Costume play, or cosplay for short, is a form of performance art where participants role play specific characters. It’s been a growing hobby for more than two decades, and it’s become a growing industry.
Not every character needs a mask, but many do. And that’s where Evansville’s Emily Bachman and Dark Cornerz Artistry come in. She started making leather masks in 2010, along with other leather accessories.
Bachman wasn’t really into cosplay before she started making the masks, but now she travels across the country going to conventions and showing her masks and other items. Customers can either buy one of the pieces or give Bachman a specialty order.
“I think it is really important for people to express themselves,” she says. “If I can bring something really unique for them that’s what’s important.”
What made you decide to start Dark Cornerz Artistry?
The love of simply creating and designing costumes. I realized after some trial and error I really enjoyed working with leather versus fabrics. I started out small with a few very detailed costume masks, mostly science fiction themed. After great feedback at my first convention at EvilleCon, I began expanding into other accessories. Now, I create custom pieces as well as my own designs. I am inspired more everyday by movies, TV shows, and my very enthusiastic customer base.
Who are the masks made for?
They are created for anyone and everyone, adults and children alike; everything from Halloween masks to cosplay enthusiasts. There is a wide range of people whom my art appeals to. Some people even use my pieces as wall art.
What’s fun about making masks?
The most exciting part is traveling and seeing the pure joy of those who find a finishing piece for their costume. I also am approached by those who choose one of my masks to create an entire costume around. Now that’s fun!
Do you have common requests?
During my travels the most common requests have been for superhero style masks and armor accessories. The need for superhero masks encouraged me to create kid-friendly foam masks. These are specifically designed for a child’s face and are a perfect alternative to my leather masks.
Do you have a piece you’ve made that is a personal favorite?
My favorite would have to be the Green Man mask. It’s based off a tree spirit mythology, and it was my most enjoyable art piece to create. The mask is bordered with curled leaves, which emphasize a realistic and dimensional overall feel.
What else do you make besides the masks?
I also make a variety of other accessories. These include eye patches, bracelets, chokers, helmets, and tiara headdresses. As my business grows and I receive more customers’ input, the accessories I make also will expand. In the near future, I’m looking into introducing thermo plastic into my inventory. I’m excited to see how my customers will react to these new possibilities.
How much of your business comes from word-of-mouth?
Some does, but I also (promote the items) on Facebook and I go to conventions every few months if possible. The comic conventions themselves are a fantastic way to advertise. My customers are my best promoters; they show off their costume accessories everywhere they can. It really allows them to become their own characters and express themselves.
Are there many artists who make masks?
It’s pretty unique. I would say there are only a handful of crafters who work with leather to specifically create masks. I feel it’s important to branch out from just making masks and offer more choices to the public. That’s why I advertise the creativity aspect of what I do. If people don’t see what they want on my table, they can always request a custom order. I love bringing people’s imagination into a reality.
For more about Dark Cornerz Artistry, visit its Facebook page at facebook.com/DarkCornerz.