No problem! It’s an Arda Wigs’ Matilda - lace front. I’m fairly certain I got it in silver. :)
No problem! It’s an Arda Wigs’ Matilda - lace front. I’m fairly certain I got it in silver. :)
Open for a limited time: Charitable Cosplay Shop
Another bit of exciting news!
I’m frequently asked if I sell prints of my cosplay work. I don’t. From a personal perspective I’d rather keep my hobby just that, and not feel bogged down by blurring the lines and running a business.
However, I think I’ve found a happy medium! After coordinating with the many talented photographers I’ve worked with over the years, I’ve opened a limited shop with prints to benefit charity - specifically The Trevor Project. Please read the FAQ for more info on how the donation will be made, but note that all proceeds will make there way to the selected charity. I will not be making a profit from this store.
The shop must close on March 10 - I need enough time to fulfill orders before I leave for Dublin in April. All prints 8x10 and buy 4, get 1 free. Please indicate in the buyer’s notes if you’d like them signed or personalized - I don’t want to scribble all over the art unless it’s what you’re looking for!
I’d much appreciate help spreading the word so we can make a big donation! As always, thanks for the support!
Today marks a major milestone in my career – something simultaneously exciting and sad, just as closing a chapter of life always is.
After three incredible years, my time at Crystal Dynamics is coming to an end. I’ve accepted a new industry job and will be moving abroad to Dublin, Ireland. I’ll be working as a European Community Programs Specialist at Riot Games, helping to establish exciting engagement opportunities for the League of Legends community. Not coincidentally, launching cosplay initiatives will be one of my areas of focus, affording me the rare opportunity of uniting my career and my hobby in one place.
I’m sure some of you are surprised by this news, as I’m regularly vocal about just how influential Tomb Raider has been in my life. That being said, Lara Croft is one of the many reasons I’ve embraced this new opportunity. Since a young age, Tomb Raider has inspired me to face my fears, to rise and meet challenges, and to always seek out new adventures. Moving abroad alone is equal parts terrifying and thrilling, and I can’t help but imagine it’s what a young Lara would do in my shoes.
To my co-workers: Crystal Dynamics is and will continue to be one of the most passionate and dedicated groups of people that I’ve ever had the honor to work with. I swell with pride when thinking of the amazing work that’s been done at the studio, and I have no doubt that you will continue to establish new industry standards in the future. I’ll still be one of Tomb Raider’s biggest fans – only now I’ll have a shot at avoiding spoilers.
To my fellow Tomb Raider fans: I’m extraordinarily lucky to have met so many of you. Being Crystal Dynamics’ Community Manager has afforded me unparalleled experiences, and made my life richer because of all the friendships forged, memories made, and lessons learned. I will never forget our time examining ancient Egyptian relics together at the Louvre, laughing over impromptu language lessons in Milan, or attempting indoor archery with you in New York. For these memories (and many more) I thank you, sincerely, from the bottom of my heart. I was proud to be part of this community before I started working at Crystal, and I’ll always be one of you no matter where my career takes me in the years to come.
Looking to the future - It’s no secret that Riot Games is an innovator, a fantastic employer, and most importantly in my eyes, a company fully and truly committed to its players. The League of Legends community is wonderfully diverse, talented, and passionate. I can’t wait to contribute to the community in big ways, and look forward to seeing many of you online, at conventions (look for me dressed as Iron Solari Leona soon!), and, of course, on the Fields of Justice. I’m a bit of an ARAM addict - but will be looking to climb the ranks in classic with friends over the coming months.
While I’m extraordinarily eager to start my life on the other side of the pond, I’m not rushing out the door at Crystal. Expect lots of updates over the coming weeks as I organize for my new life overseas – sort through my collectibles, sell my loyal Ford Focus, and get Donut and Sprinkles ready for an uncomfortably long “car ride.”
On a personal note, I would like to thank my family and close friends for their encouragement and support during this process. And to Sebastian – forever a partner and a friend – words can’t express my gratitude for placing any personal reservations aside and encouraging me to take this incredible opportunity, even if it puts an ocean between us. I love you.
Behind-The-Scenes With Project: Lex
Spent this weekend down in LA shooting Project: LEX with the most incredibly talented group of costumers, prop makers, and artists I’ve ever worked with. Here are a handful of phone snaps from this weekend - the final result will be stunning photos inspired by DC Universe Online by Adam Jay.
Can’t wait to share the final images once Adam has worked (more) magic!
Madly in love with these Gatsby-inspired photos from my shoot with five very talented ladies! I hope we get to work together again in the future!
[12/14/2013] Nine years ago today my brother was hit by a car and killed. While on my mind daily, each anniversary I pay tribute to him in some small way, by watching home movies, or writing, or eating a massive slice of chocolate cake. This year, it seems, I’m sharing photos. Because chances are you never got to meet Justin, and I wish you had.
Grief manifests itself in bizarre ways. Looking through photos makes me happy until the unspoken truth hits me again - there will never be another photo of Justin. I scrounge around trying to dig up another picture - and with it, another memory - knowing that my options are finite. The best I can hope for is uncovering a lost image - a moment forgotten until now. Even the mundane ones are priceless.
At least the photos we have are good ones, Budman. Miss you.
