A Junky Journey to Warhammer 40K Cosplay at Dragon Con 2016

Inquisitor Oriza, a Warhammer 40k costume. Image by Conography (Joe Hacker) for Blastr Media

Inquisitor Oriza, a Warhammer 40k costume. Image by Conography (Joe Hacker) for Blastr Media

With just 5 weeks to build a legitimate Warhammer 40K costume using only salvage and thrift materials (excepting corset and boots), I didn’t have a chance to try the whole thing on before taking it to Dragon Con 2016. That’s cool, though. I knew going in that there were some lingering issues and that the convention photography would reveal all. But the photos also revealed the best of it, too.

The response to the “Inquisitor Oriza” project was overwhelmingly positive and I’m especially grateful to every camera and phone that took a minute to record the result. I’ve gathered a few of these pictures here (with credit to the photographers) to recognize the compliment that’s paid every time someone takes time to craft your image in a photo. It’s sincerely appreciated. Every time. Thank you.

Photographer: Conography

Warhammer 40k Inquisitor Oriza (costume by Paige Gardner) Photographer: Conography

Image by Subversive Photography

Image by Subversive Photography

 

Image by Ethereal Visionz

Image by Ethereal Visionz

Original Image by Dan Gary

Original Image by Dan Gary

 

Image by Timothy Helbing

Image by Timothy Helbing

 

Image by Adam Felts

Image by Adam Felts

 

Photographer: Conography

Photographer: Conography

 

Image by Charles Felts

Image by Charles Felts

 

Image by Daniel Sharps

Image by Daniel Sharps

 

Image by Sally Shalett

Image by Sally Shalett

Stained Glass “Abbey” at Abandoned School

I can’t believe I missed sharing these Dim Horizon Studios images of Abbey crafted in abandoned Banks school in Birmingham, Alabama.  The school opened its doors specifically to cosplayers and photographers for one afternoon in 2015. It was dark, dirty…and magnificent in its urban decay. The setting felt more like a Warhammer 40K environment (which inspired the costume) so that was a welcome plus! Here are some of my favorites from the day.

Costume Stained Glass Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk Cosplay 3

 “Abbey” (Paige Gardner / CostumeArt) Photography by Dim Horizon Studios

Costume Stained Glass Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk Cosplay 5

“Abbey” (Paige Gardner / CostumeArt) Photography by Dim Horizon Studios

Costume Stained Glass Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk Cosplay 6

“Abbey” (Paige Gardner / CostumeArt) Photography by Dim Horizon Studios

Costume Stained Glass Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk Cosplay 8

“Abbey” (Paige Gardner / CostumeArt) Photography by Dim Horizon Studios

Costume Stained Glass Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk Cosplay 9

“Abbey” (Paige Gardner / CostumeArt) Photography by Dim Horizon Studios

Costume Stained Glass Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk Cosplay 10

“Abbey” (Paige Gardner / CostumeArt) Photography by Dim Horizon Studios

Costume Stained Glass Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk Cosplay 12

“Abbey” (Paige Gardner / CostumeArt) Photography by Dim Horizon Studios

Costume Stained Glass Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk Cosplay 15

“Abbey” (Paige Gardner / CostumeArt) Photography by Dim Horizon Studios

Costume Stained Glass Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk Cosplay 17

“Abbey” (Paige Gardner / CostumeArt) Photography by Dim Horizon Studios

Costume Stained Glass Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk Cosplay 21

“Abbey” (Paige Gardner / CostumeArt) Photography by Dim Horizon Studios

 

Darth Nihilus: Dim Horizon Studio Captures a Villian

Thank God my best friends at Dim Horizon Studio are also some dedicated gamers, y’all!  They totally said “Yes!” when I asked if they might be willing to help me document the Darth Nihilus (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic) costume I originally built for my son.  These are some of my complete favorite Dim Horizon images from our afternoon together at Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham.

Costume Notes: The Nihilus mask was crafted with gauze tape, wire mesh and wall putty.  The costuming includes a layers of ladies circle skirt, a black graduation robe and a black bed sheet, all from the thrift store. The lightsaber is a legit Master Replica that is really bad-ass even though it doesn’t look like Nihilus’ particular saber. The sound effects compensate for the discrepancy.

