Cosplay and Newfoundland culture

A newly opened exhibit in The Rooms displays costumes made by locals.

Kayla Burry arranged the Cosplay exhibit at The Rooms, on the right is Vanessa Pinsent's 'Xenomorph' costume. Mugford/Kicker
Kayla Burry, left, arranged the Cosplay exhibit at The Rooms. Vanessa Pinsent’s xenomorph costume is from Alien. Tyler Mugford/Kicker.

Tyler Mugford

The Rooms have added a new addition to the exhibits – cosplay.

Kayla Burry, who works at The Rooms, is the mind behind the exhibit. She says putting these elaborate pieces of work on display is a way of showing people that cosplaying is becoming part of Newfoundland’s culture.

“A lot of people are really interested in it,” Burry said. “It’s just getting the word out that these craft people are here and this is what they’re doing.”

Cosplay is also referred to as costume play. Cosplayers often take inspiration from popular characters from comics, movies, TV or video games and mimic the way they dress and how they act.

The cosplayers who want to dress up as their favourite characters usually make their costumes from scratch.

There are many online groups with members who share the passion.

The intricate ensembles now on display at The Rooms are made locally by people who love the craft.

One of those cosplayers is Vanessa Pinsent, who started cosplaying in 2015. She enjoys the challenge of creating a costume from everyday materials – like the interlocking foam mats seen on gym floors and nurseries, commonly known as EVA foam mats.

Pinsent’s costume is the recognizable xenomorph. The character first appeared in the 1979 film Alien directed by Ridley Scott.

“The costumes that are on display here look almost professionally made, but they’re not. They’re done by amateurs who are working mostly alone.”

Pinsent says she spent six months to build her xenomorph cosplay and is grateful to see her hard work made public.

“It’s very honouring to have my work displayed,” Pinsent said. “To have a piece that I’ve spent months on in an open space for all to see, even those who normally wouldn’t attend events like Sci-Fi on the Rock.”

Pinsent says building costumes from scratch has its challenges. She had to figure out how to fit the head of the Alien to the body, and how she would walk in the xenomorph costume.

“The challenges I faced were mostly with the stilts that make the suit digitigrade,” said Pinsent. “Getting them on the right angle, fitting properly and (making them) sturdy.”

Digitigrade is the type of legs dogs and cats have. They walk on their toes and don’t touch the ground with their heels.

Burry says the cosplay pieces will be on display until Nov. 4.

“We consider it here as a craft,” said Burry. “The costumes that are on display here look almost professionally made, but they’re not. They’re done by amateurs who are working mostly alone.”




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