Costume artists coming to FanCon

It takes a team to make a TV program look good. Think of all those costumes and props that can make a superhero show look as cutting-edge as Deadpool’s swords or as dull as Thor’s hammer.

When you are generating as many superheroes as The CW Network right now, you need a crack team of imagineers and makermasters to bring comic book characters to life.

Two of those behind-the-scenes ninjas will be at Northern FanCon to describe how they do what they do for shows like Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and other programs and movies.

Andy Poon is a colourful artist who specializes in costume imagery, but has a skill-set from concept illustrator all the way through to full artistic design of a show.

Aaron Harrison’s workshop has Harrison Arts hanging over the door.

Inside is a mad lab of leather and metal that he cobbles together into props and costumes.

Both Harrison and Poon are highlight names in the Vancouver film industry, and they sometimes get to work together. In addition to their own individual fan interactions, they will share the stage at Northern FanCon to talk about how a project goes from concept to design to reality to the screen.

“Aaron is a friend of mine and he was at Northern FanCon last year, came back and told me all about it, said it was one of the best ‘cons’ he’d ever experienced so I should be there too,” said Poon.

“Andy is an all-around nice guy and a very talented artist,” said Harrison.

“We kinda did something together once before with the props master from Arrow, but this is new for us in most ways. We will be doing something at FanCon that’s never been seen before.”

By tag-teaming the discussion, they will be able to deepen the fans’ understanding of how all that eye-candy apparel comes to happen.

Between the two of them they have had a hand in the visual qualities of everything from the first live-action Deathstroke costume in history to the cartoon steampunk of Monster High.

A lot of times they take their cues from others involved in the production, and in many instances they come up with it out of their own imaginations to the delight of the show’s other team members.

“We do have a lot of creative control (in the work for The CW’s shows) in the sense that we work with Maya Mani who has ultimate control, and there are instructions from the producers which can be really specific or really vague, and they are huge comic book fans who know the material, they know the tone of what’s already been done on the show, so Maya starts to generate the idea and then sends that to me and I take on the job from there, chew it all up and come back with quick sketches to see if I’m on the right track, I might offer some extreme versions to get the right direction to go,” said Poon, giving a thumbnail version of how it often happens.

Harrison and Poon agreed that one of the most surreal and gratifying feelings for them is to be at a fan convention and see their creations reflected back to them by cosplayers.

Sometimes they will get into deep conversations about how the fan replicated and engineered the various parts at home, without the fan knowing they were actually tapping the brains of the source minds.

Harrison, with the first Prince George con under his utility belt, can’t wait to come back for more.

Some of those conversations in P.G. were among the best he’d ever had, he said, so that’s why he is loading up a whole museum of movie props from his own collection and borrowed from friends in the business, to show the fans here.

“I’ll be able to explain how those things are used, how they are taken care of on-set, where they go once a project is finished, how they get recycled sometimes into other productions, how they were made in the first place, some of the little improvisations you have to make, sometimes. Each piece has a whole story to it,” Harrison said.

Northern FanCon runs May 13-15 at CN Centre and all three Kin Centres.


© Copyright 2016 Prince George Citizen

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