 Original Blog on Courage & Healing
Grief is uncomfortable to talk about, especially for those who haven’t experienced loss. That being said, we all will someday. Death is the great equalizer. To not know grief is to not live life. To not make connections. To not forge bonds. This simple truth gives me the courage to open up. Most of us understand the fragility of life to one degree or another. Some of us also sadly understand “the sharp knife of a short life,” as The Band Perry puts it.
I grew up in a family of five, sandwiched between an older and younger brother. Five is an odd number, literally and figuratively. Car travel was always a tad uncomfortable, with three budding teens squished in the back seat. A fifth wheel was required to venture alone on amusement park rides. Someone was routinely stuck in a ridged chair at the end of a booth for dinner.
We were a family of five, until I received the phone call no one ever wants to get. We were now a family of four. My little brother Justin – who I had the good fortune of loving without limits – was blinked out of reality by a car while skateboarding. It’s incredible how your world can change without so much as a cursory warning.
In my state of shock the phrase “does not compute” seems fitting. My mom, dad, Justin, and Chris were my everything. For the sixteen years of Justin’s life this had been my reality. The world as I knew it came crashing down. My goals, priorities, world views - everything needed to be reevaluated in a period of time where I couldn’t even get my brain to accept what had happened. Instead of crying I offered everyone coffee at the hospital. I called my work and tried to help them fill my shifts. I told family and friends “it will be okay.” Shock was a welcome companion for the rest of the night. Then someone drove me to my family home, I don’t even remember who, and the tears came in a torrent.
It was the sort of ugly sobbing that you see in movies and question if the person on screen is trying just a bit too hard, until you experience it for yourself. The gasping sort of crying that leaves your eyes throbbing and senses dulled and only ends when your body gives in to exhaustion. Eventually mine did. I remember asking my dad the next morning “How do people survive this?” He answered with a painfully honest “I don’t know.” Neither did I.
I slept. I watched the entire five-season run of Alias before revisiting Buffy. I went to therapy. I went on anti-depressants. I abused my doctor’s note to skip college classes. I ignored phone calls. I lost all sense of passion and enjoyment. The flame inside that once had me striving for greatness burned dimmer and dimmer until it threatened to extinguish.
I have no concept of how long I was in this blackness. Years, easily. Time didn’t matter much. I did the bare minimum that was required of me to stay in school, to emotionally support my family, and to satisfy the concerned and watchful eyes of friends. All the while I started to wonder if you could actually die from a broken heart. I didn’t want to die, though. I just wanted to sleep.
Eventually, with time, the blackness lessened. Years passed. Shades of grey entered my life again. Then muted colors. Eight years later, despite the sadness that is always one memory away, my life feels vivid again.
Sometimes gathering courage doesn’t require a public act of bravery or celebrated feat of human triumph. Sometimes it means little more than recognizing you need help. Continuing to put one foot in front of the other. Taking things one day at a time.
Sometimes it takes courage to push through the guilt and remember that it is okay to smile, to laugh, and to love. For me, courage meant taking that pain and focusing it. It meant not giving up. It meant making the most of the life I’ve been given, and doing so in a manner that would make Justin proud. I now live each day to the fullest and take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way. I will not look back on my life with regret.
It has taken years, but I feel stronger and braver today than I’ve ever felt before. I’ve not just survived, I’ve thrived.
Thank you for this incredible gift, Justin.
Charity Art Auctions: Warrior Wonder Woman and Steampunk Lara Croft Bundles
Hello everyone! I’ve just listed two original art bundles on eBay to support a pair of great causes.
The first is an original Steampunk Lara Croft art bundle on to benefit the Mercy Corps and their work aiding Typhoon Haiyan survivors. The second bundle features original Warrior Wonder Woman art to benefit the American Red Cross and those displaced by the recent tornados across the Midwest.
Both packages feature a polished color illustration and concept sketch from the immensely talented Tess Fowler, as well as a signed cosplay photo of myself in the ensemble she inspired.
Check out the links for more details on the auctions, and let me know if you’ve got any questions about the art!
I’d super appreciate any reblogs you can spare - I’d like to get the word out there and nab a sizable donation for each piece!
Portraits of a Khaleesi
I recently had the chance to shoot with I Must be Dead Photography (mature content warning) when he made a brief stop up in San Francisco for a gig. We’d been trying to find a time to collaborate, so decided to make the most out of the opportunity even if it meant shooting on the fly at his hotel. As we’re both fans of A Song of Ice and Fire, Daenerys was the natural fit.
We chose to focus mostly on portraits due to the limited time and space, but I was actually quite happy with the prospect. I’m a huge fan of his raw approach to photography - sharp, high contrast photos with little retouching done on the model. Imperfections lend authenticity and intrigue to his work.
Drawing from Daenerys’ experiences in the House of The Undying, I tried to express an array of emotions from fear to sadness and determination. These are incredibly unique images in my cosplay portfolio, and I’m madly in love with the end result.
Build notes for this costume are coming, but in case anyone is curious my eyes are indeed purple! I picked up contacts from eyesbright.com. :)
Themyscira: Returning Home
After dreaming about bringing Warrior Wonder Woman to life for years, this shoot at the Palace of Fine Arts feels like the zenith of the project. The setting was perfect, the weather beautiful, and the photographer - Andrew Ho - incredibly talented. I actually felt like an Amazon at home on Themyscira.
You can read my costume construction notes for Warrior Wonder Woman here.