Jacky the Nerd: What is your name and/or cosplay alias (if you have one)?
Gus: My name is Chris, but please feel free to call me Gus. All of my online aliases are some iteration of ‘Gus’, like GusTheBard, WhiteBoyGus, etc.
JtN: How long have you been cosplaying?
I’ve been cosplaying longer than I knew what the word ‘cosplay’ was. My first convention was back in 2005 at an anime convention in Baltimore called Otakon. I was a fan of anime, but I wasn’t aware of the subculture surrounding it. I attended by myself and no one warned me what I was in for. I was blown away by the sheer amount of people dressed up in costumes. I honestly felt left out without a costume, so I threw on something I had made for Halloween and BOOM! My secret life as a cosplayer began.
JtN: Why do you cosplay?
Gus: After my first convention, I still felt the need to create a costume for any subsequent events. I was first drawn to cosplay by the sense of camaraderie that wearing a costume brings when worn at a convention. It’s an amazing icebreaker and shows off your love and dedication in the most unique way possible! I’m normally a very shy person, so to be able to cut out the middle-man and show off my personality through cosplay, is nothing short of amazing. I love a rush that comes from wearing something I’ve poured my heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears into. And I love the feeling that comes from people wanting to take pictures of something that I made. I am very grateful to all of the friends I’ve made at conventions by letting my cosplay do the talking for me…. that honestly, I never would have met were it not for me just deciding to wear a Halloween costume ten years ago. I continue to cosplay because of the magic it has brought to my life. I can create something fantastical from parts I found at a department store, and use it to make people smile and make new friends. It’s not just a costume or a prop… It’s an extension of myself.
JtN: It seems like the impact cosplay has had on your life is positive. What was your life like before you started cosplaying?
Gus: In the years since becoming a cosplayer, many things have changed for me. I have a whole new circle of friends, a multitude of new power tools (purchased to make a single prop), and a new found respect for films using practical effects. One of the more noticable changes I’ve seen is my mentality towards prop-building. I love the rush that comes from looking at the raw building materials in a hardware store and imaging what they can become. To the dismay of my fiancee, I am constantly pausing movies we are watching to get a better look at a costume or prop and turning to her to say “I want to make that!”… And then spend 10-15 minutes figuring out what I could do to actually construct it.
But really, I haven’t changed that much from the person I was 10 years ago. The biggest difference being that I used to lack focus and would constantly change from one hobby or interest to the next. Having to train myself to focus on ONE prop for my first cosplay build helped me to be able to focus my attention to what I really loved doing. I’ve always had an affinity for the arts; dabbling in pencil drawings, cartoons, digital media, acting, and music. But all in all, cosplay has had the greatest positive impact in my life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
JtN: What sorts of music do you play, and why?
Gus: I play a mix of traditional and modern Irish folk music. But it wasn’t always that way. When my best friend gave me my first guitar, I wanted to be a comedic musician along the same vein as Weird Al, Tenacious D, or Stephen Lynch. Unfortunately, there isn’t much of an audience for live comedy music around where I live… but I still wanted to make music. I ended up answering several Craigslist ads looking for band members. I auditioned for a lead singer role, and several other music duos, but nothing ever panned out. Until I answered an ad to be a part of an Irish music duo.
I had never really played Irish music before, but it was really easy to pick up. The songs were a lot of fun to learn and play for an audience. I unfortunately had to break up the band since we weren’t playing as much as I’d like. I have since been playing music on my own for the last four years under the stage name ‘Gus the Bardic Troubadour’. I like to sing a lot of traditional Irish melodies, as well as putting an Irish twist on modern folk music. My audiences also enjoy my Irish folk renditions of modern pop and rap songs.
After about two years of playing Irish music, my uncle was doing family research and was able to trace our family back to Irish immigrants in the early 1800’s. So, without knowing it, I was carrying on the traditional music of my family. I continue to play Irish folk as a tribute to my family, and my heritage.
You will be able to read the second part of this interview within a week. It ran a bit on the long side, which I love.Start of the year, and it’s my blog, so I want to explain why I love interviewing cosplayers, and why I love long interviews like this.
Speaking of things I love, the When interviewees give lengthy, complex answers to the questions I ask them, I get to bring you great materials. These interviews aren’t necessarily written by me; I just give my poor victims–er, interviewees–homework, I post images taken by them or other photographers, and I hope a few people read this and get to see their work. (And bring traffic to my blog. This is kind of a writing portfolio after all.)
Tangential aside over, I love sharing people’s cosplays, and their experiences. Come back later on to see the rest of the interview with Gus, and later after that for more interviews every month!