Cosplay Confessions is yet another monthly feature I’ve added to my blog, though I’ve sort of been away from posting for a few months due to my new side job. Every month (and maybe twice a month), I plan on featuring a different cosplayer and my interview with them, along with photos featuring their cosplays. This will not only be beneficial to the cosplayers themselves – because any publicity is good publicity when it comes to updating your fans on which conventions you’ll be at, and what you’re working on – but it will also be beneficial to those who are interested in cosplay as a hobby.
Since this is a somewhat-new feature, I have asked some cosplayers I know to fill out my questions and it’s my great pleasure to introduce a local Maine cosplayer, Jesse James Cray – whom I originally met at Port Con, here in maine, I believe. He always picks really interesting cosplays to tackle (From Mage Knight characters to Scrooge McDuck) and is really enthusiastic about his hobby. He also throws a lot of cosplay-friendly parties, providing an atmosphere for those of his cosplay-oriented friends to gravitate to. Say hello to Jesse James Cray Cosplay.
On to the interview!
QUESTION: Hello! Many people reading this may not know much about you. Please tell us a little bit about yourself. How long have you been cosplaying?
Well, my introduction into cosplay was a little unique. A few years ago I was a DJ for a weekly Goth/Industrial night. Periodically they would do “theme” nights and encourage folks to dress in costume for the events. In an effort to help support the night and motivate others, I started to dress up for them and immediately became hooked. I always had a propensity for dressing in bizarre ways and this just gave me the excuse I was looking for. I had already been attending conventions for a while, at that point, so eventually I just progressed into cosplaying. I have always been a huge fan of standing out and being different, so this hobby definitely enables me to do so. Asides from that, I’m just a mild-mannered IT professional and martial artist with a wide variety of interests. As far as how I see myself, I’m an eccentric in an entertaining sort of way.
QUESTION: Do you attend many conventions? Which ones are your favorite to attend?
I have attended a good number of conventions for many years. I usually prefer the ones centered around gaming but I have also attended anime and comic book ones with much enjoyment. My favorite event would have to be MAGfest – it’s four straight days of gaming and concerts!
QUESTION: Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to cosplaying?
Elitism and drama are my biggest pet peeves. For any number of reasons I feel some cosplayers take the hobby too seriously. This takes away from the fun and the shared joy we can have. There is, sadly, a lot of pressure to be competitive and the criticisms can be very harsh. None of us are born pros and many of us do not have the socially ideal physique. I can talk forever about this topic but in an effort to keep this short and positive I’ll just summarize. We are just playing dress up, like children do, to make friends, show appreciation, and to look cool. Anyone who can’t acknowledge and enjoy that fact is seriously missing out on a lot of fun. This is also the biggest reason I don’t partake in contests.
QUESTION: What’s one cosplay project you’d like to do in the future?
Too many to list and this can range from the highly likely to the near impossible. I guess my three main goals is to get better making armor so I can make much larger pieces that are durable yet comfortable. I also aspire to lose weight so I can more comfortably and confidently do a wider range of cosplays. Lastly one of my goals is to build a costume of my own design that I feel would be the maximum expression of me.
QUESTION: Are there any cosplayers (professional or otherwise) who inspire you? If so, why?
There are a number of famous cosplayers that I enjoy seeing what they come up with. Honestly, this might come off as a cheesy cop-out but my friends and other cosplayers I know are my biggest inspirations. Seeing what others do and come up with is very exciting to me. Seeing folks being just as enthusiastic in dressing in unique and expressive ways is pretty rad. I really appreciate it when I see someone do a costume that is unique and thoughtful!
QUESTION: What do you think sets you apart from other cosplayers?
I seriously doubt I have done anything that hasn’t been done before but let me think of method styles that I can identify with. So here is a list of traits and methods my own cosplays tend to exhibit:
- Can do a lot with limited materials
- Use 1 inch grid paper to make templates for my props and costumes.
- Tend to build very large weapon props.
- Make duct tape look convincing.
- Use my electrical knowledge to put lights into my costumes.
QUESTION: Any advice for someone wishing to begin cosplaying?
Cosplay is very expensive and time consuming, so you might want to start small and work up. I’ve seen a lot of beginner cosplayers burn themselves out trying to do an Iron-Man or Master Chief as their first costume. Another thing, cosplaying all day can be very uncomfortable so plan accordingly. I’ve had cosplays that made it very difficult for me to eat and use the bathroom and even needed a handler to help me maneuver through crowds. Lastly, do costumes that you really want to do. Don’t let anything pressure you into doing a costume that you’re not going to have fun with. Instead, work on cosplays that will motivate you. There will always be haters but way more admirers. The final thing is-don’t worry about being perfect and don’t be too shy to experiment. I’ve seen people come up with very clever solutions to tricky cosplays.
QUESTION: Last but not least – do you have a website or Facebook page where people can check out your cosplay endeavors?
I do have a cosplay group called The Awkwardnauts. You can find the Facebook page HERE.