By Nicole Luke
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m Matt. I’m 26. Originally from Zwolle, Louisiana and now residing in Olympia, Washington. I’m currently a junior at The Evergreen State College with my degree focuses in Communications and Japanese Language.
When did you start Cosplaying?
I started cosplaying in 2010 after I moved back to Louisiana.
What got you into cosplaying?
A couple of things did. My first trip to Tokyo, I saw a few people in Harajuku and Shibuya walking the streets in cosplay. I started researching deeper into what it was. I met and befriended few notable gulf circuit cosplayers on DeviantArt *coughTwinzik&Score* and it made me think “I want to give this a try.” I couldn’t while I was in the military and stationed overseas, so when I got out and moved back home, I jumped right in and I’ve been hooked ever since.
What is your favorite cosplay you’ve made(or that you’ve done)?
Soul Calibur IV Kilik. My grandma and I worked on that together and I found a common bond with her over arts and crafts. It was the first costume either of us had ever made from scratch. It was really a challenge and I’m really happy with how it came out. I won my first award in my first contest with it and it’s even been published in a book.
How do you determine what to Cosplay as in characters?
I like doing characters I have seldom or never seen done. I also consider how well I can get into that character because for me, cosplay is partially about bringing that character to life. I gravitate to fighting game characters because I grew up on those games. I also decide based on groups with my friends. There’s nothing more awesome than a good cosplay group with your friends.
Do you enjoy cosplaying?
Absolutely. I’m really introverted, and it helped me get over myself in that regard and to stop apologizing for being the nerd I am. Plus I met some of the best friends I have to this day through cosplaying. There’s ups and downs to it, but I wouldn’t trade the experience I’ve had for the world.
Do you have any Dream Costumes you want to make or do?
Renvolt Magashi from Phantasy Star Universe, MagnaAngemon from Digimon and Storm Eagle from MegaMan X.
Out of all your costumes, which was the hardest to Fabricate?
Soul Caliber 5 version of Kilik. Easily. I have never made foam armor before and I had three completed failed iterations of that vest before I actually succeeded at the one I ended up using. There were a lot of lessons learned through trial and error with that costume.
What are some cosplays you are currently working on?
Dark Pit from Kid Icarus: Uprising, The King of Hearts from Disney’s Alice in Wonderland and a yet-to-be decided Pokemon gijinka just to name a few.
Which costume are you looking forward to wearing in the future the most?
As of right now, King of Hearts. That wig is going to be a challenge.
Do you think you will ever retire from Cosplaying?
Unfortunately, I’m highly considering it soon. I’m in college and focusing on obtaining a career in teaching English as a second language abroad. You never know where life takes you but the awesome thing about cosplay is that you’re never too old to do it. I won’t rule out the possibility of me cosplaying Master Roshi when I’m an old man. 😉
Have you ever considered wearing costumes outside of conventions for daily wear?
Nope. I’m too much of a t-shirt and jeans kind of guy on a daily basis to want to give that up.
Do you fabricate/make your own costumes or buy them?
I started out buying them, then bridged to altering bought costumes and then working with my grandmother got me interested in fully making them. I’ve been adamant about making my own since.
In the World of Cosplaying:
Do you or have you participate in any contests? (Convention, online, etc)
Several. A-Kon, MechaCon, IkkiCon and SakuraCon just to name a few. I’ve also entered Southern Cosplatality’s online contests and you guys (Anime Secrets) of course. I love the stage, so I like to stay active on the competition circuit.
Have you won any awards if so what or which?
2nd Place – A-Kon 23 – Hall Cosplay Contest (Kilik)
Overall Winner – Louisiana Cosplayers Lafayette Meet, June 2012 – (Kilik)
2nd Place (Novice Division) – BayouCon 2012 (Kilik)
3rd Place (Masters Division) – IkkiCon 2012 (Soul Calibur Group)
Mr. Cosplatality August 2012 – Southern Cosplatality (Kilik)
January State Winner (Louisiana) – Southern Cosplatality (Cilan, Chili & Cress)
What is your standing on Handmade vs Store bought cosplay?