Darth Nihilus (KOTR) costume by Paige Gardner | Photo by Dim Horizon Studio

Darth Nihilus (KOTOR) costume by Paige Gardner | Photo by Dim Horizon Studio

 

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Darth Nihilus (KOTR) costume by Paige Gardner | Photo by Dim Horizon Studio

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Darth Nihilus (KOTR) costume by Paige Gardner | Photo by Dim Horizon Studio

Darth Nihilus Star Wars Costume Paige Gardner  t

Darth Nihilus (KOTR) costume by Paige Gardner | Photo by Dim Horizon Studio

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Darth Nihilus (KOTR) costume by Paige Gardner | Photo by Dim Horizon Studio

PHOTOGRAPHY: Steampunk Bird Hybrid | by Chase Lawrence

These photos of the Steampunk Bird Hybrid by photographer Chase Lawrence of Affliction Cosplay Photography are some of my favorites – especially for the colors that bloom in his images!  We had a great afternoon at Sloss Furnace capturing some cool photos together.  I’m especially grateful to Chase for tapping me for these Steampunk images which were later featured in “We Rise” magazine.  It was an honor to be included and I hope that I’ll have the chance to work with him again!

pgs bird hybrid Affliction photography Chase Lawerence 3

pgs bird hybrid Affliction photography Chase Lawerence 4

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pgs bird hybrid Affliction photography Chase Lawerence 2

pgs bird hybrid Affliction photography Chase Lawerence 1

Rendezvous with Subversive Photography

DragonCon 2014: It was 3:00 am Sunday morning, and I was still wearing the “Abbey” costume from an event hours earlier.  Making my way back to my room across the (much less crowded than usual) lobby of the Hyatt, a gentleman with a camera politely approached and asked for permission to take a few photographs.  It’s always a kindness (and a compliment) when someone asks, so I stopped and joined him for a few photos. He took his time setting up the angles and finding just the right perspectives. And I watched him work. He thanked me for my time and I thanked him for his interest and the kind attention. I hoped that after the event, we might reconnect so I could see the resulting images – but with an event as chaotic as DragonCon, you just never know.

Warhammer inspired Stained Glass "Abbey' photographed by Subversively.com

Warhammer inspired Stained Glass “Abbey’ photographed by Subversively.com

His name was Lievan Leroy of San Francisco-based Subversively.com and his image of “Abbey” DID pop up later that month. And it kind of exploded on social media. I saw Lievan’s image begin trending on Tumblr. And when my CostumeArt Facebook Page suddenly acquired a thousand followers overnight, I tracked that growth back to Lievan’s lobby photo of Abbey, which had been picked up (thanks to Galacticat) and shared by the Replica Props Forum Facebook page. The response was overwhelmingly positive. I think that both the photographer and I were surprised that our impromptu collaboration in the wee hours of DragonCon would find so many eyeballs. What a great compliment!

DragonCon 2015: I got a message from Lievan asking if I would like to meet up at DragonCon for another photo opportunity. I had a new costume project with me, and while it was not complete, I was very excited to see what Lievan would do with it.

After some text tagging and missed connections, we finally met again in the drive-thru at the Marriott Marquis. Crowded with people and cars, the odds of finding any spot with solitude was unlikely. So we opted to back up against the fountain and try our luck.  Even with the odd lighting and distracting environment, Lievan turned all of his attention to crafting images of “Merry McQueen”, an original CostumeArt project inspired by the work of Alexander McQueen.

When I got to see the images from this DragonCon shoot and I’m simply AMAZED at his ability to create the impression that we were isolated while making these photos.  With his lighting and perspectives, he’s crafted images that almost evoke a sense of desolation.  In truth, there were tipsy cosplayers and loud crowds just a few feet away from us, cars and vans were cycling behind Lievan as he worked, and the lip of the fountain was just inches behind my heels. He created an eye in the storm and produced these lovely photographs amid the madness!

