We recently had the honor of doing an interview with the ever talented SFX Makeup/ Cosplayer @Aluhhhsonsfx aka Alison McCann.
When did you start cosplaying/ doing sfx makeup?
I actually had no interest in makeup at all for most of my life. I was actually in college for Music Business a few years ago and being a broke college student, I couldn’t afford a Halloween costume. I went online looking for some DIY ideas that I could pull together with stuff I already had and ended up doing a sugar skull makeup one day and dressing as Bloody Mary another day. It was the first time I ever tried face painting or used fake blood and I loved it! Then the following Halloween I did my first “SFX” look, where I dressed as Freddy Krueger and used liquid latex and toilet paper to replicate his burns. After that Halloween I just kept watching YouTube videos and trying stuff out, and it just kinda snowballed and here we are today.
What was your favorite character to cosplay/sfx makeup as?
My 2 favorite cosplays I’ve done so far are probably my Silent Hill nurse and my Corpse Bride.
What first attracted you to cosplay/sfx makeup?
I’ve always loved Halloween, so that first Halloween I tried out makeup was a really eye opening experience for me. I’ve always been a creatively-minded person but I never knew where to funnel all that energy until then. I never expected makeup to be my outlet, but once I started I couldn’t get enough of it. I just love dressing up. I love creating something out of nothing. I love using different characters to highlight and express certain aspects of my personality. You know how they say Halloween’s the best day because you can be anyone and anything you want to be? That’s every day for me. It’s just so much fun.
What is your favorite part of doing cosplay/sfx makeup?
Seeing the final look come together at the end. A lot of times when I’m in the process it really looks like a mess and it’s hard to envision the final product. When I’m cosplaying specific characters it’s so fun to look at them side by side and see how well you recreated the look. If I’m working on a character I created myself, it’s so awesome to see the idea I had in my brain translated in real life. It rarely works out exactly how I pictured, but that’s part of the fun, I think.
What conventions/events will you be at this year?
I definitely will try to hit all the horror conventions I can! I’m definitely more of a horror nerd than a comic nerd. I live for horror movies. Blood, guts, gore– I live for it.
What was the first con you went to? What was your general reaction to it? Who did you Cosplay at that con?
My first convention ever was NYC comic con 2 years ago. I actually was asked to be a featured artist by the illustrator of this comic book called Curves and Bullets. He found me on Instagram and liked my work so he asked me to cosplay characters from his book at his booth. It was an amazing and surreal experience. It was such a long weekend but I had a BLAST. It’s so amazing to see such a huge group of people that all love the same thing come together like that. The amount of time and energy put into the cosplays at Comic Con is NEXT LEVEL. I met so many awesome people there. I had 3 characters I dressed as; one was a she-devil, one was a skeleton, and one was an alien. It was the first time I did pretty full-body body paints on myself and I loved every second. It was SO much fun.
How does Facebook/social media influence your costume making/sfx makeup and character selection?
I definitely get a lot of inspiration from other makeup artists and cosplayers on Instagram. There’s such an awesome little community of artists that are super supportive and love to collaborate and it’s like a little family. It’s pretty amazing. So I definitely get a lot of ideas and inspiration from other artists, and not necessarily just makeup artists, but illustrators, sculptors, photographers, etc. I also watch Youtube videos, especially for costume/prop making.
Do you have a dream cosplay/sfx makeup?
The list I have is SO long. I think my absolute dream cosplay would be Barbara and Adam from Beetlejuice, the part where they’re showing what they’re going to do to scare people and have that awesome horror transformation. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do that look, and Beetlejuice is one of my all time favorite movies. I’d also really like to do a full 13 Ghosts photoshoot and I’d love to re-do my Silent Hill nurse with a full army of nurses. I also really want to do an AHS series with all of my favorite characters from each season.
What is your personal favorite cosplay/sfx makeup you have done?
Definitely loved my Silent Hill nurse. But I also really loved dressing up as Elvira and Morticia and Wednesday Addams. I love all the classic women in horror so cosplaying them is so fun.
