This week I interviewed @supermagicpowers !
- Tell me about yourself:
“I run the Cosmic Academy for Curious Youngsters. I project a lot of youth; kids always tell me I am not really a grown up. I don’t feel old in the head, but I do in the body. I worry about losing my magic all the time, but I don’t think it’s gone yet. I love making things my own, I love kids, and I love connecting with my core self. I think most people should look back into what made themselves happy as a child to find their core self. As the great Dean Koontz once said, “The future is the only way back.” My super true love is Billy Lilly, and he is the best magic maker I know, and is very inspiring. It’s funny because I think he’s the best, but he would stop if I wasn’t kicking him the butt, saying keep going. Behind every great man is a woman kicking them in the butt. I love my family, and I have had some truly special moments with them. The spirit of Santa is real, and that’s all I’m saying.”
2. What is Cosmic Academy?
“The Cosmic Academy for Curious Youngsters is something Billy and I cooked up when I was very unhappy with my job at a daycare. We wanted to start a program that would be for the weirdos essentially. The kids that were living life as art, but not knowing it yet. We are in a small town, and the art options for kids are VERY limited. Children are naturally artists, and we want to keep that alive in them. The energy in most schools right now zaps that, encourages everything but creativity most of the time.
One of the huge things we push is that you do not have to be able to replicate real life. Realism is not always the goal! We hear so many kids say, “it doesn’t look like the real thing.” GREAT! That’s perfect, if we wanted the real thing, we would take a photo.
We make tons of art with these kids, we write songs, we make videos, we teach them everything we know, and they teach us a lot too. One of our favorite things to do is write hand jives. We have hand jives about topics ranging from dadaism to what we named our belly buttons.
This life comes with interesting challenges too. Most kids only draw their own gender and their race. Oh, and SKINNY IS THE ONLY BODY TYPE. It’s crazy, not really something I thought about too much before. When you start thinking about representation, you start to notice how much there ISN’T. It’s really cool because as soon as I learn something new, I have this whole audience who I get to teach it to. We have had a lot of discussion about drawing how all people look, and the results, of course, fantastic. I do get pushback sometimes; I once got a phone call about a boy drawing Sailor Moon. It was spectacular, but not everyone thought so. Ugh, oh well, I get to experience more magical moments that anyone I have ever met.
The kids are raw and pure, and so FUNNY. When you let the kids know, they are free to explore inside their own mind, you get some interesting perspectives. I love to play, so when a child says they have another personality, I am all about it. I take it seriously because of course, I have some characters I like to play too. One is Miss Bad Teacher, inspired by the book, Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard, illustrated by the incomparable James Marshall. She’s a big hit, gets them a little too crazy, but she’s super fun in small doses. Miss Sunshine is ultra-sugary sweet, sort of Snow-White level nice but, good lord, they liked her too much, so she had to have a reboot, now she’s a germaphobe who can’t stand when the kids touch her. I had to do something; I was getting jealous!
I get sad when they start to get obsessed with technology. It’s like watching the treehouse they played with everyday fall into the disrepair. The great thing is more kids keep coming! My fantasy is that the Cosmic kids get older, and they stick around, they volunteer through their teen years (we call that being a Cosmic Elder), helping raise up the next generation of Cosmic, and once they are an adult, well then, they are our friend! And Cosmic gets bigger, and I get to hire all the Cosmic kids who stuck around, and soon we are on TV, talking about how great it is to live your dream. I mean really, most days are a dream. I spend all day playing, making things, helping kids, or planning on doing all those things. What more could I want? “
3. If you have to choose three pop culture icons (alive or dead) that best describe your fashion style. Who would you pick and why?
“Miss Frizzle- I mean she’s pretty self-explanatory. I loved how everything she had on was the part of the theme. The dresses were amazing, but the shoes! Wow oh wow! I stopped trying to squeeze my wide feet into “normal” shoes, I have embraced my cavewomen heart and am strictly a Croc person. I wish there were dinosaur themed heels that felt like a Croc, but alas.
Grandma Rabbit- I would say she is not a pop culture icon, but she was to me. She is the main figure in the children’s book called Where’s Grandma Rabbit? As soon as I saw the cover, I knew that was who I wanted to be. She is on a green and blue bicycle with one baby rabbit in the basket, and one in the bike baby seat behind her. She has on an amazing outfit; fit for the queen she is. I am sending over a picture. She falls asleep on the haunted house ride, and later ends up dancing the night away with a pilot. Grandma Rabbit knows how to party.
Pee Wee’s Playhouse- What’s not to like? The playhouse has a little of everything. I love mixing up all the good stuff. I love that it’s not just for boys or girls. It is kind of messy and chaotic. I even love when it’s decorated for every holiday at once.”
4. What is the inspiration behind the images of the sweatshirt you made?
“Last year, our Cosmic Kids had not gone back to school in the fall because of the coronavirus, so we had a lot more time with them. After online schooling was done, we still had about five hours to make things. We went whole hog into Halloween decorations, and it was very inspiring. I was doing a lot of research into vintage decorations to get ideas for our projects. I was wanting to make some Halloween shirts for myself, but I wanted something more colorful. The kids were very into clay then, and I got into it too. I have always loved the idea of something with a lot of texture and even dimension printed on to clothing, so Billy showed me how to make a shirt design, and that was it!”
5.Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?
“Well, right now I am working on episode 3 of Cosmic TV, which is a short YouTube show Billy and I started making when we were shut down because of Covid. We wanted to have a way to connect with the kids even though we couldn’t be together. We aren’t shut down now, but the kids love the two episodes we have, and have been helping me with this one. It’s the fashion episode, and it’s very fun. We have some special guests, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.
I am also working on a Super True Love sword. Since I was a teenager, I really wanted colorful weapons. I have no idea why I wanted these so bad, but I sure did! I never really had the confidence to try to make my dream a reality. I don’t need them to hurt anyone, just give the energy I want so I am customizing fake weapons. We will see what happens haha.”
If you like to learn more about Abbigail. Here is her following contact information: https://www.instagram.com/supermagicpowers/