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SUGAR GAMERS: Anime Weekend Atlanta 2016 Prt. 2

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Each year, thousands of people prepare for their roster of desired conventions. May it be the iconic and world class SDCC (San Diego Comic-Con) to local annual conventions like DCC (Denver Comic Con) which we covered last year and Atlanta’s Anime Weekend 2016 (AWA). Many go for the merchandise, others go to scope out the “Artist Alley’s” while others attend to sport out their latest cosplay creations.

This year we were very impressed, with tons of con-goers in full gear the cosplayers were truly out in force to make a statement. It has become a worldwide phenomenon and continues to rise to new levels each year. Cosplay is true to its name “costume play” which falls under almost every category of fandom, from popular video games to manga and Anime. This year at AWA we got to see some of the best that Atlanta has to offer, with tons of eclectic cosplayers it was hard to capture them all in just four days. But thanks to lots of Pocky and Calpico we were able to scope out what we thought were the best in a total of two days and 26hrs.

We hope you enjoy..!

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Every convention has one, and every year we wait and see who shows up with a booth. The “Artist Alley” is always a sought after portion of conventions around the country. They are well received for inviting artists to come and showcase their talents, and the best part is everything is for sale. From posters to original prints, tophats to pins and even dragons that sit on your shoulder. Artists in the alley are able to talk with attendees, sell some swag and network for their benefit. Its hard to convey the enthusiasm through an article, but each convention we’ve attended has energy and respect for the artists that showcase. Its a great opportunity to get your hands on original work, to snag a commissioned piece and even meet some local entrepreneurs. The “Artist Alley” at AWA this year was spectacular, the diversity of artists was instantly recognizable as you combed through the isles. The artists were approachable, friendly and eager to share their inspirations. We wanted to get more on some of the highlighted artists that we encountered, but unfortunately in the moment its hard to find the appropriate opportunity. But, fear not lucky for us we were able to pin point a couple that in our opinion stood out and were able to provide us with a short interview alongside their work.

ANDY GRAY

For more on Andy Gray and his work click here: https://squareup.com/store/andygrayart

You can purchase his art showcased in our video by clicking the link above.

Due to an overwhelming amount of material, one of our audio files for artist David Barnes was corrupted and we were unfortunately unable to add that into our article. We apologize to De-Jaguar for this unfortunate situation but wanted to still include his information and art.!

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David J Barnes (De-Jaguar)

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For more on De-Jaguear and his art click here: http://dejaguar.deviantart.com

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Follow De-Jaguar on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dejaguar_

As we wrap up our coverage for Anime Weekend we got a few requests for a brief interview on a cosplay duo that we were spotted photographing. These guy stood out for their unique interpretation inspired by an iconic anime character Canti (カンチ Kanchi) from the anime “FLCL” otherwise known as “Fooly Cooly”. Some of you may have spotted these TV Head cosplayers as they pop up at conventions across the country, but at AWA this was my first time seeing these eccentric tele-head cosplays up close. Now these cosplayers specifically are Atlanta natives that have sported a prior version of these designs at another one of Atlanta’s massive conventions called “MoMo-Con” earlier this year. We were able to secure some photos and a run through of how these heads are made, and how you at home can design one yourself, lets take a look.

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Photo Credit: Lee Friedman

Is this your first year at AWA..?

We have been to a handful of conventions, but this is only my second time at AWA and his third.

Where did you get the inspiration to create the “TV Heads”..?

The main inspiration for them was Canti from the anime “Fooly Cooly”.. Once we looked it up and saw that it had been done before, and was therefore possible, we went for it.

What does it normally take to create one..?

Well the go-to object to start off with is always an old crt tv set of course, but aside from that we really only use acrylic/spray paint and an assortment of plaster and clay for any 3D additions.

Do you see these “TV Cosplay Heads” a lot at conventions, or do you think you guys are pretty unique..?

I don’t want to act like we came up with it, I’ve seen it done online, but I’ve only seen two other ones in the conventions we’ve been to and have yet to have the opportunity to see someone take the idea past the appearance of a basic tv set in person. I’d like to think of ours as unique, but it’s definitely been done.

