Sunday, August 19, 2012

Interview: Carlos Blanchard

At this years 2012 Wizard World Philadelphia show (also known as the Philadelphia Comic Con) I had the pleasure of meeting Carlos Blanchard, one of the most respected and talented costumers in the industry. Mr. Blanchard has the midas touch; everything he creates turns into gold. He is the master mind behind the now infamous Facehugger corset, the controversial Venom latex shoot and the stunning Medieval Batman. A self described life long costumer, Carlos chats with the Confessions of a Cosplay Girl Blog about his craft, going viral on the web and his business, Rage Custom Creations.

Victoria: How did you come up with the idea for the Facehugger Corset?

Carlos: That is actually a funny story. I have a Facehugger kit that I've had for years, but never got around to painting, so I had it in the studio for one of those moments that if I needed a break from working on something else, I would try to finish it. So a female friend of mine was over, saw it, picked it up and laughed as she put it over her chest playing around, and she said “wouldn't this make a creepy bra?” I immediately had an epiphany, and the corset idea was born. I literally got on the Internet and ordered everything I needed to make it right then and there. The rest, well, you know what happened.

Victoria: How long did it take to construct it?

Carlos: Once I got all the pieces together, it went rather quick since I had figured out before hand how I wanted it to look, and how I was going to attach it to the corset. All in all, it took roughly 5 hours to make from start to finish.

Victoria: The corset has gone viral and has become a Internet sensation. Were you surprised to see how popular it has become so quickly?

Carlos: Actually I was. I figured it would go over really well as a wow piece, but when I got a text from a friend of mine telling me that the Stan Winston School of the Character Arts had featured it on their Facebook page, I had to re-read that several times, cause I just couldn't believe it. Stand Winston had always been my single biggest inspiration that got me interested in doing costumes and prop work, so having something of mine featured, or even mentioned on their page, was the biggest honor I have ever received in my life for any of the work that I've done in this hobby. But I also have to make mention that Dark Asylum Radio, a British based radio show, started the viral ball rolling. They loved my design so much, that they posted it on their facebook page as a give away to one of their fans, and the reaction to it was quite overwhelming.

Victoria: You're no stranger to Internet fame. Your Medieval Batman also went viral and you were featured everywhere. When did you come up with the idea of Medieval Batman and how long did it take to construct?

Carlos: The Medieval Batman idea was something I had wanted to do for years, but I wanted it to be unique, and something that had never been seen before, so when I finally decided that it was time to do it, I contacted Samuel Lee from, because I knew I wanted it to be made out of leather, and be the best, and having been a fan of Samuels work for years prior, I knew he was the first and only person I would go to. Once I made contact with him, everything just fell together. We both tweaked the design and his enthusiasm for this project, since it would be the first time he had ever done a superhero set of armor, was beyond inspired. It took him 3 months to complete the armor, mainly because he wanted it to be perfect, and he wanted this to be his show piece to launch Imperial Armories. I can't say enough great things about Samuel. There literally is none better.

Victoria:  You also designed an incredible Batgirl costume worn by Alexia Jean Grey which also made a splash on the web. Tell me about the process making that costume.

Carlos: Actually I didn't design it as the armor pieces are the same as the one worn by Alicia Silverstone in Batman and Robin film. The armor sections were made by Justin at Jester FX, but Alexia and I put together the rest. As I normally tend to do, I usually tweak the costume to give it more personality to reflect whomever is wearing it, as that is what usually sets it apart from other costumes. A good example would be the collar armor she wears on the costume. That is from the Robin costume, but it lends itself very well to the overall look of the costume, and gives it that little push that sets it apart. And of course, Alexia pulls it off perfectly. The second she puts it on, she becomes Barbra Gordon.

Victoria: The recent Mary Jane/Gwen Stacy Venom photos are causing quite a stir on the interwebz! You did the body paint and latex for that shoot, correct?

Carlos: Yes, that was my brain child, and I can't tell you how amazingly proud I am of how it all came out. Adam Jay, Max Cookies Power, Alexia Jean Grey, and Freddie Nova all did an amazing job of bringing my vision to life. They all brought their A game into this, and killed it. Both photographers and models brought their own different perspectives and personalities into this, and gave us two completely different aspects that worked beautifully on their own. I did all the body paint using liquid body latex to make the costumes, and acrylic paint to make the symbol on their chests. The latex really acted more as a prop, and had a life of its own considering how well it looked on film, and great it reacted to actually give the appearance of being a living thing. I couldn't be happier with how it worked out.

Victoria:  How long have you been costuming?

Carlos: LOL, I've been costuming since I was a little kid. I just never grew out of it. And as I mentioned earlier, I was always into prop making and creating different things growing up, so using all that I had learned through out the years, it was only a matter of time before I applied it to my costumes. I haven't looked back since. So I guess the best way to answer your question is to say, I turn 50 this year, and I have no intention of slowing down one bit.

Victoria:  Tell me about your business Rage Custom Creation. When did you start it? Do you take commissions?

Carlos: I had been doing commission work for a while, and finally decided that I should take it more serious since I had established myself in the costuming community, so earlier this year I started Rage Custom Creations as a way to showcase my work, and continue my passion for this hobby, and my graphic design.

Victoria: Can you give me a sneak peak on what you are working on next?

Carlos: Well, if I did that, it would ruin the surprise, now wouldn't it. But I can tell you that the next big project will be debuted at DragonCon by DJ Spider. It will be a sight to behold. It will also continue our ambition to make costume fashion, in the same line as the Facehugger Corset. Also, Adam Jay and I are planning out a Carnage photo shoot at the end of September, that will be the bookend to the Venom shoot.

Victoria: What shows/conventions are you attending this year?

Carlos: Hopefully I will be able to make it to NYCC this year, as Adam Jay wants to do a live Venom photo shoot at the con itself with Freddie Nova! That should make for an interesting show to say the least. And of course, there is Spooky Empire in Orlando, which is one of the best and funnest Horror conventions anywhere!

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