Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dragon Con 2013: 13 Questions with Danny Ashby

As often happens when I want to cover subjects that I don’t know anything about or have any experience with, I asked for help with my Dragon Con costuming/cosplay interviews. Luckily for me I am friends with Sara, who was happy to not only set up Q&As with a number of people in the costuming community, but also wrote some dandy intros.

I very much want to feature these folks, but I just don’t know a whole heck of a lot about them. And as much as I’d love to have one-on-one interviews, it just isn’t practical at this time of year. So I needed an intermediary. Okay, fine – I needed somebody to do all the work for me. The questions are mine, though. That’s got to count for something, right?

This first one is of particular interest to me. As some of my long-time readers may know, it took me a while to get on board with Steampunk. Ever since I was young I have had a certain resistance to things that I perceived to be overnight fads – the whole grunge thing, vampires, Avatar. But over time I have really come to appreciate the ingenuity and creativity that goes into costumes from this genre. Not only standard fare, but the numerous mash-ups as well.

Please sit back and enjoy one of a series of Q&As brought to you by Sara. Think of them as Guest Posts that I specifically asked for. And thanks to all of the talented people who responded. You guys truly are the heart and soul of Dragon Con or any other con.
Danny is a sculpture artist and an incredible costumer.  He and his group, Outland Armour, are pretty much responsible for any high quality steampunk costume you've ever seen at Dragon Con.  They were the pioneers and continue to make incredible work and travel around the world as convention guests.
-Sara

1) What are your top geek passions? 
 
A) Steampunk tinkering, gaming, and comics.


2) What was your favorite toy when you were a kid? 
 
A) Slash the Evil Turtle from Dimension X

3) What is one album everybody should own? 
 
A) Tom Waits - Blue Valentines

4) Who is your favorite wrestler and why?

A) Stephen Hawking. He tackles the Universe without lifting a finger.

5) When and how did you discover you had a talent for costuming? 
 
A) It’s something I’ve always done since I was itty bitty. From making my own Halloween costumes with my mom to cobbling together my own set of Link’s adventuring gear, right down to having a red and a blue candle.

6) What’s your costuming background? 
 
A) From those childhood costumes, I began working on a Boba Fett costume in high school that slowly got more and more elaborate until it was a massive power armored reinvention of the character. That got me into going to conventions, which led to comic characters like Gambit from the X-Men and Spy vs. Spy, and numerous anime costumes, like Alucard from Hellsing and The Count from Gankutsuou. Eventually I started doing original steampunk characters, which led to steampunk re-imaginings of Star Wars characters and pop culture figures like Daft Punk.

7) If you could pursue any project, what would it be? 
 
A) I plan to create a live gallery show of summoned angelic figures from ancient mythology using special effects makeup and prosthesis. Like a metaphysical zoo, combining sculpture and costuming.

8: What's a favorite con memory? 
 
A) Meeting my wife. (DIABEETUS) Also when Jeremy Bullock and Peter Mayhew remembered me.

9) Which actor do you feel like you could sit and watch for hours no matter what they were doing and why? 
 
A) Jackie Chan. He is either kicking ass and defying physics, or being hilarious. OR ALL THREE AT ONCE.

10) What advice can you give to somebody just starting out making costumes? 
 
A) Don’t listen to your parents when they tell you that all the random junk you’ve collected is garbage. Also, don’t tell them I told you that.

11) Which costume did you learn the most from making? 
 
A) Spy vs. Spy taught me that even if the person running the Masquerade gives you permission to safely use harmless pyrotechnics in the ballroom, that doesn’t mean they have any real authority to do so, and that even if you don’t damage anything or hurt anyone, they will blame you for the fact that they almost got fired because they were too dumb to check with the fire marshal, and will take petty revenge by banning you for life from the contest. I also learned that fire marshals are serious. For reals. You should probably check with them before you even paint flames on your costumes.

12) Is there a movie that should never be remade and if so which one? 
 
A) Why should anyone remake any movie? Make some new movies!

13) Closer – what is your favorite costume that you’ve worked on and the story behind it?

 A) My original steampunk sky pirate character, Captain Vincent M. Dantes, Esq. He’s my alter ego and probably the costume for which I am best known. With my crew and their costumes, he helped bring steampunk into the geek limelight and connected me to a huge community of awesome and talented people. He’s taken me on many adventures (and misadventures) across the US and to Europe. He always reminds me that we are who we choose to be and this world is what we make it. But always drink responsibly.




Thanks to Sara for arranging this post and thanks to Danny for doing it. We’re looking forward to seeing what’s in store for us this year at the greatest geek gathering of them all – Dragon Con!

Be sure and come back tomorrow for more Dragon Con!

-Phantom

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