The FS! Creative team sat down with John Berry, Kansas City illustrator and creator of our FightSong! Heroes to chat about the incredible characters he created for us, his inspiration and what they bring to the FightSong universe.
With Ashlan, John wanted to break as many stereotypes about Asians as he could.
Asian characters: they’re nerdy, they’re never really cool unless they’re martial artists or something like that. I thought making Ashlan a DJ would be something different-- Asian musicians in media always play the flute, violin, piano-- a very positive and cool representation. She's a passionate Korean-American musician. She’s playing instruments but she’s also a DJ, she’s a maverick musically.
How did Ashlan become a FS! hero?
Ashlan is a quiet loner, known for only taking her headphones off when she absolutely has to. There is no part of her that wants to engage with people under any circumstances. So when she saw students physically attacking another student in the lockers at school, the first thing she did was back out of the room. Her instinct was not to see this as her problem but over the next couple of days she felt worse and worse about it and finally made an anonymous report of the incident through FightSong. While it didn't solve everything perfectly in the moment for the student that was being attacked, it did lead to the expulsion of the students causing the harm.
Introducing Ashlan Park
Name: Ashlan Park
Likes: Trip hop, vapor wave, minimal wave
Dislikes: Dubstep, Hardstep, Drum and Bass
Favorite Food: Pocky, Honey Chips, Any chips tbh
Favorite Color: Does not care at all stop asking
Hair Color: Dark Brown
Eye Color: Brown
About the Artist - John Berry is an Animator, Illustrator and Teacher currently living and working in Kansas City, MO. He received a B.F.A. Degree in animation in 2012 from the Kansas City Art Institute. Since graduation he has worked as an Animator, Illustrator, Concept Artist, and a Graphic Designer. He has also been a teacher in KCAI’s Continuing Education department as an Animation Instructor since 2014 and joined the BFA program as an Animation Lecturer in 2018.