Wendy Wu, Creativity Everything Research Assistant, writes:

On May 20th of this year, I had the opportunity to go to Chicago to attend Anime Central, also known as ACEN, an annual three-day long weekend convention that hosts a variety of events and panels surrounding Japanese media and gaming. If you’re familiar with conventions, ACEN can be compared to Toronto’s annual FAN Expo.

A significant highlight of conventions is meeting people from different backgrounds and lifestyles, who come together for a shared passion: cosplay. Cosplaying is the practice of dressing up as a character from any form of media. Characters from TV shows, video games, comics, and essentially any form of media can be cosplayed. 

I had the opportunity to cosplay an original character that I created for my friend’s project, ŪNIT. The creator of the project, Yun Mago, is a self-taught artist who specializes in intricate mecha-inspired headsets and body pieces that all contribute to the visual storytelling of ŪNIT. The main ideology of ŪNIT is to express one’s multidimensional identities through tangible creations.

The creation of my persona all began with a playlist. I curated an hour-and-a-half-long playlist that I felt inspired my ŪNIT, with songs that resonated most with the personality and mentality of my persona. Once curated, I illustrated drafts of what I envisioned my ŪNIT to be.

I listened to this playlist as I worked on my ŪNIT, which was a total of three pieces. One headset, a pair of wings, and LED hip pads. 

Once curated and planned out, the process of creating each gear proceeded with these steps:

→ Acquiring materials from various department stores and recycled plastic 

→ Sanding, painting, and gluing pieces together

→ Trying on gear, making adjustments and additions as I go

The work was done over three days, including the night before my flight to Chicago and 4 hours at a table in the O’Hare airport after being the first to arrive. Though the crunch was arduous and less than ideal, it was very fulfilling to witness it all come together. 

Despite the challenging time limitations, it ultimately added to the final result. With only the few materials and tools that I could bring with me, I had to come up with creative solutions and find multifunctional purposes with what I had—finding purpose in what originally would have been waste led to a surprisingly pleasing end result.

There are still improvements to be made, and I believe with more time and better planning that I can better achieve my vision. However, unapologetically expressing myself through creating and cosplaying at ACEN this year was a thrilling experience that I wouldn’t have wished to have gone another way.

Read more at the ŪNIT website.

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