Store bought cosplays are so unfairly villainized in the cosplay community. As long as you enjoy wearing it, then wear it. I got my start on store bought cosplays and that’s what made me want to start making them. I have no problem with store bought and commissioned as long as you give credit where it’s due – especially if you enter a contest with it. Just be honest, that’s all.
How do you feel about those who Cosplay getting into character? Do you get in Character as well?Cosplay is about being in character to some facet. I love people that are really good at it, especially Deadpools and Slendermen. I’m in character for photos and when I’m on stage. I’ve had people approach me in character in halls, etc. and in that case, I’ll play back. That’s most of the fun of cosplay.
Is there anyone you always wanted to meet and have a photoshoot with?
I’ve met most of the ones I always wanted to. I really want to reprise Kilik one more time for a shoot with Ellipsis Cosplay’s Soul Calibur group. I would even stave off retirement if I could talk Miss Marquin and Shinrajunkie into doing a ReBoot group with me. Photographers? I really admire A.L.P. Photography and wish I could get a formal cosplay shoot with her. There’s Mike Boike too, but we’ve already established I’m going to need a Master Ball to catch him.
Can you share a few tips for beginners from your experience?
Always test-run your cosplays before the con, made or bought. Put them fully on and see what your range of mobility is, durability and all of that before you get to the con. Always bring a mini cosplay repair kit (scissors, needle and thread, super or hot glue etc.)…and wear wig caps and pins. I didn’t and my wig fell off on stage at my first contest. One more thing – Do a cosplay contest walk-on at least once in your life. There’s nothing in the world like walking that stage.
What are the positives and negatives of Cosplaying in your opinion?
Negatives – it’s social suicide. Lol. You’re going to get teased. You’re inevitably going to hear things that upset or anger you. It takes thick skin and even then it’s not easy. Making cosplay is hard work, and your work isn’t always going to be recognized.
Positives – It’s great for meeting people. I’m still baffled that some of my cosplay idols in Louisiana are now people I’m really good friends with. It’s a chance to break out of your shell and be whatever you want. You’re surrounded by people who are just as crazy and awesome as you are, and nobody is in a position to judge you.
How do you deal with negative and positive feedback on your costumes?
Positive is easy. I’m grateful for every photo request and even something as small as a “cool costume” in passing. Negative is just to be expected because it’s the real world out there. I’ve been called nearly every pejorative in book. Learning to shrug that off was hard. Now, if the negative is constructive, I really appreciate that and take it into consideration. As an artist of any kind, I think it’s important to never turn a deaf ear to suggestion of another way you could have done something.
Any words of wisdom for aspiring Cosplayers?
Be ready – you have positive and negative coming your way. You’re going to fail and you’re going to succeed both many times. Know how to deal with both. Do it because you like it, and not for fame, Facebook likes and Tumblr reblogs. This above all: no matter how far you go in cosplay, never forget how you felt when you were new to it. Egos are not welcome here.
Outside of Cosplaying
Do you have any helpers (pets) that often ‘help’?
Yes. His name is Luke, codename: stalkercat. He randomly appears out of nowhere and claws at any fabric I have hanging off tables or ironing boards and I’ve had to scrap a few pieces from that. He’s gotten better about it since I got a water bottle and taught myself Hydro Cannon. It’s super effective.
Is there anything you do outside of Cosplaying that give you ideas of what to do for a costume?
Video games. TV shows. I also have two roommates very into steampunk and I’ve most definitely gotten ideas from them.
Final Words to the Readers:
I’ve been to 10 different countries and all over our own, and the most incredible people I’ve met are cosplayers. Whether I do one more costume and call it quits or a hundred more and cosplay ‘til the day I die, I’m honored to be a part of this community.
For more information on FateTwister Cosplay, check out his facebook fanpage