Work, rest and cosplay

COSPLAY MATES: S.T.A.L.K.E.R. costumes made by 27-year-old Richmond resident, Dylan Bushell. An entire group of people dressed this way will meet-up at Supanova. Picture: Wasteland Emperor. Props and Cos. on Facebook

PLATO said ‘Life must be lived as play’, which is a befitting statement to describe the activities of a number of Hawkesbury residents attending the upcoming Supanova Pop Culture Expo 2016 as ‘cosplayers’.

‘Cosplay’, a contraction of the words ‘costume’ and ‘roleplay’, refers to the actions of a community of individuals who dress-up as characters from video games, TV series and movies, and attend events.

Cosplay themes are based on popular culture, with anime, manga, japanese pop and post-apocalyptic being common.

“I get surprised about how many people are actually doing this from the Hawkesbury,” South Windsor resident, 22-year-old Katrina Barber, told the Gazette.

Ms Barber is an anime enthusiast and will be dressing-up as three separate characters over the course of the Supanova Expo, which will take place from June 17 to 19 at the Sydney Showground in Olympic Park.

“On Friday I’ll be Iwaizumi Hajime from Hikyuu, on Saturday Rin from Love Live, and on Sunday I’ll be an undercover Captain America,” she said.

“I bought the outfits online but I’m making little props that didn’t come with the costumes. Rin has a staff with a flower on the end with a big bow, but I couldn’t find any flowers that look like the flower so I had to pull some apart and try to make one especially. I’m a bit picky and want it to be as close as possible.”

Hawkesbury-based cosplayers prepared to travel can attend a number of annual events that bring together the wider cosplaying community.

“The next big one I’ll be attending after Supanova is SMASH – Sydney Manga and Anime Show in August at Rosehill Gardens,” said Ms Barber.

“The Sydney cosplay community is massive. You wouldn’t expect it to be so large, but when I get on the train to go to events I always see people wearing wristbands and costumes. Sometimes we chat, and I’ve made friends with a few people that way.”

Ms Barber began cosplaying five years ago after attending an anime convention with a friend.

“We saw the cosplayers and we thought ‘this is really cool, we should do this’, so that’s how we started off,” she said.

COSPLAY IT UP: South Windsor’s Katrina Barber and Ruby Barry from Ebenezer cosplaying as Ursula and Ariel from The Little Mermaid movie at last year’s Supanova. Picture: Geoff Jones

Cosplay aroundAmy Warwick is a 28-year-old Richmond resident, who works in admin. This will be the fourth time she’s attended Supanova, and she will be cosplaying as a character called Pam from an American adult animated comedy series called Archer.

“The series is about a secret agent, and Pam is the HR lady who works in the office. She’s really out there, offensive and rude, and is always in everyone’s business. She’s one of those characters you love to hate,” Ms Warwick told the Gazette.

“The costume is nothing extreme – it’s business attire, but I needed to find clothes that exactly matched her outfit.

“In previous years I have made a few cosplays which do take a lot of time. The longest was last year when I made a giant Minions costume. There was a lot of paper mache on it, and it took me two or three months, because of all the layering.”

Ms Warwick first got interested in cosplaying when she attended a convention called Armageddon in Sydney five years ago.

“My partner was telling me we should go to this convention and I didn’t know anything about it. So we went, and met people, and decided to start making stuff. And then it just became the thing to do every year – you’d plan for it,” she said.

“I like making things and it’s fun and I’ve made lots of new friends. You get to dress up and go along and see what’s new there, and every now and then there’s a special guest from one of the series you’ve been watching and you get to meet them – it’s exciting!”

Beyond Supanova, Ms Warwick attends a number of annual cosplaying events including Oz Comic-Con Sydney, Lithgow’s Ironfest, anime cosplayer community BBQs in Abbotsford and Wollongong (which each attract around 400 people), and a variety of charity events.

“What motivates me to make all my cosplays is the appreciation you receive from other people who really like the character you are cosplaying. I also love making stuff,” Ms Warwick said.

“I’ve met a lot of great people through the cosplay community. My friends will work on their cosplay and upload progress pictures to Facebook, so you become inspired and look forward to seeing the completed cosplay.

“You can end up spending a lot of money on making and buying cosplays, but I believe it’s worth it.”

Work, rest and cosplay TweetFacebookCosplaying the fieldDylan Bushell is a 27-year-old cosplayer, also residing in Richmond. Not surprisingly, he and Ms Warwick know each other as fellow members of the niche Hawkesbury cosplaying community.

“This will be the fourth time I’ve attended Supanova and I’ll be going as a stalker from a video game set in Chernobyl called S.T.A.L.K.E.R.,” Mr Bushell told the Gazette.

“This costume was a bit easy because you just buy a jacket and gear and gasmask and put it all on. But there’s fiddly bits I’m doing, too, like making up a radio that plays music with bluetooth and all that.

“Last costume I made took about three months to build – it was Mad Max. I mainly do post-apocalyptic stuff.”

Mr Bushell is well-known in the Hawkesbury cosplaying community for his elaborate costumes and props. He also runs a small business making costumes for other cosplayers.

“I work at Big W doing night fills because I’ve got a daughter and a girlfriend to look out for, but this is a fun side project for me,” he said.

“I get commissions to make both props and costumes, and my Facebook page has thousands of likes. I’ve got a friend coming up for Supanova from Melbourne who I’ve never met before but we’ve been talking for years on Facebook. I’ve done a couple of commissions for him, making costumes and stuff, which was a bit of a challenge because he wasn’t there to measure the clothes.”

At the end of the day, Supanova is just one of a list of events providing a backdrop for the Sydney cosplay community to get together, according to Mr Bushell.

“Seeing old friends is my favourite part of the Expo, because there’s people I only see when I go to Supanova or other conventions. Supanova is pretty much the same every year: you pay to get in and the stalls are over-priced and you pay extra to see celebrities and all that’s a bit of a drag. But it’s a social thing for me, and that’s why I keep going,” he said.

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