THE CONVENTION COLLECTIVE: Thank you for joining us in the Spotlight, Colleen!
The Convention Collective: How did you get into art/why did you want to become an artist? I also know you are a cosplayer, how did that begin? How did you get into steampunk?
Colleen Rodriguez: I come from a pretty artistic family, so it was one of those things I grew up with. My Grandmother sewed, knitted, crocheted, baked and many other things, one of my aunts did stained glass and another did leather work. My mom sews quilts as done another one of my aunts.
As far as cosplay, Halloween has always been my favorite holidays so dressing up was always something I was doing growing up. Then in my 20’s I was introduced in the Renaissance Fairs and then I started participating in events with the Society for Creative Anachronisms (SCA). My first comic con was in 1997 or 1998 and in 2000 is when I made my first attempt at an actual comic book cosplay and from there the hobby grew.
My venturing into Steampunk was the fault of a former co-worker. When we worked together he told me that he had a friend who was organizing a Steampunk convention here in San Diego and they were looking for vendors. Up until that point I had never really heard of Steampunk, so I started researching it and fell in love with it. I’ve always loved the Victorian era and this gave me the perfect opportunity to go down that path in my costuming.
TCC: What artists/creators inspire you?
TCC: Tell us your greatest fangirl moment!
Colleen: I would have to say it was meeting Susan Dawe and Grant Imahara.
TCC: Who is your favorite comic book character/movie/tv character (any fandom)?
Colleen: It’s hard to pick just one favorite. I love Harley Quinn starting with her first appearance in the animated series, but I’m also a huge fan of Batwoman, Wonder Woman, Jane Foster as Thor, Jean Grey, Rogue, pretty much any strong female character. Movie wise I would have to go with with Princess Leia/General Organa and for TV Characters, Crowley from Supernatural.
TCC: Favorite fandom?
Colleen: By far my favorite fandom has been the Supernatural Fandom. I’ve never seen a more close knit group of strangers willing to help one another out no matter who you are or where you are from. I was vending at a Supernatural convention in Vegas a couple years ago when I got a phone call from my husband saying that he came home to find one of our dogs, Rexx, had passed away suddenly. The amount of people who stopped to make sure I was ok and give me hugs was heartwarming. Never had I felt so much love from a group of strangers. I think a lot of that caring comes from the fact that the actors are huge into talking about and supporting mental health within the fandom.
TCC: What projects are you working on right now? Do you have any projects coming up you’d like to mention?
Colleen: Right now I’m up to my eyeballs in making Mandalorian Flak vests, but I’m also working on Luke Skywalker from the Clone Wars animated series as well as Ahsoka, a couple anime pieces and some steampunk pieces, all for clients. For myself? I’m working on my own set of Mandalorian armor.
TCC: With the lack of conventions a lot of artists are doing commissions and sending them out to people, are you as well? Where can people see an example of your art, and your rates?
Colleen: I am, the pandemic has given me the motivation to get a lot of my convention inventory listed in my online store, though there is still a ton of stuff to get photographed and listed. In addition I’m doing more commissions for customers since I’m not traveling for conventions.
TCC: When you’re designing, what do you use for background noise? Some creators use music, some use a TV show that they just can listen to. What do you use?
Colleen: Music has always been my choice for background noise. I listen to so so many different genres of music so my playlist can vary from day to day, but usually I play Octane on SiriusXM. I’m actually not a huge TV/Movie person in general, which people tend to look at me weird when I tell them that. If I have the TV on when I’m sewing, I find that I am less productive because I get sucked into what ever is on.
Thanks for your time Colleen!
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