What’s going on heroes? Happy Friday, I’m bringing you another Cosplay Cafe, this time with Cxptaingrayson. She’s a good friend of mines and it was an honor to be able to sit down and interview them. As always her social media links are down below.
1. What were you like growing up? What were some of the things you were into as a child/teenager
I always like to say that if I were to talk to little me today I would say we are pretty much the same except we like Batman A WHOLE LOT more. The biggest difference between me then and now is that I used to be much more of a homebody. My house was the special place I got to be weird and invent new worlds. But as I grew up I realized that adventure and traveling helped me world build and experience new worlds in real life.
However, I was still very much a theatrical kid. I attest this to being the second child. My parents weren’t wowed by all the things I experienced because my sister had already done it. First birthday, first communion, graduation. So all of the videos that featured her firsts had me front and center. I am so sorry I was such a little jerk haha. But my sister wasn’t the source of my frustration but rather she was the source of many passions. We spent countless nights together watching horror flicks and playing video games.
I loved stories about far-off places, big adventure and anything to do with superpowers. But I always somehow found myself rooting for the non-powered being amongst them. (i.e. Bruce Wayne) I thought it was so cool that even someone who wasn’t gifted could join their ranks and make a difference in the world. So I dived head first into superhero, fantasy and sci-fi stories.
Another huge escape for me came with punk music and my local music scene. Yes, I might have had a scene phase. But I think it was pretty tame. I helped run local shows and had friends in bands that I went on tour with. My time in high school was very much dedicated to taking photos of skaters and thriving on live music.
It wasn’t until university that I dived head first into anime and fell out of love with the wonders of comic books and while the genre still has a place in my heart I found stories in manga and anime that were rich and impactful.
2. Did those things influence who you’re today?
Oh for sure! I think stories influence who I am every day! I love really relating to a character and learning about myself and why I am that way and to watch them go through an emotional journey can really help me figure my own stuff out. Characters that I love also inspire me to be better (better motivated, more optimistic, more adventurous). I think I can definitely attribute the characters I relate to who I am today and who I always aspire to be.
3. Recently, you’ve been hosting Maker-in-Residence workshops. How has that been going for you?
I am so excited about the Maker-in-Residence program! I had applied some time ago and thought I didn’t get the job over another broader creative field. Which made total sense to me. But they had lined up a bunch of different creators for different times and I now get to share what I love to do with a bunch of people in my local community. It also helped me overcome the idea that I didn’t have what it takes to impart the knowledge I have come to learn during my time as a cosplayer. It is a super enriching experience to be able to give people new ideas about their cosplay and ways to go about it. I’ve also been able to make some really cool friends during my stay with the library which is an added bonus. I’d love to continue doing it but it is a contract position. I’ll have to continue to use my online presence.
4.What do you think the cosplay community should improve on?
I know it will sound weird and maybe a bit contradictory but I think the cosplay community could work on inclusivity. There is this odd hierarchy that exists and a community based on popularity and because of that, I think a lot of very talented people go unnoticed. I have made lifelong friends because of cosplay, being excited about the same things, making group cosplays and fawning over each other’s work. Cosplay is about having fun and creating so I am a bit sad to see it go another way or for people to think that you have to be a certain way to cosplay.
The cosplay community also needs to improve on not apologizing for their heroes when they might do something wrong. By no means am I saying go on a witch hunt but don’t defend someone who is clearly in the wrong and won’t own up to their mistakes.
5. What is a cosplay you’ve made that taught you something new?
I think that every costume is a learning experience. I am learning everyday new ways to make my costumes stand out. When I first started building costumes I always challenged myself beyond my capabilities and I think one of the costumes that I learned a lot from was Gimli. I want to remake the whole thing but it really taught me a bunch of new skills and showed me what I am capable of.
6. Off topic question, favorite food?
If we are talking about one specific item I’d have to say Bread. I LOVE BREAD. But if we are talking all-encompassing I’d have to say I love Indian food.
7. Twitch, you’ve been streaming a lot of your upcoming costumes. What made you decide to choose Twitch instead of something like Youtube?
Shameless plug – I totally use youtube too. (find me at cxptaingrayson 😉 ) Haha. But no you are right I don’t really use Youtube as a way to show people my creative process. It has been something that I have thought about and do have plans in the future to create some worklogs but I think it mainly has to do with how time consuming the aesthetic of my vlog channel is. I’d love the worklogs to be put together and visually pleasing. The truth of the matter is that it is a lot of work to edit and create a nice flow. But it really has to do with the platform. Twitch has this amazing interactive platform (that youtube didn’t have at the time I started *younow*). Even now I would choose Twitch over Younow because it allows me to give back to my followers and subscribers. It allows for a far more interactive and shared experience in my opinion. It is also pretty easy to just sit down and start working on my projects and share them with an audience live then it is to edit a video together, making sure you caught every moment and that the moments you caught were visually pleasing.
Twitch also has such a welcoming and open community, especially when it comes to creative. Youtube is such a huge platform, it can be intimidating. But like I said I am interested in expanding some of the stuff I do on Youtube as well!
8. What is one thing you love about the cosplay community?
I think if someone has been following me for awhile they always hear me say that I have been really fortunate to never experience a serious negative side of the cosplay community. It has been welcoming and encouraging. I have made so many amazing friends who love and are passionate about the things they love. I love this freedom to be youthful and unafraid to be out there. I really love how inspiring the community has become to me.
9. Second off topic question, what is one thing you are looking forward to?
In two weeks I go to Japan! I get to travel to the other side of the world with some of my best friends and I am so thrilled. I feel like it still isn’t actually happening. I am not prepared!
10. Do you have any costumes you are currently working on?
Several, in fact. I’ve been working on putting together Kirishima’s Hero outfit from Boku No Hero Academia. It is almost done and I am excited to shoot that! As it usually is though my friends insisted I be the shonen protag and so Deku is also on my list.
I am also working on somewhat of a costume I have been meaning to make for awhile and that is Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist. I am so excited to be able to shoot this with my friends.
Lastly, with Kupocon coming up I really want to finish some Prompto costumes for the event. We wanted to wear their Kingsglaive uniforms for the orchestra and I’d love to have his DLC outfit for the cold Canadian winters.
11. What conventions can people find you at later this year or early next year?
With Japan just around the corner Youmacon is still up in the air but I will for sure be at Kupocon in December. My plans for early next year are not definitive but I would love to explore some new cons this year.
12. Final question, anything you want to say to your fans?
I have fans!? Geez, well…um…hi!
Thank you? No, seriously. I am so passionate about putting things out because of all of the people that support and encourage me. I’ve been so amazed and humbled at the response to my work. Thank you for all inspiring me every day!
I’ll work hard!
It was a blast working with Cxptaingrayson, I hope you enjoy our collaboration. One day I will meet Grayson in person but until then I will settle with hanging out in her Twitch streams. If you want to konw who’s coming to the cafe next week. Check out my Instagram and find out. It’s XBen3000 by the way. Until then, I’m Ben and I’m out!