We’re so excited to welcome self-taught costumer Alexis Noriega to #CapCity2018!
Alexis is a self taught costume maker who is best known for her work with animatronic and pneumatic articulating wings and high tech costume props. She has created custom costumes, props and accessories for a variety of cosplay and fashion styles and has a great passion for the art.
Alexis has been featured in an episode of Outrageous Acts of Science on the Discovery Science Channel for her work with articulating wings, as well as in an article on People.com and many random features on sites like Bored Panda, The Fabulous World Trotters, Thrillist, Insider Style, and The Modern Met. She has also created wings for R. Kelly, Miss USA International, and Jessica Nigri.
Alexis is a regular feature at maker/hacker events around Arizona, where she works hard to promote Women in Science and Technology and encourages young girls to get involved in math and science!
We sat down with Alexis to ask her a few questions about her craft.
How did you get started?
I got started cosplaying when I was 16. My first costume (battle angel alita) consisted of sprey painted sports padding and an unhemmed cape. After my first con I was hooked. After that I started making costumes regularly, or as regularly as I could between school and extracurriculars, and maintained the hobby through college.
Did you enjoy building things when you were a kid?
I enjoyed taking things apart more than I liked putting them back together! I always wanted to see how things worked and moved. I also worked closely with my dad at the house and in the garage whenever something needed to be fixed. We worked on my car, the house plumbing and electrical, and did tons of complicated carpentry projects. If we could fix it or build it ourselves, we often did.
How long does it take you to make a set of large wings?
A 12ft set takes about 80 hours of work. Most of it is not terribly complicated, just time consuming.
You’ve got some great tutorials online. Do you have any recommendations for cosplayers who want to make their own?
Start with tutorials, but don’t STOP with them. I started with a tutorial to make my first set, and boy did they suck! It wasn’t because the tutorial was bad, just that little things were left out. When making a tutorial I try and think of all of the little tips and tricks, shortcuts, and common mistakes that I can. Thats why my tutorials are so gosh darn long! But we can’t think or remember everything sometimes, and that can lead to the end user not making the perfect set. Start with a small version to try the tutorial out and get accustomed to using the materials. Practice a bit first before diving in. Note your mistakes, look for ways to improve, then try again. My first wings SUCKED! But I sure learned me a thing and kept it up. There is always room for improvement.
There are so many cool things on your web page! Do you have a favorite that you’ve made?
So hard to say! I love everything I make. I think my pheasant and mixed feather sets are my favorites, though. They are not as complicated. They are not mechanical. But boy… are they fun to make, fun to wear and fun to look at! They always come out so pretty!
Want to get started yourself? Watch Alexis’ first tutorial on YouTube!