Inspired by Sideshow’s own Original Property Court of the Dead, and through their own volition, a creative team consisting of KeltonFX and Rachel Day took on an immense project by fabricating an entire Kier – Valkyrie of the Dead Cosplay, including full sculpted armor, functional mask, detailed body makeup, all the way down to piercing blue contact lenses. Kelton, Rachel and their crew went a pilgrimage to the desert in search of a desolate landscape in the heart of Joshua Tree, CA to recreate the tone of the Underworld, and give context to their incredible creation.
We were blown away by this endeavor, and reached out them to talk a little bit about their process and how it was to translate the aesthetics of the statue to a living-breathing mortal. Get to know more about these two here:
How did you get started doing cosplay/costuming/sfx?
Rachel: I started cosplaying at Blizzcon in 2007. I had heard that dressing up like elves is just what people do at conventions so I decided to give it a shot. Much to my surprise it was more like 1% of the convention population dressed up, but I had an amazing time! It wasn’t until 2013 that I started taking it seriously. I’ve since then cosplayed all over the world doing anything from Game of Thrones characters, to super heroes and even my own characters and designs.
Kelton: I started cosplaying back in 2007. I got into cosplay because at the time I was making my own clothes and I was into Japanese Visual Kei (Glam Rock) bands and I learned there was something called ‘cosplay’ and people dressed like their favorite band members or videogame/comic book characters and I dove in from there. I discovered my love for makeup and moved to LA in 2014 to do makeup/effects work.
What inspired you to take on this project?
Kelton: I’ve always been a fan of Sideshow’s statues and I love collecting figures so seeing the designs and the lore behind Court of the Dead, we knew this would be a perfect opportunity to combine our skills in costuming, sculpting and makeup.
Rachel: Trevor Toma [one of the photographers on the shoot] was the instigator on this project. We had worked together once before to shoot a battle-unicorn that I designed and after that project he suggested this might be something fun to collaborate on. I had seen the statues and concepts before and I loved them but I didn’t think it would be possible for me to achieve the high level of detail it would take to do this character justice. Luckily both Trevor and Kelton encouraged me and through that I’ve learned so much about sculpting I likely never would have pushed myself to learn.
And, Why Kier specifically?
Rachel: It started as Trevor’s suggestion but the more I looked at the other characters in the lineup the more Kier sang to me. I love all things Norse and the mythology around Valkyries has always inspired me. I love the idea of warrior women. Strong, fierce, deadly and not afraid to swing a sword and strike down their enemies. Kier takes this concept to the next level for me. She mixes the battle maiden feel with something so much more sinister and ruthless. It’s perfect.
Kelton: Originally we had intended to do an original makeup and we just fell in love with Kier’s design that it evolved into bringing her to life. The fact that she’s a tragic character and so beautiful yet deadly at the same time really spoke to us.
What was the development process like for fabricating the costume?
Rachel: I started working on this piece back in December and over the next three months slowly helped it come to life. Over the course of its creation I would say I probably spent about 60-80 hours in total on it.
Kelton: I sculpted the mask over Rachel’s lifecast which was made by her friend Steven Dwyer. Sculpting, molding and casting the mask took about a month and then I applied the makeup on set.
And, What was the collaboration process like?
Rachel: Kelton and I were constantly going back and forth and showing each other progress. I gave Kelton a life cast of my head to work on so we could make sure the mask fit me perfectly. Which it did!
Kelton: We’ve worked together a few times – me doing makeup for a couple of shoots that Rachel was doing but this is our first collaboration project together so we are extremely happy with how well it turned out.
[ Check out Part 2 of the Q&A Here ]