Thank you Lievan Leroy of  Subversively.com for sharing your talents with me again. You, Sir, are made of magic. (We have to keep meeting like this!)

Paige Gardner Costume Merry McQueen Steampunk Subversively Photography DragonCon 4

“Merry McQueen” photographed by Subversively.com at DragonCon in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

"Merry McQueen" photographed by Subversively.com at DragonCon in Atlanta, Georgia.

“Merry McQueen” photographed by Subversively.com at DragonCon in Atlanta, Georgia.

Paige Gardner Costume Merry McQueen Steampunk Subversively Photography DragonCon 3

“Merry McQueen” photographed by Subversively.com at DragonCon in Atlanta, Georgia.

Abbey at Sloss Furnace with Dim Horizon Studios (More!)

From Abbey’s first photo shoot with Dim Horizon Studio, this is the second set of images from an exciting afternoon at Sloss Furnaces Historical Landmark in Birmingham, Alabama.

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner —  Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

 

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 17

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 18

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 21

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 20

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 19

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 30

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 29

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 28

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 31

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 33

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 32

Costume: Abbey | Paige Gardner Photography by Dim Horizon Studio

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 22 Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 23 Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 24 Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 25 Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 26 Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 27

Abbey at Sloss Furnace: Photoshoot with Dim Horizon Studios

I’ve often say that any costume project of mine isn’t really complete until the folks at Dim Horizon Studios turn their lens toward it. It’s a true thing.

I’m always excited by their interest in these costume projects, thrilled with their keen eye for outstanding settings and – after years of working with them – deeply grateful for the close personal friendship that emerged from our mutual professional interests.  I’m especially glad when they have client bookings in my city – because these occasions bring us together for gaming, goofing off, good times…  and sometimes a photoshoot!

These are the first official images of the Stained Glass “Abbey” project as captured and crafted by Dim Horizon Studio at Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, Alabama. (this is the first half of the images from the shoot – the second set will follow in the next post.)

And the costume is now complete. 😀

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 8

 

 

Costume: "Abbey" by Paige Gardner / CostumeArt Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner
Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 4

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

 

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 2

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner / Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 5

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner / CostumeArt Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 6

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner / CostumeArt Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 7

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner / CostumeArt Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 8

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner / CostumeArt Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 9

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner / CostumeArt Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 11

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner / Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 12

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner / Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 13

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner / CostumeArt Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 14

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner / CostumeArt Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 15

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner / CostumeArt Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 10

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner  Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

Stained Glass Costume Paige Gardner Warhammer Steampunk cosplay 3

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner Photography: Dim Horizon Studios

For more images, events and WIP costume updates, find me at CostumeArt on Facebook and @CostumeArt on Twitter. I’d love to see you there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stained Glass “Abbey”: Photoshoot with COTC Photography

I had the extreme good fortune to meet photographer John Spectre while I was at at Gaslight Fantasia in South Carolina.  He was attending the event and capturing photos of some of the participants.  I was flattered when he expressed interest in photographing the Abbey costume there at the hotel. We found a cool mosaic alcove at the host hotel and John took the needed time to set up some really cool shots. Here’s some of the images from that day.

Costume: "Abbey" by Paige Gardner Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner
Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: "Abbey" by Paige Gardner Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner
Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: "Abbey" by Paige Gardner Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner
Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got the chance to meet again at AnachroCon some months later where he brought a ring flash and more cool camera equipment along.  These “dark” images of Abbey  (below) reveal SO MUCH more of the costume’s detail!  John’s crafting of these images just leaves me floored.

John has since gone on to craft some of the most amazing cosplay photography I’ve seen in a while through his COTC Photography venture. I’m just one of his grateful photography subjects – his portfolio is exploding!  If you’d like to see more, you can find John’s photography through his Facebook page, COTC Photography.  Recommended viewing!

Costume: "Abbey" by Paige Gardner Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner
Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: "Abbey" by Paige Gardner Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner
Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: "Abbey" by Paige Gardner Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner
Photography: John Spectre, COTC Photography

Keep up with CostumeArtist appearances and more WIP projects through CostumeArt on Facebook and @CostumeArt on Twitter. I’d love to see you there!

