This month's awesome artist spotlight goes to the talented cosplayer Evil Otto Jr!!!! Check out some awesome photo work and learn more about him below!!
· Where are you from?
I’m from Canton, OH but currently reside in Waynesboro, VA
· How did you end up at your first convention or anime inspired event? If you were in your first cosplay? What was it?
Well, my first convention was OmegaCon 2015, which I attended because I’m personal friends with a lot of the founders. I was there as Star-Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy (I’m noted as having a striking resemblance to Chris Pratt); though it wasn’t my first cosplay, it was my first one at a convention
· How long have you been cosplaying/creating art/shooting for? What do you think has been the greatest change in the community since you’ve started your art form?
I’ve been cosplaying since I was about 14, when I started going to a local Rocky Horror Picture Show as Alex from A Clockwork Orange. I kind of fell out of it for quite a few years until The Dark Knight Rises came out in 2012, when I made a Batman suit mostly from scratch; after that, my transition into conventions has been pretty seamless. Probably the biggest change in the community is how mainstream it is now; where cosplay was once kind of a niche thing, now it’s something that everyone knows about and a lot more people do, and less people think you’re weird for doing it
· Who are your head cannon cosplays, or favorite cosplays to shoot or draw?
Head canon, you say? Well, I have to mention Eric Cartman For Real, the best Cartman cosplayer (and friend) around. Mangoloo (L&M Cosplays) was born to cosplay Ruby Rose. Aaron Rabe is a *ridiculously* accurate Captain Jack Sparrow. Captain Cody Cosplay and Iron Knight Cosplay ARE Captain America and Iron Man. This is a big question actually; I could go on all day haha
· Which cosplay/drawing/photo shoot has provided you with the most challenge so far? Which one has been the most rewarding?
The answer to both is Coco Adel from RWBY. She’s an 18-year-old girl whereas I’m a burly bearded man, so I really had to step out of my shell. Conceptualizing the genderbend itself wasn’t too hard. The hard part was actually making the cosplay. It’s by far the most ambitious project I’ve ever undertaken. Not only did I learn to sew a lot of my own garments (hat, vest, pants), I also learned how to use an oxyacetylene torch (I brazed together a belt buckle of solid aluminum), and learned to sculpt EVA foam. I made a giant Gatling gun prop that weighs over 25 pounds and has motorized barrels and sound effects. What was even tougher was that a year later, the gun melted in my car, and I had to remake about 80% of it in less than a month when the first one took three. Having the chance to rebuild was a blessing in disguise, because where the first gun was a rough beginner project, the second was a refined product I could truly be proud of. Because of this cosplay, I have traveled to cons all over the nation, won multiple awards, and met countless friends. Cosplaying Coco has been a genuinely life-changing experience
· What is your favorite convention to attend and why?
That’s hard to say. OmegaCon is my home con, and my first, so I definitely have a soft spot for it. MAGfest and Katsucon are both excellent cons (Mag for gaming, Katsu for cosplay) in a fantastic venue, and both are also great party cons. Conapalooza is a newer con that had an excellent first year and is high on my must-attend list. NekoCon and Zenkaikon are also good medium-sized cons with good venues in great areas. Honestly though, more important than the con itself is who I’m attending it with, and most of the time, that would be my Con Fam. We have a very tight-knit group of friends spread out across a few states, and it was at Katsucon 2017 that the bulk of us met for the first time. So Katsucon is now kind of a big “family reunion” for us, and that’s important to note. But as long as I’m with them, even terrible cons (and there are a few) can be fun and memorable experiences
· What are your hobbies outside of your particular art form?
I like to make YouTube videos on various things (e.g. dubbing over episodes of How It’s Made, a few music videos, editing Godzilla into fighting John Cena). I also dabble in writing screenplays, writing music, some casual video gaming, collecting Godzilla figures, and astronomy
· How do you balance that with your normal everyday life?
I don’t really, haha. Honestly, work life (I work in a machine shop currently) and hobby life are in a constant battle for my time. Fortunately, much as I dislike my current job, my hours are flexible enough, and my expendable income reasonable enough, that I can continue all of my hobbies – in the rare case that I have the energy to do so
· Is there anything else you want to tell people thinking about stepping into the world of cosplay/art/photography?
First things first: you CAN do it. I run into a lot of people saying “I could never be as good a cosplayer as you”, and that is dead wrong. I started from nothing. But the knowledge is out there, and freely available. Just go make a thing; it might not be perfect but that’s okay. After you finish that, make a better thing. And then an even better one. That’s all there is to it.
· Where can we find you on social media or check out some of your work? Facebook: evilottojrcosplayer (Profile), evilottojrcosplay (page which I don’t really use) – Instagram: evilottojrcosplayer – YouTube: Evil Otto Jr. Productions