Interview With The Craftsman: Joni


A picture is said to paint a thousand words. In the same vein, cosplay is not only defined by how it looks but it is also defined by the underlying effort that was given to bring the character to life.

For some people, preparing for cosplay is a simple walk in the park. Costumes may simply be bought, commissioned, or made with easy to find and already available materials. Some take than less than 24 hours to complete, some take months, or even years to complete. Of course, there are plenty of factors as to why – for example, budget, time and availability of materials.

In cosplay there are plenty of skills that can be learned from cosplaying. For some cosplayers, making your own costume adds more fulfillment to cosplaying. Most cosplayers start out with no knowledge about sewing or crafting which sometimes includes wood work, molding, painting, and carpentry related activities.

For Filipino cosplayer, Joni, who makes his own costumes, the availability of resources is an important factor for cosplayers who like to go hands in making their costumes. Even if it means travelling as far as the next cities just to find these materials that’ll make their cosplay perfect.

“Cosplay is about pursuing your passion and living up your most desired fantasy by bringing them closer to life. It’s a way of showcasing your skills and innovating them through different ideas and experiences,” says Joni, who ever since discovering cosplay, has taken it upon himself to bring to life the characters that he loved so much. He has always been a fan of mecha and because of this, most of his skilfully crafted cosplays are from mecha fandoms.

In 2013, his Ironman mk4 cosplay had won him 1st place at an event called Cyberzone Grand Cosplay. The following year, 2014, his Iron Patriot brought home the bacon from the ACE Cosplay Competition. Come 2015, he outdid himself by skilfully creating a wearable replica of Transformer’s Bumblebee that bagged two 1st place awards from two prestigious events that year and again in another competition in the early 2016.

Joni’s day job keeps him occupied but despite his busy schedule he still finds time to make his cosplays and luckily, this time, he was able to squeeze in a few minutes of interview in his schedule.

Joni as Iron Man

Tell us a little something about yourself.
My name is Joni, I’m a happy go lucky guy who loves to be around friends and other people. I love cosplay. I have learned a lot from it – I have gained a lot of experiences that inspired me to love what I do best and never stop learning. I am very honored and proud to be a cosplayer.

We know that cosplay can be quite unfamiliar in some places, how did you come across cosplay and what made you decide that you wanted to do this?
I have known cosplay since I was in college but never had the chance to participate in one because I really had no idea how to make them costumes and all until I witnessed one event at way back 2012. That time cosplay events had recently been introduced in the neighboring city from my hometown. I was really amazed by the participants who portrayed their favorite characters and was amazed with their costumes as well.

Cosplay takes time, effort and dedication. We understand that you also work on a full time job. How do you manage to still be able to dedicate some time for cosplay despite having a regular work schedule?
I’m a Civil Engineer by profession and I’m currently working as a supervisor at Club Kalsangi owned by Dole Philippines. I usually spare some time to craft things up after work. I love crafting. It’s fun!

Are there usually any cosplay events in your hometown?
Not really. Most of the time when I join competitions I have to travel to the neighboring cities that have cosplay events.

Do you also cosplay for other occasions aside from cosplay events?
Yes! Sometimes I do some appearances during birthdays and special events like Halloween and Christmas. I also cosplay for charity or community outreach programs.

What is the most awesome thing you’ve experienced as a cosplayer?
Definitely the fun in portraying my favorite character! Also the fact that I have gained a lot of friends who I dearly consider as family.

Speaking of awesome, your cosplays have indeed caught quite a lot of attention but your replica of Bumble Bee has really brought you to the spotlight as of late even winning you awards, yes?
My first ever cosplayed character was Ironman mk4 it was also the first time I won something. Bumblebee is quite a crowd favorite and I’m really happy that people really appreciate it. It has won several awards already.

How did you go about making Bumblebee and how long did it take you to make him?
Bumblebee was my dream cosplay ever since I saw the movie, Transformers. After watching the movie I told myself that someday I will build my own Bumblebee costume, and I did! I was really proud of myself because it took me only 2 weeks to finish it. I was really inspired it seems!

What materials did you use for Bumblebee?
Bumble bee was mostly made from rubber sheets that I cut and glued together with Greco 888(It’s a cyanoacrylate adhesive), and wooden stilts.

Bumblebee’s head is so detailed, did you have any patterns or a guide in making this? Care to give us a little peek at some WIPs?
I was really having trouble on making the head. I ended up searching the internet for patterns to make crafting it easier but did not find one. So I took the risk to do it with my own patterns by merely looking at the details of a picture and I bought a toy replica…it was difficult but it was all worth it…

Any challenges encountered when you were making Bumblebee? Do you experience having the same difficulties with other cosplay?
Laziness. Sometimes it gets in the way, but somehow I manage to overcome it.

If it’s okay to ask, how much does one costume usually cost you?
I really forgot how much spent…but I think I’ve spent about an estimated value of 2000 pesos (about 43USD).

What’s the best part about cosplaying?
For me, the best part of cosplaying is about sharing the joy with other people, especially with the kids. I love to see the smiles and the look of amazement on their faces. It pays off every single drop of effort all the time.

What’s something you’ve learned ever since you started cosplaying?
No one is too old for cosplaying!

Any future cosplay plans from you that we can look forward to? Any people you’d like to collaborate with?
I’d like to finish making my Ironman mk42 and Deadpool as well. I have too many plans but so little time. Que sera sera…

Where can we find you on social media?
I’m not really active on social media. I have a facebook but I do not usually post any cosplay updates. I usually grab the pictures from people who tag me on facebook. Thank you to them!


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