The Stained Glass Costume Project: “Abbey” at DragonCon

Photography by Marcus Taylor | DragonCon 2014

Photography by Marcus Taylor | DragonCon 2014

Starting with a stack of thrift store coloring books, the “Abbey” costume project is easily the most labor-intensive and difficult task I’ve taken on.  So much…coloring. Seriously, I colored like manic five-year-old for weeks. Now, just the sight of a child’s crayon-ready placemat at Denny’s gives me the shivers.

Inspired by the outsized world of Warhammer 40K Adeptus Ministorum and influenced by Art Nouveau style, this costume evolved with my traditional tool kit of thrift store elements, no-sew shortcuts… tiny investement but lots of persistence.  It’s worth noting that I actually measured some things for this project (with a real measuring tape), which I consider a significant leap forward on my “things I can do” list. I’ll be posting the build background on the “Abbey” project pretty soon.

Abbey stepped out for the first time at DragonCon in Atlanta on Labor Day weekend.  And I had a fantastic time with this costume!  Convention-goers, friends and photographers were very kind – and happily, there’s a pretty good photo record from the event of her progress. The following images are Convention photos taken at DragonCon and I’m especially grateful to the photographers credited here (pros and amateurs alike!). Thank you to everyone who took a minute talk with me and help preserve the memories!

Photo by Richard LaMarre | DragonCon 2014

Photo by Richard LaMarre | DragonCon 2014

 

Photo by Angry Dog Studios | DragonCon 2014

Photo by Angry Dog Studios | DragonCon 2014

Photography by Marcus Taylor | DragonCon 2014

Photography by Marcus Taylor | DragonCon 2014

Photography by Jessica Stansel | DragonCon 2014 | Stained Glass Costume by Paige Gardner

Photography by Jessica Stansel | DragonCon 2014 | Stained Glass Costume by Paige Gardner

Photography by David Leo | DragonCon 2014 | Stained Glass Costume by Paige Gardner (with Doctor Q)

Photography by David Leo | DragonCon 2014 | Stained Glass Costume by Paige Gardner (with Doctor Q)

Photography  by Thomas John Spanos | DragonCon 2014

Photography by Thomas John Spanos | DragonCon 2014

Photography by Richard LaMarre | DragonCon 2014

Photography by Richard LaMarre | DragonCon 2014

PHOTOGRAPHY: “Trolloc” from Robert Jordan’s ‘Wheel of Time’ (#1)

20130216-_MG_4880-Edit-Edit-2385003875-OThis is the first set of images for the Trolloc costume I made for JordanCon 2012. As an uber-fan of the Robert Jordan book series ‘The Wheel of Time’, it was a project that I wanted to attempt for a while.  But it was only when a fellow fan – and master costumer – suggested a group cosplay of Trollocs for JordanCon that I really considered making a run at it.  I knew I had to make it using mostly recycled items, but bits of it would have to be made from scratch (my Kryptonite). Still, I cobbled the Trolloc together, stormed the halls of JordanCon with the group and had an amazing time wearing it.

These images include fellow fan, artist and artisan Paul Bielaczyc of Aradani Studios.  His Trolloc is really a master work. How good was it?  It was so realistic that someone seeing it called the police to the Sopes Creek park where we were doing this photo shoot, and reported that there were – and I quote – “Monsters in the park.”

The Dekalb County Sheriff’s Department arrived (along with another patrol car) in response to the call.  Once they rolled up, they confirmed that the “monsters” were in fact merely harmless, eccentric costumers making pictures in the woods. The police made their own pictures – Evidence, I think – asked us not to eat the hikers, and left with a smile.

My own costume was a serious beta version. My first attempt at a big mask sculpt (using model magic) was a bust – and this Trolloc headpiece no longer exists in its original form, as it deteriorated after a few outings.  Still, Dim Horizon Studio captured it in pictures while it didn’t look too bad. Honestly, they make everything look good.  The images hint at what could be  – a Trolloc build, done right.  It’s on my list.

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Paul Bielaczyc – Foreground