Monday, June 1, 2009

Costumes and Characters / *Virpi Kanervo* Interview

When I first met Virpi Kanervo I had recently sold MERMAIDS ON PARADE to GP Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin USA. She generously loaned me her photographs from the 2004 Mermaid Parade. Those photos helped to create some of the costumes and characters in my book.

This shark made a bold statement against the destruction of family homes in Brooklyn in order to build a sports arena.

Virpi and the Shark in MERMAIDS ON PARADE.

I really appreciate Virpi’s welcome and for introducing me to so many creative people in the Brooklyn arts community. I consider her a force of nature who channels her boundless energy in so many diverse areas.

Here’s her interview.

Q: If you had a mermaid name what would it be?

VK: Eline, because there is a famous statue of The Little Mermaid in the Copenhagen Harbor in Denmark. H.C. Anderson, who wrote the story of the little mermaid, was from Copenhagen. Eline Eriksen was the model for the statue, and she was also the wife of the sculptor Edvard Eriksen who made the statue. 
Q: How does the Coney Island community touch your life?

VK: Coney Island is that crazy never-never-land that we all need in our lives. It is especially great to have this beach-front-amusement-district-conveniently-in-the-City. Coney Island is unique and irrreplacable - especially the Mermaid Parade - and I sure hope it stays in the future. 

Q: Why do enjoy photographing the Mermaid Parade?

VK: The sun (or the rain), the light, the movement, the colors, the exitement, the comradership, the intense fun ... It is not just snapping a picture here and there, but documenting the whole ensalada that is the Mermaid Parade. 

Q: What are currently working on?

VK: I am currently working on finishing my finals and graduating. So, I am sitting in the George Washington University Law Library studying ... oops, I mean answering what I am currently working on. 
Thanks, Virpi!

Photo: Virpi Kanervo
Image: Detail from MERMAIDS ON PARADE.
Copyright Melanie Hope Greenberg

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