Merry McQueen: 15 Minute Photo Shoot

We were filming a tiny scene at Sloss Furnace for the 2nd Steampunk Boba Fett fan film (the 1st film, Trial of the Mask can be seen here). The Merry McQueen costume was needed for a very brief appearance as the major domo in the film. Dim Horizon Studios was on hand for all the BTS and cast photography, and it was my good luck that Matt Nicholson took an extra 15 minutes with me after the brief scene to craft some really outstanding images of this most recent costume project.

The following images are examples of what Dim Horizon magicked up in just 15 minutes.

Photography or witchcraft. You decide.

"Merry McQueen" (Paige Gardner of CostumeArt) photographed by Dim Horizon Studios

“Merry McQueen” (Paige Gardner of CostumeArt) photographed by Dim Horizon Studios

Merry McQueen Costume Art Paige Gardner Cosplay Steampunk 11

“Merry McQueen” (Paige Gardner of CostumeArt) photographed by Dim Horizon Studios

Merry McQueen Costume Art Paige Gardner Cosplay Steampunk 14

“Merry McQueen” (Paige Gardner of CostumeArt) photographed by Dim Horizon Studios

Merry McQueen Costume Art Paige Gardner Cosplay Steampunk 18

“Merry McQueen” (Paige Gardner of CostumeArt) photographed by Dim Horizon Studios

Merry McQueen Costume Art Paige Gardner Cosplay Steampunk 19

“Merry McQueen” (Paige Gardner of CostumeArt) photographed by Dim Horizon Studios

Merry McQueen Costume Art Paige Gardner Cosplay Steampunk 21

“Merry McQueen” (Paige Gardner of CostumeArt) photographed by Dim Horizon Studios

Merry McQueen Costume Art Paige Gardner Cosplay Steampunk 23

“Merry McQueen” (Paige Gardner of CostumeArt) photographed by Dim Horizon Studios

Merry McQueen Costume Art Paige Gardner Cosplay Steampunk 01

“Merry McQueen” (Paige Gardner of CostumeArt) photographed by Dim Horizon Studios

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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

 

Darth Nihilus Star Wars Costume Paige Gardner  o

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

Darth Nihilus Star Wars Costume Paige Gardner  p

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

Darth Nihilus Star Wars Costume Paige Gardner  z3

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

Confessions of a Middle-aged Cosplayer

temp dc logo 2014Even though I’ve been a panelist and presenter for years at Dragon Con, I’ve never received the distinction of being an “Attending Professional” until today. I got the official word last night and am truly excited to be included with all the other attendees who have put the years into their craft. I also understand that there may be a ribbon attached to the badge and truth-be-told, I’m really stoked on that front. I never seem to get fluttery ribbons on my badges. This is an important development through my lens.

More importantly, this news arrives just as I approach a personal milestone.

Photography by Argo Road Images

Photography by Argo Road Images

I’ll be turning 50 in mid-August, right before Dragon Con 2014. While I am definitely in the mind-camp of “age is just a number”, my age had MUCH to do with my drive toward mask-making. When I finally decided in my 40s that I would take my costuming public and into the convention world, I fretted about my age. I was so concerned that I might be perceived as ‘too old’ to cosplay some of the edgier looks, that I decided to focus on masked costumes; costumes that would hide my face, my skin, ie. hide my age.

I literally hid my identity at conventions crowd for the first couple of years. And it was grand. Stepping behind a mask allowed the focus to remain on the work, the costume itself. I moved freely among crowds with an unselfconscious anonymity that let me admire others’ costuming and prop work (without obviously creep staring – ha!). I love crafting masks and truly revel in the wearing of them, but the initial impetus toward hiding my aging face was simply a fear of being harshly viewed by the much younger majority of individuals who cosplay.

 

Photography by Dim Horizon

Photography by Dim Horizon

But over time, as I settled into the costuming and convention world, the mask came off with more frequency. I started making masks that showed my eyes (crow’s feet and all). I began to accept invitations to serve on costuming panels – with my real face – and I eventually become a Guest at select events. My early fears of being marginalized due to my age proved unfounded as I found the warmest welcome, the most rewarding friendships among this tribe of all ages. Despite some of the drama to pops up here and there, the cosplay world is truly an open-minded, supportive and wonderful world of artists.

I decided last year that I would start driving toward my 50th anniversary on this earth with a mission. I resolved to take on big projects that challenge my skill set, to learn new things. I resolved to travel/Guest everywhere I was invited. I resolved to not hide my age, but rather celebrate it. And it’s been a whirlwind of awesome since then. In the past year, I’ve crossed the country from Comic-Con International in San Diego to Contemporal in Raleigh with a host of adventures in between. Middle-age is rocking so far!

Dragon Con was my first convention back in the day. Dragon Con is where most of my volunteerism goes. Dragon Con is the big deal that’s close to home. Dragon Con is the pilgrimage event that my friends and I point our hardest costume work toward. Dragon Con is the event that is so energy building it requires – nay, demands – a daily countdown from its fans. That said, in the larger scheme of things, my new status for Dragon Con 2014 is really just a small ripple in a very big pond of talent. It is, however, important to ME as a very welcome and important milestone in my Year 50 journey.

It feels a bit like I’ve finally arrived.

The truth is, I’m just getting started.

Yours truly,

Paige

PGS photo william mcleod

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m also @CostumeArt on Twitter and Facebook, if you want to see what an old lady does on the weekends! Here are a few m

Dieselpunk inspired version of "Siri" - from repurposed phone parts and salvaged electronics | image by Dim Horizon Studios

Dieselpunk inspired version of “Siri” – from repurposed phone parts and salvaged electronics | image by Dim Horizon Studios

ore examples of an old lady in costume 😀

Warhammer inspired Stained Glass "Abbey'

Warhammer inspired Stained Glass “Abbey’ | image by Lynx Pics

"Trolloc" inspired by Robert Jordan's 'Wheel of Time' book series

“Trolloc” inspired by Robert Jordan’s ‘Wheel of Time’ book series | image by Dim Horizon Studios

Aiel Maiden inspired by Robert Jordan's 'Wheel of Time' book series

Aiel Maiden inspired by Robert Jordan’s ‘Wheel of Time’ book series | image by Dim Horizon Studios

Darth Nihilus | image by Dim Horizon Studios

Darth Nihilus | image by Dim Horizon Studios

Steampunk Bird Hybrid | Costume by Paige Gardner Smith | Image by Dim Horizon Studios

Steampunk Bird Hybrid | Costume by Paige Gardner Smith | Image by Dim Horizon Studios