To read part 1 of my interview with Gus the Bard, click here!
JtN: Do you think you will ever mesh cosplaying and music together one day?
Gus: It’s funny you should mention that… Because it’s something I already do! My stage persona, Gus the Bardic Troubadour, is based on a D&D character I created for Pathfinder. I designed the costume myself and drew inspiration from different time periods. I even have multiple costume parts so I can wear a different costume at each show. It may be historically inaccurate, but I fit in well at any renaissance faire. I’d love to one-day form a band where each member is dressed as a different race/class from D&D.
JtN: What is the most difficult cosplay you’ve ever constructed?
In terms of the build itself, I’d have to say ‘FOAL-Tron the Megazord of Harmony’ was my most taxing costume. I was given the opportunity to go to Bronycon 2014 by a very generous friend. It was my first convention in six years so I was excited to make a costume. But I have a weird philosophy on costumes where I don’t like to cosplay specific characters. I know it’s odd, but my body type and facial hair don’t lend themselves to many characters and I’d feel like I’m doing a poor representation of the character if my appearance doesn’t match the character… So I tend to make costumes for ‘groups’ of characters, like a “Ghostbuster” or a “Jedi”. Something where I could still make a kick-ass costume, but not have to follow many physical guidelines. It was this mentality that led me to creating ‘FOAL-Tron’. The initial idea was that I wanted to try to cosplay as ALL of the Mane 6 from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
The actual build of the costume was incredibly overwhelming. I’ve never taken on the challenge to build a full suit before, let alone a mech suit. I’ve made a bionic arm prop before, but this was WAY different. I found some tutorials online, but they all used varying techniques and materials I couldn’t acquire cheaply. I ended up making the suit from EVA foam floor mats and about 10 pound of hot glue. I basically had to wing it, and design each piece AS I was making it. I made A LOT of mistakes, wasted A LOT of time, and spent more money than I should have, but I pulled it off! I only had about a month to construct a costume, so I did cut a lot of corners during the build. I wish I could have spent more time on it to make the costume more comfortable, easier to wear, and easier to transport… That being said, I am still very proud of the final product and the attention I garnered at Bronycon ’14.
JtN: What is your favorite cosplay experience so far?
Gus: That’s actually a tough one. I absolutely love going to conventions to mingle with other like-minded people and fellow cosplayers. It’s great to pose for pictures for people and to take advantage of special photo-ops with other cosplayers… However, I think wearing cosplay OUTSIDE of the bubble of a convention is a bit more rewarding.
It’s difficult to explain, but when I wear a costume in public places, like at a special event or even the local mall/movie theater, the attention I get is way different. At conventions, its expected to run into cosplayers, but running into a Jedi at Walmart is special. I’ve had people pose with me so they could take pictures to send to their grandchildren. It’s a unique opportunity to socialize with the general public, and every time I do it, I come home with feeling like I put on a performance. I love the stories that come from my escapades while in costume, it makes every outing is an adventure.
JtN: What are your plans–cosplay and non-cosplay related–for the future?
Gus: I have a LOT of costumes and props that I’d like to make. But the characters I am currently working on are Victor Vivesector from Furry Force, and a Vault Dweller from Fallout 4. I also plan on building a Paint Roller prop from Splatoon.
In terms of non-cosplay, I have many projects in store for 2016. I plan on adding more variety in my Etsy store, which currently only features custom OC conbages in the style of My Little Pony. I also plan on recording a full album of Irish songs, in addition to lending my voice on a collab album with the band ELEMENTS.
JtN: Is there anything you want to say to the readers?
Gus: The biggest lesson I’ve learned from cosplay, and the cosplay community, is that cosplay is for everyone. Don’t let your height, weight, race, or even gender get in the way of a costume you want to make, or character you want to portray. If there’s a costume you want to make, just go for it! The community is very supportive. If you’re unsure of where to begin on your build, there are resources and forums all over the internet that can help you get started. Don’t let your cosplay aspirations stay dreams.
You can read more about Gus the Bard here on Facebook.