What kind of reactions do you guys get from con-goers when they see the two of you..?

We seem to be more noticeable to other people at cons than I expected we would be, people mostly are curious about it and ask us very often whether or not we can see, if we hear them or how heavy they are. I think being dressed in something that doesn’t have to conform to the idea of something that people have already seen before takes away expectations and adds to the interest people have once seeing them.

Can these heads be a DIY Cosplay idea for an everyday fan..?

Most definitely, the best part about this is that you can go either as simple or complicated as you want. A basic tv head can be a simple days-long project once you have the right materials, but you could take it as far as you want by adding your own designs and pieces to make it your own.

Tell us what normally goes into creating the heads, and can you see taking them to “the next level”..?

If so, how..?

Half of the process of the tv head is getting the actual base down. This includes stripping out the crt tv completely, knocking out the glass screen and replacing that with something much lighter. Next is cutting out the head hole and padding it to be wearable. To take it to the “next level” as far as construction will be a bit more tech-savvy for us; we’d like to work more with speakers or LED’s but we’re definitely most excited to try incorporating a working screen into them.

When Cosplaying your heads at conventions, do you create a character concept along with each design..?

So far with these we’ve always started out with a specific colour scheme we want to go with. For example, my first one incorporated any pastel colours while his stuck with either strictly black or black/red. Then we decide which style we’d like to lean more towards, whether it’s a more grungy, Steampunk, or the Pastel Goth. We would also like to draw more inspiration from recognizable characters and animals in the future.

So you and your boyfriend both sport these creations at each convention, is this a “Duo-Cosplay Concept” or do you think someone could rock ’em out solo..?

This CON was actually the first time we both wore them at one time, and while it’s inspired us to draw out some concepts of more “couple orientated” sets, one tv head is definitely enough for people to notice and enjoy seeing.

Obviously these TV Heads are a huge hit but don’t you feel a little restricted by them..?

There are obvious restrictions to these, you can’t really hear or be heard and they can weigh down on your shoulders after a while, but it isn’t as bad as it seems. They aren’t as sight-restricting as you might think and it feels like a safe option for those who want to cosplay but are self conscious about being noticed in it or are too shy to talk very much about it.

Seeing you guys this year at AWA and noticing the detail and creativity that’s gone into them, how far do you think you can take this concept..?

Like I said, this is something you can take as far as you’d like to and we definitely want to get more technical with them. Our next goal is going to be to get a working screen into them to play different videos we make, partially so people will stop pressing the buttons and ask why they won’t turn on, but mostly for the impressiveness of it..!

So if you don’t mind, for our users/subscribers here at Sugar Gamers can you give us the 411 or “step by step” on how we can make one of these and how deep would we have to dive into our pockets..?

With the overall look you can get with these, like delving into detailed mecha designs and the use of lights and such, it seems like an elaborate and expensive project. But in actuality an old tv can be found for $5.00 at a thrift store and most anything else needed will be available to you at any craft store. So it’s something that doesn’t require very much money or resources. It only takes a day or two of work to rip out all of the unnecessary parts and fit it comfortably on your head before you can go anywhere you want with it. We use a mix of wire, plaster, and paper clay to make any pieces we need as a way to make them light enough to keep at a wearable weight. All are supplies that don’t go up very much in price and can last through multiple projects.

We definitely think this cosplay is a must try, it’s fun and creative and the possibilities are endless. If you think you’d want to give it a go, we would love to see what you come up with..!

So of course we can’t complete our coverage of the weekend without giving you a peek into Saturday night’s closing festivities.

Come the end of every Anime Weekend’s highly anticipated Saturday night is the long awaited RAVE. With tons of heavy hitters this year like Heavy Grinder and a set of local DJ’s. We were there to witness the dirty beats and gritty drops with hoards of cosplayers and staff. Take a look..!

Events like Anime Weekend Atlanta always seem to bring out the best in creators. This year at AWA we were hit with a ton of innovative ideas, long lasting friendships and a ton of awesome merchandise. Environments like this are always inspiring for the fans and press and we surely look forward to what next year has to offer. We hope you enjoyed our coverage, and let us know what you think..!
Until next time.

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Kyle Barboni

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