The Costume as Art…

by Paige “Ex Libris” Smith


Whether taking inspiration from an existing image in film, literature, comics or other canon…or creating something straight from your imagination, building original wearable costumes allows an artist to become art. When looking at a new costume recently, a fellow artist and friend said,  ” I can see the love in that”.  How true.  Why else would a costume builder spend countless hours (and months in many cases), researching images, collecting elements, crouching over sewing machines, inhaling glue fumes (well, besides those reasons), grinding the bits off dremels and pounding holes in leather…but for the love of creating a personal masterpiece.  And how better to express yourself artistically, than to step into your creation and wear it for the world to see.

As a costume artist, I’ve re-created images from literature, comics and video games.  I’ve also plumbed the depths of my own imagination to invent costumes that explore the worlds of ‘what it’….and in some cases ‘what the hell?’  Some of my works win awards and make a small mark in the world of science fiction, fantasy and game world costuming.  Some costumes simply provide an expressive outlet to celebrate my interest in worlds not of my own creation, some enhance the theatrical element of my work as a fire performer. But I always consider it art. Not the best, not the worst …but always from the heart.

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