Welcome to Creator of the Month, where we feature an incredible creator from our community of fans and learn about who they are beneath the surface. This month, we have the Calgary Cosplay Craftsmanship Cup winner Matt Leverton!
1. What city are you based in?
2. Tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Matt, I'm 37 years old and I make a living as a freelance artist. There are two things about me that are well known amongst my peers; they are my passion for creativity and my lifelong geeky interests. I love all things video games and have been an avid reader of Venom comics since I started picking up books. I am that guy in the group that is always thinking outside of the box and trying to make something cool and unique. I'm consistently trying out new methods and mediums to create with. When I was a kid people jokingly said that I would grow up to be an inventor. The truth is I just loved making unique stuff that I thought was interesting.
3. How did you get into cosplay?
I've always had a great love for Halloween. Dressing up as a kid are some of my favourite memories. Turning my home into an elaborate haunted house has become an annual tradition for me, and with each year I challenge myself to raise the bar. In the last few years, I've started building my own creepy decor from materials like cardboard, wood and foam. My costumes had been largely store bought, but I started to dabble in making little accessories and props to enhance them. It turned out that this was excellent practice for my debut into the cosplay world.
I do have to give credit for doing my first cosplay at a convention to my lovely girlfriend. We have a mutual love for the Alberta Expos (we met at speed dating at the Edmonton Expo) and she loves to cosplay. It was her idea to cosplay at a convention together. I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity for me to challenge myself to learn some new skills and create my first full costume from scratch. Cosplay was something I had considered doing in the past but that little push was enough for me to commit to the idea.
4. Do you have a cosplay piece that you are most proud of?
I was really proud of the staff that I designed for my costume from a technical standpoint. It utilized a lot of different techniques including LEDs, epoxy resin, foam carving and foam clay. It represented a unique challenge for me to make something with these elements included in it that looked cool but also being mindful of how to transport it safely, have it be sturdy and reliable, as well as effectively hide yet still be able to access the battery box. I was also pleasantly surprised with the foam clay elements on this cosplay; I wasn't sure what to expect from that material when I started to use it but it is some really amazing stuff.
5. Your Kenku Warlock cosplay was amazing! How did that come about?
The costume started as finding a fun "couples costume", a set of costumes that we could do that kind of went together but we had a mutual passion for the source material. We had recently decided to try out D&D for the first time with a group of friends and were really enjoying the experience so we thought that bringing our characters from the campaign to life would be a fun idea. The great thing about doing an original character was the complete freedom to make him the way that I wanted. I could be flexible with the materials, time and skills that I had access to. If an idea didn't pan out as I planned or I changed my mind on how I wanted a piece to look that was okay, I was free to make those happy accidents because there was no hard reference I had to adhere to. The base idea for him was inspired by his namesake "Val'Ravn" from the Hellblade video game but I wanted to give him more of that warlock feel in his clothing and weaponry. I used a lot of references from the World of Warcraft warlock class and the character Medivh for these ideas to compile something unique.
6. What was it like winning Best in Show at CALGARY EXPO Limited Edition?
Wow! Just what an amazing and unexpected experience! To be honest, I wasn't even planning on entering the contest until people on the show floor encouraged me to enter. I never could have imagined winning any of the awards, let alone best in show! I was in complete shock. I've been attending the Alberta Expos for over a decade and the level of craftsmanship, dedication and talent that those people showcase on stage is unbelievable. It was an absolute honour to stand alongside and meet those wonderful folks. I really enjoyed chatting with them backstage as we were preparing, talking about what we made and what techniques we used to achieve our final look. I really enjoyed the entire show while I was in cosplay; everything from the wonderfully kind comments from attendees to the huge smiles on their faces when they took their picture with me. It was an unforgettable experience that I will always take with me moving forward. I am humbled by our amazing community and I am so incredibly proud to be a part of it.