As one of the artists who will make up the roster of the first ever Southern GeekFest in Hattiesburg, MS April 2-3, variant cosplay artist Ace Wheelie will appear on at least two of the panels there. His art will be available for sale on the convention floor, as well.
Don’t be put off by the title. Wheelie creates spectacular images resembling comic book covers using a basic image of a cosplayer. He photographs his subject against a gray, solid background with three lights. Digitally removing the background, he then composites the photo with a scene he creates using Photoshop. The end result is reminiscent of a classic comic book cover with a painting feel to it. The scene may include images from several sources, all blended to develop the imaginative final design.
Some of the scenes show breathtaking actions, while others depict stunning beauty, all touched with the magic of Wheelie’s skill. He describes variant cosplay art as suggestive of the old comic book covers that were not the main stream production line, but were more unique than those that were released.
Phantasm Magazine stocks his artwork, and he tours various conventions to meet cosplayers who would like to be subjects of his art. He sells the finished images with the subject’s permission as well as presenting the subject with a copy.
Wheelie started with band photos, but he laments the lack of control over the shoot environment. Later, he went into the modeling world, dealing with fashion and magazines and he brings the skills learned in those earlier endeavors into the cosplay world.
He remembers his first convention, the initial PensaCon, and the feeling of “home” and “family” he found there. He yielded to his “nerd” side and began working with cosplayers and the convention world. Now he will help get Southern GeekFest off the ground with his knowledge and experience.
Wheelie has been in a wheelchair since he was 3-1/2 years old. As a paraplegic, he appreciates the openness of the con community. He acknowledges that he is judged on his abilities rather than his disabilities at the cons and he wants to give back by sharing his skills with others.
He will talk about “overcoming the adversity” which circumstances may hand out. “Just because life has given you this doesn’t mean it’s over,” he says, discussing his desire to inspire others to see beyond their limitations.
For Ace Wheelie, the world of conventions has allowed him to share an amazing talent to a group of people who appreciate the result. The world is a more stunning place because of his art.
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