In case you couldn’t tell, I am incredibly into all things related to cosplay. I’m a huge freaking nerd and I love dressing up as characters from a wide variety of shows. For many cosplays, props such as axes, spears, swords, and armor are needed in order to be as accurate as possible in portraying specific characters. The amount of skill, time, and expert craftsmanship that has gone into numerous weapons, accessories, and armor is just extraordinary. The humans that are able to create these masterful art pieces are beyond my comprehension. One such individual I have met and commissioned, and I must say, he embodies all the ingredients of someone who empowers and inspires the cosplay community: Talent, compassion, and the desire to have fun with the art he creates. So please enjoy this interview with the creator of JJ Armory Inc.!
Name: JJ Griffin
Career/Job: Full-Time Student/Prop maker
Favorite Pokémon: Farfetch’d
Black Nerd Problems: Please tell us a bit about yourself!
JJ Armory Inc: I am a pre-med student are Virginia Commonwealth University and a fledgling prop builder in the cosplay and costuming community.
BNP: What about the cosplay community do you find inspiring and empowering?
JJ Armory Inc: I think the refreshing thing about the cosplay community is the self-confidence that it gives people. Certainly there can be a lot of egoism and self-aggrandizing as well, but it’s refreshing to see people really express themselves and gain self-esteem in the process.
BNP: How do you feel members of the nerd community can combat oppressive spaces regarding racism, sexism, homophobia, transpobia, etc.?
JJ Armory Inc: Talk about it. No, seriously, you always hear people say “Oh, if you don’t want [insert social issue here] to be a problem, just stop bringing it up”. Well, okay, why don’t we just stop talking about ISIS? Or world hunger? Or genocide? That is a self-defeating prophecy. When I hear people say “stop talking about racism/misogny/etc”, I just hear “Please stop complaining and suffer in silence”. We need to be willing to get these grievances out into the forefront of the collective consciousness– really just drag them kicking and screaming into the daylight so it’s impossible to pretend they do not exist. Only then are we going to begin to see progress made.
BNP: What helps with your process of creating props?
JJ Armory Inc: The most important part of prop creation is to do your research. It used to be, 10-15 years ago, there was very little info out there, and most of the really advanced projects and techniques were only possibly in production studios. But thanks to sites like cosplay.com, the Replica Prop Forum, and YouTube, there is a good chance the prop or armor you are trying to build has already been done– and many times the builder has shared their process. Looking at what someone else did right– and wrong– can save you valuable time and money in the long run.
BNP: If you could choose two fictional characters to become the next Calvin and Hobbes, who would they be and why?
JJ Armory Inc: Can I pick Calvin and Hobbes to be the next Calvin and Hobbes? I really just want more Calvin and Hobbes.
Photo Credits: All Photos supplied by Cosplayer/Interviewee.