Looking through my last 200 some favorites, I've noticed a trend that I was aware of but never really took into consideration. The respect for an art form that I mocked in my earlier days. An art form that is still mocked by many today, yet it continues. It grows and improves upon itself more and more. And it's an art form in which I fully recognize both the ingeniousness of the craftsmanship as well as my shortcomings in ability to match it. I refer to art that is construction, varying in several other forms of art to accomplish a placement into this genera. This art form being...
Yes... I was once someone that frowned at the idea of cosplay. Close minded and unappreciative of the skills it involved. That was all until I met a now very good friend of mine named Angel McLeod. A.K.A. "Cosplay Angel". Through her I discovered a few things.
1. Not all cosplay is a fat guy dressed up as Sailor Moon throwing themselves around the merchant area without having showered for a week. Actually, there's a good number of cosplayers that are quite fit and with a good sense of hygiene.
2. Not all costumes are made of duct tape and cardboard with crayon etchings for decals. Truthfully, I am inspired by those cosplayers I have met that reach far beyond the standards of extremely above average sculptures and carpenters. It has definitely become less shocking to see the use of molds and even electronics mixed into the costumes people make these days. Some even rivaling professional movie effects.
3. Not all cosplayers are people that never got out of the basement at their mom's house. Sure... there is a bit of geekiness in every cosplayer. That much is true. But it's not a degree of being socially inept. These people are artists in every sense of the word. Deep thinking, fun loving, intelligent, humorous, REAL people. They may know more about anime and video games than your average individual, but is that a crime? NO! It's their passion! I wish I was half as passionate about the things I love as most of these people are.
These are but a few things I have learned over the years in my increasingly growing admiration for the art form called "cosplay". I've been fortunate to befriend a few of these artists. At least on a "fellow artist" level. Individuals who have inspired me through both their creativity and kindness. To them, I say "thank you". Thank you for continuing when others (through great ignorance) ridiculed you for being different. Thank you for not giving up on your creative desires.
For those of you that shun this art form, verbally abuse those that partake in it's creation, or gawk with lustful eyes and minds, I have this to say. Try to understand the craftsmanship, time, ability, effort, and courage it took these people to stand in front of an averagely dressed crowd while wearing costumes that are anything but normal. This is an art form that isn't easy to do both physically and socially. I'm sure that many of the seasoned cosplayers have gotten past the performance anxiety aspect, but everyone had a beginning, and it had to have been nerve racking. Respect that.
So am I addicted to cosplay? Maybe a little. But what I'm really addicted to is art. I'm addicted to craftsmanship, innovation, and imagery. Thank you cosplayers. I (and many others) appreciate your hard work.