Sunday, November 1, 2009


In honor of Halloween (which was yesterday, but why let the festivities stop?!), I thought I would show a series of paintings I made of people in costume. I love costumes, and pretending to be someone/thing else for a little while... it must be my inner theater geek coming out!

These acrylic portraits are part of a series depicting real people who like to dress up as a hobby, and not just for Halloween. Though in many cases it can be very theatrical, it is not necessarily for plays, either. It was a lot of fun working with the models, who were so generous and patient! Though I haven't worked on this project since the initial few weeks that I made for a class, I would love to continue it sometime!

In their own words:

I believe that breaking away from reality is extremely fun, but it’s also a necessary release especially during stressful times. You have to express yourself! You have to go out of normal, out of mind, and have fun!

I’ve always loved mythological art, ever since going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art when I was little and seeing the masters’ work. It’s an entire world away from where we live. You can take that, break away from reality. Go with it!

It took about four weeks to make this costume. For the hooves, my Aunt Margaret is a
physical therapist and raises show horses, so she knew how to help me make this costume! She thought I was going out of my mind, and it was great! She loved the way it came out, though.

I was inspired by the Minnesota Renaissance Fair, I went for the first time last year and I was hooked. I wore this there a bunch of times.

Don’t be afraid to have fun and step out of what’s normal, no matter how strange or goofy. Just go out and go for it, enjoy every strange look, every laugh, enjoy every bit of it!

I am dressed up like Princess Tutu. I really like the show and the characters!

Acting is definitely a part of it, becoming someone else for a little while. It’s a lot of fun.

I made this costume, and I had to make decisions, because I couldn’t afford an expensive costume. It’s not professional or anything, but it works, and that’s what’s important. I wasn’t keeping track of how long it took to make it, but I think it was about ten hours.

I started making it for Halloween, and I made a lot of revisions since then. It can always be revised!

I just went to my first convention, and it was fun being around other people who were dressed up! I also like the idea of LARP [Live Action Role Play]. It seems very magical, like Halloween any time of the year.

When I go to conventions, I work in the Artists’ Alley. A bright colored costume draws people over and brings good business. It’s also fun, I mean, how often do you get to wear goofy clothes?

I mostly do anime and Harry Potter costumes. Once I cosplayed as an American superhero, and it was not very interesting. I find Japanese costumes more interesting. I find anime more interesting because it is more character-driven, it has a more cohesive story line with a clear beginning, middle, and end, and I don’t worry about story inconsistencies. American comic series keep on going on and on and on to make more money.

I cosplay with dolls, hell yeah! Costumes are easier to make for dolls-- they have less fabric, they don’t have to be comfortable, and you don’t have to put them on traditionally. I can pop the hands right off if I can’t get the sleeves on! You don’t have to worry about hair because it’s a wig, and the dolls don’t care. If I need to swap the eyes out, then they get swapped!

With dolls, you don’t have to worry about body type. I believe people should dress according to body type. I don’t care HOW much you like Sailor Moon, really fat girls should not dress up like Sailor Moon!

The worst thing is Man-Faye. Faye is a character from Cowboy Bebop, and she’s very sexy, flat out sexy, a bombshell. Man-Faye is a fairly unattractive man who wears her costume, including garters. Man-Faye is not good. Very scary! He has a happy trail, yellow mini-skirt, stockings, and garters! You have to Google him!

I’m dressed as Yuki-Sohma from Fruits Basket. It is like acting a bit, and I like the idea of having the ability to don another personality. Not only do I look like my character, I think about his personality. The way Yuki speaks, he has a softer tone of voice, he’s thought of as a prince.

It makes you find different quirks inside your own prismatic personality. As an artist, you think of yourself as an individual, when you are actually just a sum of many parts.

At first, I dressed up as Yuki when my friend was going as Momiji. We wanted to be similar characters with Fruits Basket characters. I developed a reason to be bitter and angsty, it gave me a chance to practice acting. I’m usually pretty optimistic! Maybe, I guess it is almost an outlet for such feelings.

It’s just fun, it’s another form of fun for me.

I’m a big fan of karaoke. At a con, I try to pick songs based on the character I’m going as. For this character, I would pick “King of Pain” by The Police.

There are three unwritten rules: you don’t take your head off around non-suiters, you don’t talk while you’re in costume, and you don’t give out your real name. When you’re in costume, you’re in costume. You are associated with your character and not your real name.

Throughout my life, I drew myself as some sort of animal character in comic form. I was a cat named Naomi, then a dog, and now I’m a ferret, because people have compared me to a ferret! Drawing these comics made me laugh to feel better, and then I found out that other people did this, too. It’s all about expressing yourself, it’s another type of art.

There are people who do this in a sexual aspect. Would I? No. I think it’s stupid. Someone worked really hard to make these costumes, and then they would cut a hole in it, or mess it up. You can’t put the costumes in the wash, either, they would melt!

I use costuming to entertain others. It’s fun! On Easter, a few of us went to the park and played with the kids. If I can make a nice costume, I would like dress up for Humane Society events to help raise awareness.

I do it just to have fun. We act like a bunch of goofballs!

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