Most memorable moment whilst cosplaying or doing sfx makeup?
Going to conventions and having everyone want to take pictures with you is so amazing. It’s kind of awkward and pretty surreal but it just feels so good to know people are digging your costume and appreciating all your hard work! I’ve been featured on Buzzfeed and Popsugar a few times which was also REALLY cool. Also when Cassandra Peterson liked my Elvira pictures on instagram it seriously blew my mind. She’s been an idol of mine forever so to know she saw my cosplay and approved of it was so awesome. My goal is to meet her dressed as her.
Where do you get your ideas for your next cosplay/sfx makeup?
Everywhere. Other makeup artists, cosplayers, painters, photographers, movies. I find inspiration everywhere. I have pads of paper all over that I jot down ideas in all the time. Most of the time I have so many ideas it overwhelms me haha.
Have you had any cosplays/sfx makeup go wrong/encountered problems whilst making cosplays/sfx makeup?
So many times. There have been so many times when I start doing something and hate it, wash it off and start again. Sometimes it takes a few tries, sometimes it never translates. It can be really frustrating especially considering how much time I put into it, but I try to think of every mistake as a learning lesson. Every little bit of practice helps. You learn more from your mistakes, honestly.
Have you ever done group cosplay? If so how did you find that experience?
Actually…. I haven’t, which is kind of upsetting. I think it’s just hard to coordinate with big groups of people. But I definitely have group cosplays planned for the future. Stay tuned.
Do you have one piece of advice that you would give to cosplay/sfx makeup virgins?
Don’t compare yourself to other artists. Sometimes I get really down on myself and feel like I’m terrible and then I’ll see a picture from a year or 2 ago and it will make me realize how much better I’ve gotten and how much I’ve grown as an artist. It’s hard to not constantly be comparing yourself to other people, especially on social media, but it’s best to just focus on you and your improvement. Focus on getting a little better every day and just having fun with it.
What is your dream con/event to go to and why?
MONSTERPALOOZA. I’ve been planning to go to Monsterpalooza for the past couple years but there’s always been something to keep it from happening. It’s in Pasadena and is the biggest SFX convention in the country, at least to my knowledge and in my opinion haha. I’m definitely going to make that one happen this year.
Money is no object, what geek collectible you would purchase? (real Batmobile, Superman #1, etc.)
Elvira’s Thunderbird. Not really a collectible, but I’d also really love to live in the house AHS Murder House took place in.
What is your favorite part of sfx makeup/cosplaying?
Just getting the opportunity to be a different person whenever I want. It’s just exciting to explore all the different parts of your personality through characters.
Have you ever regretted cosplaying/sfx makeup a specific character?
I don’t think I’ve ever regretted it.. there are definitely cosplays I did awhile ago that I’d like to revamp because I think I could do better now though.
Can you share with us any future cosplays or sfx makeup you are planning?
I’m in the middle of doing 31 days of Halloween right now, so I’m going to be having 31 different makeups/costumes — one for each day in October! So I have quite a few spooky cosplays coming up. I’m particularly excited about my Pinhead look. And I’m not sure if I’ll finish it before Halloween, but I am working on a demagorgan from Stranger Things. Super excited about that one too.
What is your favorite character you have brought to life via sfx makeup/cosplay? Have you ever created your own original characters?
I create my own characters all the time! Sometimes I have a specific idea in my head that I try to personify and other times I just sit down and start painting and have no idea where I’m going to end up. Both are fun, but I think the former usually works out better haha.
What does geek mean to you?
I’ve always seen people who are SUPER into things be described as geeks. And if that’s the case, I think that’s amazing! I love people who are really passionate about things and go all out when expressing themselves. I think that’s a truly beautiful thing. When I go to conventions and see all these fanatics under the same roof going all out in their cosplays and connecting with other fans, its just so amazing. I love being around passionate people. Honestly, I’m thankful to be a person who loves something enough to pour myself into it! If you find something that makes you happy and you’re willing to put time and energy into it, I think that’s always a good thing, and definitely something to be celebrated.