JoypadAndMe were lucky enough to get a chance to chat with Cosplayer extraordinaire Pablo Bairan from over in the Philippines. Pablo came to our attention a few weeks back while the launch for Avengers 2: Age Of Ultron was being released. The reason for this was his immense Hulkbuster creation. The Hulkbuster suit is no small undertaking to both create and to wear due to its massive size. Many a cosplayer might have thought about scaling the suit down or making a few changes but not Pablo! His Hulkbuster is an amazing reproduction of the suit in the film. It has the size and scale that would make even the Hulk think twice about tackling. Moving on from his Hulkbuster its plain to see that Pablo is not just a one suit wonder, oh no, his creations all have a level of detail and quality that are hard to match. We couldn’t wait to chat to Pablo and get his thoughts on cosplaying and his creations.
Q) What was your first experience of seeing cosplay in the gaming community?
The first time was during the launch of an online game called Raganrok Online. It was a bit awkward with most people knowing each other only by their online personas. There were some people in costume and I recall thinking it was a bit odd as they did stand out in the crowd. There were some people who took photos, but because the game was new, most of the cosplayers were mostly ignored by the general public since they weren’t familiar with the characters.
The first costume I used was an Alien Hunter from Aliens so what interested me was studying the movements of the creature and I got a kick out of scaring or creeping people out. Later on, building new costumes and putting in interesting ideas and special effects were what interested me.
Q) What made you decide that it was something that you wanted to get involved in and did you intend for it to go as far as it has for you?
What keeps me interested is that there is a wealth of knowledge and techniques still out there and it’s continually a learning experience with new ideas and challenges every time. What keeps me going is the challenge of creating something new and the enjoyment of collaborating with costume makers that I really respect and admire.
Q) What was your first cosplay outfit and why did you choose that particular character?
It was an Alien Hunter from Aliens. Someone had already made it and I wanted to try to make it come to life by studying and acting like it did in the film (to the point of chasing some people down). It was a lot of fun because of the interactions you had with people and some really memorable photos.
Q) How do you pick out which characters you want to create?
Usually, it’s because it presents a challenge to construct, but at the same time, it’s important that it fits my frame and style. I have the advantage of being able to be strong enough to wear large costumes so I usually end up with mammoth costumes that tend to give it a wow factor, but usually it’s because of some technological idea of using something new like moving lights, sounds, etc.
Q) Does outfit, body style, overall perception of the character and attitude affect your decisions when deciding which character to take on?
Yes. I definitely cannot wear slim outfits because of my body type. Other than that, I prefer characters that have a strong character or attitude that I can somewhat emulate. I also prefer more recently released characters that are more well-known, but that’s just because I don’t want to have to sit down and explain who I’m dressed up all the time.
Q) What have been the reactions you have had from some of your creations?
It’s usually positive with comments like “how do you breathe?”, “is it heavy?”, “how do you see?”, “is it hot?” Mostly inquiries like that and, of course, the request for photos.
Q) What’s been the hardest cosplay character and costume to produce?
There was a 10-foot robot that was on 3-foot stilts that became a challenge not only to fabricate but to wear. We had to consider safety and durability as well as methods to transport it.
Q) How long does it take you to design and create the majority of your character pieces on average? Has there been any Exceedingly long creations?
The toughest is always when you’re trying something new especially when you have to consider proportions, silhouette and other factors. On the average it takes about 1 month to draft the concept then another month and a half to execute it. Sometimes it goes through some iterations though when a part is rejected and repeated. Some jobs, especially original characters, take far longer though. Some taking as long as 6 months to finish.
Q) There must be a financial investment when it comes to some of these outfits, have any been fairly extravagant?
Some require a lot of materials and electronics so that the cost tends to go up there. Most of it stems from the materials and parts used especially since a lot of materials are discarded when it doesn’t end up being the proper size. I’ve made the mistake sometimes of constructing two left legs or two right arms LOL especially when the deadline is looming.
Q) Have you ever had any extreme reactions from onlookers and fans for you creations both good and bad?
Kids often have the best reactions as sometimes they mistake it for the real thing or become so attached that they want to take you home. I’ve also had bad reactions where some people think that just because a person is trapped in a costume, they can mess around with you. This includes pinching you in places that hurt a lot, slapping you in the back of the head, etc.
Q) How much interaction do you have with your fans and followers of your cosplaying creations?
I don’t stay online as much as I used to, but I do try to answer questions as much as I can. This can take some time sometimes especially when I have a lot of work, but I do try to get back them as much as possible.
Q) What’s the cosplaying community like as a whole? Are they all generally supportive of each other or are there different sub groups inside the community?
I think it varies from country to country, but here in the Philippines, I would like to think we’re pretty supportive of each other. Yes, there are A LOT of groups, but other than a few bad apples, I like to think we all get along alright. Of course, with such a big and diverse group of people, there’s bound to be drama and tension, but, on the whole, I think we all get along alright.
Q) Cosplay seems to have taken off more in the past few years, do you have any thoughts as to why this might be?
It’s because geeky things are much more accepted now. With superheroes ruling the box office and conventions being more widely accepted, cosplay has gained more acceptance from the general public.
Q) How do you see cosplay in general evolving in the future? Are there areas that it can expand into and are there more lavish characters to be explored?
There are always improvements technology-wise that will make cosplaying more elaborate. There are always some new materials, new techniques and new technology on the horizon, but I think, as a form of entertainment, it should grow in the performance aspect as well.
Q) What have you got planned for the future in regards to new creations and appearances?
I would like to try more creature costumes as I dabbled in it for a while, but I think it will be mostly creating costumes for upcoming movies which is a great source of inspiration.
Q) Do you have any words of advice for anyone wanting to get into cosplay or wanting to step up a gear in regards to their outfits and the characters they want to portray?
Don’t be afraid to fail. Try something new and creative and put your heart into it. Never stop learning and always be open to new things.
Pablo wanted to mention a few people that he has collaborated with the produce the costumes and without which he wouldn’t be able to come out with most of these amazing costumes.
Thank you to Kino Kaoru, Benjie Testa, Guy Singzon and JBF Works.
A special thanks that Pablo wanted to give was to his wife, Tanya Obedoza-Bairan who is also the photographer and chronicler of the costumes.
Pablo is also an organizer for Cosplay Mania in the Philippines, Check out their FaceBook page and what they get up to by clicking on the link below.
Thanks to Pablo for taking time out to chat to JoypadAndMe and we urge you to check out his social media pages when you get a chance by using the links below. If you are interested in being featured in our cosplay interview section then please contact Graham at Graham@JoypadAndMe.com