When you follow a cosplayer one of the things that may scare many people are the intense skills of the cosplayer and their following, but they are all human beings, some are more down to earth than others. This spotlight goes to one cosplayer from North Carolina, USA: AvantGeek.
Would you please introduce yourself to our readers?
I’m Olivia Mears of AvantGeek. I make unconventional art and fashion.
What is your primary method of funding your projects? Is cosplay your main source of income?
Costuming is my full-time job thanks to supporters on my Patreon page! I’m able to keep making costumes and video “tutorials” and in return send art to those who sign up (stickers, cards, prints). Aside from Patreon, I work on sponsorships and commercial contracts for commissioned pieces.
What are your favorite and least favorite cosplays?
My favorite costumes have been my Paint Dress series, especially the most recent, and my “art nouveau” Wonder Woman cosplay. I wouldn’t say I have a least favorite piece, but I do have many that I never finished either from lack of skill or loss of motivation for the context/character. Last year I worked for months on a Dreadlord costume with full body paint and textured armor. When the day came for wearing it, it felt like so much was going wrong that I ultimately put it away to return to later, once I felt more practiced and could fall in love with the process again.
What are the three most essential things to have with you when cosplaying at a convention?
At a convention, I think top priority is to have a friend you trust, especially if you’re wearing a complicated or large costume. Conventions are full of friendly people who want to help, but it makes a big difference when the person knows what parts of your costume are fragile, how it attaches, and can help you keep a clear mind in all the noise. Second priority is buying dinner for that friend. Lastly: a travel sewing kit with thread, needle, scissors, and lots of safety pins. Extra wig pins and a glue gun are also a good call. Always plan for costume malfunctions, but hope they don’t happen.
How did you grow your fanbase and what advice would you have for people trying to grow in the cosplay community?
I’m unsure of giving advice for this because I consider so much of it to be sheer luck, but I think it really depends on defining success as reachable goals outside of the context of fame. Growing my fanbase was never an end goal, but a bonus. I have different obligations now that content creation is my job, but my goals haven’t really changed.
Finish ‘x’ project by a certain date.
Create art that achieves specific atmosphere or design elements in mind.
Promote and sell finished art, with either a goal of number sold or amount earned.
Enter ‘x’ contest next year.
Whatever the goals are, I keep them within reason and remember that failure is a required part of success. I fail, I reflect, I try again. Either I succeed or I fail slightly better than before. When I finally return to that Dreadlord costume, I might fail again, but it won’t be for lack of improving my skills.
What surprises you the most about your fans? Is there anything a fan can bring you that will make you cry for joy?
Just having fans in general, haha. The moment people began approaching me because of my art was a game-changer, socially speaking. I appreciate the love and support I get that motivates me to be a better artist, but I also appreciate the responsibility to be a better person: to get better at talking to fans, providing a comfortable space around me, making helpful & encouraging choices… I want to be a good role model because I’m in the public eye whether I like it or not. But to answer the question: I’m a big fan of fans who bring their own art to show me and be proud of. I guess you can take the art teacher out of the classroom, but not the … art… out of the teacher? You get it.