First name and last initial: Brandon Clarke AKA Brandon the Shapeshifter.
Where are you from originally or reside currently? I am originally from Boston, MA, but I now live in Salem, MA. There is so much history here, I love it! You can’t be a horror and history buff without having been to Salem, MA. I definitely recommend the city for literary travels.
How long you have been cosplaying? I have been cosplaying for about six years now, but I have always been fascinated with costumes and make up. Each year is a new experience, and each year I believe I am learning something new and unique that I can add to my skill set.
Which characters have you cosplayed? I’ve cosplayed many characters such as Maleficent, Pennywise the dancing clown, Doctor Strange, and Green Lantern. I am currently working on an original character (Arcadius, the six- armed and red eyed demon) from my 1st published novel, The Brave and the Wicked. This character is very near and dear to my heart. I have had the concept of him in my mind for the past three years, and I am so excited for when he makes his debut at Dragon Con 2018.
Who or what inspired you to cosplay? I was first inspired to cosplay when I went to my very first anime convention. I experienced so many positive things within the community that year. When I saw all of those elaborate costumes and intricate makeup techniques, I knew I wanted to do the same. There is just something about the art of transformation. It is euphoric.
What do you do when you aren’t cosplaying? When I am not cosplaying, I am writing. Writing is my steak and potatoes and cosplay is the sizzle! I recently published my first horror novel, The Brave and the Wicked, and now I am working on my second horror novel, The Ghost of Kyle Sugarbaker. When I am not cosplaying and writing, I also volunteer some of my time with the local LGBT community.
What costumes have provided the biggest challenge and rewards so far and why? My most rewarding costumes to date have been my Genie, Pennywise the dancing clown, master of time and space cosplays. I have gotten enormous reactions from those cosplays. I would say that my most challenging cosplay (which will also be placed in most rewarding once finished) is my Arcadius cosplay. I consider it challenging because I will be using different elements of design that what I am normally used to. I actually had to get a mold of my teeth to embody Arcadius’s grin! But I can’t give you all of my secrets lol!
What is the best advice you would give someone new to cosplaying? The best advice I would give to a newbie is to just have fun. Sometimes cosplay is taken too seriously and some of its luster is lost in a sea haves and have nots. At the end of the day we are all just imaginative adults living out our fantasies in an overcrowded room. I would also advise new cosplayers on obtaining proper consent. Some individuals believe they have the right to invade your personal space and touch you and your cosplay without proper consent. Have fun, don’t get too serious, and always ask for consent when it comes to cosplayers, their personal space, and their cosplays.
What is one thing the cosplaying community can do better when it comes to dealing with each other? People should remember or become more aware that every cosplayer brings something different to the community. Not everyone knows how to sew or apply intricate makeup. There is a myth that every cosplayer creates, sews, build their costumes, and do their own makeup. It’s not true lol! Not everyone has the patience and time to make their own costume. If they want to commission a costume let them. It is giving others an opportunity to work on their craft and their business as well. I wish other cosplayers would not be so condescending when it came to commission versus DIY.