will begin” Yusuke’s eyes are determined, he looks excited to start.

 

There’s a cut in the footage and the camera focuses just over Yusuke’s shoulder as he stares at his blank canvas, a reference photo is held up by what looks like a paint splattered music stand. There’s a timer in the lower right corner of the screen.

 

There’s quite a few moments of Yusuke studying his reference photo and the canvas in front of him, his movements are jerky, sped up, but even so he sits. Contemplating.

 

Then, in a flurry of movement he begins. First, with a pencil, the lines flowing onto the canvas like fluid, a river translating his reference through the graphite one pass at a time.

 

Yusuke’s movements are swift and fluid, moving at a pace faster than any human could achieve, soft, quiet music plays, layering over the silence of the sped up video and giving the sense of a rhythm being born in the chaos of rendering the first sketch.

 

This continues for some time, Yusuke, a dancer to a beat he cannot hear. Every stroke practiced, a skill honed for hours and giving off the impression of effortlessness.

 

Finally, the first sketch is done. Yusuke puts down the pencil, stretching.

 

Yusuke stands, taking steps away from the canvas, at first he looks like he’s just stretching his legs, but, he turns to look at it as a whole. Forming a cheesy frame with his fingers.

 

He’s back in his seat in a blink of an eye, making corrections, fixing lines.

 

Finally he stops, pausing to look again at his work.

 

The room around him is bland, there’s a couch just barely in view of the camera and an empty hallway to the right.

 

An offscreen window providing natural light casts beams across Yusuke’s cheek, and they move and dance as time passes.

 

Yusuke pulls out the oil pastels. There’s a long pause as he considers them, glancing between the sketch, the reference, and the pastels.

 

He selects the first color and from there his pace increases rapidly. Yusuke visibly loses himself in the application of colors, the blending and smudging, his hands becoming stained with pigment and a stray mark finding it’s way onto his forehead as he fiddles with his bangs. Despite the bright light coming from outside, Yusuke’s lost to the world. His focus honed in on nothing but the work in front of him and the reference to his side.

 

That is, until someone else arrives.

 

The timelapse doesn’t stop, but a man with dark hair and long legs approaches Yusuke, talking to him for a few minutes, if the timer is to be believed, but it amounts to only a few seconds for the viewers.

 

His eyes are kind before he turns and walks away.

 

Then, he’s back. Carrying a large ceramic mug that he hands to Yusuke. A mug that’s accepted with a smile. They speak for a bit longer, then, the man is gone, just as quickly as he arrived.

 

The rest of the drawing goes normally, and by the time Yusuke is finished, there’s no trace of the natural lighting from before, the timer shows an insane eight hours of continuous work.

 

“And there we have it, I can say with confidence now that I know enough to have an informed opinion”

 

The painting is a man walking away from the ‘camera’ which is close to the ground, looking up. His bright red shoes are the only thing in stark clarity.

 

The shoes are enough, though.

 

They show a story, a history.

 

The grass stains and worn soles show a pair of shoes well worn, well loved. The laces are new, unfrayed, recently replaced despite the shoes age. The sides where canvas meets the sole is beginning to tear, showing the barest peak of black socks.

 

Around him is a field of grass while he follows a dirt path that’s thin enough that only one person can walk along it without crossing the sides.

 

The field is rendered vaguely, with long, sweeping strokes of bright greens and gentle yellows. The long blades of grass are bowed in a gust of wind that can almost be felt, just by staring for too long.

 

“I had an interesting time with making this painting. Originally, I was going to stay as close to the original reference as possible, but something about the way the pastels smudged together made me want to add movement , to brighten the colors until the field around the model was something magical, but also untouchable.” he speaks of the experience with a kind of passion, his voice running through different tones and emotions in a way that could make anyone want to run with him.

 

“I thought I would have issues with bringing the shoes to life, but I was pleasantly surprised with the tone I was able to build.”

 

“However, I did think that the pastels were too soft, it made applying layers more difficult then I would have liked.” he shows that the colors he used were worn away quite a fair amount. “ I don’t think these would last very long. Unlike some other supplies, in which one item would last you many paintings.”

 

He ambles along like this, describing the things he liked, the things he didn’t, improvements he wishes could be made. By the time he’s finished his review, the video is edging towards fifty minutes long.

 

“And with that, I do think I’ve run out of things to say.” he muses, surprised. “And so concludes today's video, I do sincerely hope that those watching were able to find some pleasure in me and my process, or found my test of this product useful.”

 

“As always I’d like to thank the camera guy on instagram for their continued support and their generous allowance of their photos for my use as reference, and Haru, for sending me supplies to test.”

 

“I hope you will join me again, until then, I bid you farewell.”