It’s time for another interview, this time with Octavian! He’s a creative cosplayer from Oregon, who has quite the closet of costumes!
What’s your cosplay alias and why did you choose it?
My cosplay alias is Octavian. It was a name I went by when I first started going to Ren Faires and LARPs when I was a kid. I really liked a Roman Emperor of the same name and so I just kind of kept it. I sometimes go by Locatavian, as my other nickname growing up was Locke. We had a bunch of kids named Michael, so I started going by Locke when my friends and I would get together and RP from Final Fantasy VI.
How many years have you been cosplaying and what got you started?
Sakuracon 2012 marked my eleventh year as a cosplayer, so I’m going on twelve years now. I have always been into acting, role-playing, and costuming. It is why I did Ren Faires and eventually cons. I got started because anime was gaining popularity in 2000-01 and my friends and I heard abut this convention in Seattle (Sakuracon). Of course we already dressed up so we put together costumes to go to this event. In the end I was the only one who showed up with a costume, but I met friends from the same series and was hooked.
What has been some of your favorite things to work with when constructing costumes and why?
Every costume, even after all these years, it seems like I am either using a new technique or materials. Times keep evolving and I love challenging myself. Honestly my favorite thing to work with at the moment is Smooth-on mold making supplies. I love constructing things out of clay and being able to make molds to get the exact pieces I want and be able to recreate them if I want. I’ve also recently fallen in love with vacu-forming to mold plastics as well.
However, my favorite thing is electronics. I really got proficient learning to make light sabers. Now I love to work with LED and EL lighting, programming boards to make the lights do different things, and working with sound chips. I just love being able to take something futuristic from movies, TV, or anime and recreate that effect.
What are you excited to be working with in the future and why?
Feathers. It might sound weird but I am about to make my first cosplay with feathered wings this year. I am really excited not only to construct the moving frame, but learn how to put feathers on so they look angelic and natural.
What are some of the traits you like to see in other costumes and who do you think does well in them?
The greatest trait out there is creativity. We’re taking images from games, movies, and anime and making them happen in real space. I love seeing the ingenuity of people figuring out what materials and techniques to use to accomplish that. Two people of equal skill will handle a project so differently. So it is less a specific costume trait and more just the cleverness that goes into making something difficult seem so natural. I think most costumers do really well in this, honestly; I’ve seen really clever ideas out of people just starting.
What is your view of the “cosplay scene”?
I think the cosplay scene is very welcoming and inviting. For me it started as a way to meet people who loved the same things I did. Now the community has grown so much costuming is almost a thing onto itself. I think like any big group there are elitists and people who get joy out of putting others down, but in my estimation they are the minority. To me the cosplay scene is filled with people of all skill levels and interests and some of the largest names in our scene have talked with and helped me grow to where I am now. So I think we have one of the most welcoming scenes out there.
What are some of the things you want to see change in the scene?
I’d love to see some of that elitism calm down. People need to remember we all started from closet costumes or purchased outfits. I think people should take more pride in what they’ve done and worry less about measuring up to others as well. Cosplay is an expression and I think everyone who tries should feel special and appreciated. For the most part that happens but maybe if more of us went out of our way to talk to, encourage, and involve newer cosplayers our scene would be even greater down the road.
What is some advice you could give people starting to get into cosplay?
Don’t give up. Some tasks that seem unbelievable now won’t be in years to come. Start small, don’t pick the biggest costume, and pick something to start on that is a bit more achievable. Then just practice. You’ll get frustrated a lot, want to give up, but keep going. We learn through trying and failing. But trust me, the more you try the more you learn and you won’t believe how far you can get just working at it. Also, make friends. Cosplay is about expressing your love of costuming and your fandoms, for all of us. Making friends is rewarding in not only having more people in your life but knowledge as well. 90% of cosplayers will gladly help you or at least take time to tell you tips. So learn from them and don’t be afraid to ask.
What are some of your favorite conventions you’ve attended and why?
Every convention has a special place for various reasons. Sakuracon 2001, it was my first. Barely any people compared to now, but it was amazing and opened my eyes. Right now though I’d say my favorite convention is Fanime. It is 20k+ people and still feels very intimate like a smaller convention. They treat cosplayers there very well and you can meet so many fabulous and friendly people. Also, their masquerade is something to behold.
Give a random fact about one of your costumes that you’re proud of!
The coat for Katakura Kojuro is made out of microsuede. It was scary to work with such expensive fabric, but I trusted my skills and made a fully lined, trench length coat with a complex design on it. To this day it is the crowning achievement of where I’ve come in sewing and I just love to wear it when it’s cold outside.
Thanks for the interview, Octavian! You can see more of his work on his Facebook!