COMICON: beauties and the beasties

in Culture / Entertainment/Fairs by

Sometimes you just feel at home. Maybe it was all the offers of free hugs. Maybe it was the fact that no one had typical hair colour. Maybe it was the big fluffy animals coming to me for cuddles. Was I on drugs? No. I was at Comicon.

comicon photo: maeshelle west-davies
comicon photo: maeshelle west-davies

It may sound silly, but it’s big business. These fairs have been happening all over the world for more than 10 years. The first I knew of it was from a student of mine. She told us how she made all her costumes and often made them for friends as well. She’d spend months creating them. She had lots of photos on her phone. She was just a regular girl who had a hobby. She went to conventions a couple times a year. There was a whole circuit and she’d meet people and make friends and see them at the next one.

There’s even a word for it.

cos·play
ˈkäzˌplā,ˈkäsˌplā/
noun
 1. the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga and anime.
verb
 1. engage in cosplay.

It originated in 1990 in Japan, quickly spreading from the underground into popular culture. Nobuyuki Takahashi came up with the word when he went to the 1984 World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) in Los Angeles. He loved how people dressed up and the sheer scale of the space and reported on it in My Anime magazine. There is a tradition of creating words from shortened other words, ergo: Cos for costume and play for role-play.

People buy costumes, make their own or have people make them. I met several who were costume designers. The people at Monster Hunter Cosplay even offer workshops in addition to tutorials and photo shoots. Crono Works offers to “forge your desires”. They add armour and props to their bag of goodies. infinity-illusions@gmx.net for more info.

comicon photo: maeshelle west-davies
comicon photo: maeshelle west-davies

Then you also  have people who identify as performance artists, like Raiya, Misheruu and Nyra. There is a whole animexx world out there.

comicon photo: maeshelle west-davies
comicon photo: maeshelle west-davies

I hope you have as much fun looking at my photo gallery as I did shooting it. Thank you Cosplayers!

Maeshelle West-Davies gleans her varied life experiences to expose a personal perspective through a multitude of mediums. Sound, video, photography, dance, performance and public art are the tools she uses to convey her message. Her work is a response not only to a physical journey, but an emotional one, as with all of us who walk along or beside our individual paths.

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