Who Am I?
My name is Chris Wildrick. I’m an art professor at Syracuse University.
As an artist, one of the things I try to do is show the art world and academic world why they should treat cosplay with more attention and respect.
I think cosplay is a particularly important art form today, because people who come from marginalized communities have used it in such amazing, vital ways to become more centered in our society, as well as more empowered, accepted, and respected at a time when they are often otherwise ignored, put down, or under threat.
What I Want to Do
My university is going to have an exhibition of faculty artwork this fall. What I would like to do with my spot in this faculty exhibition is to show a lot of photos of people who consider themselves to be members of a marginalized community, and who use cosplay to combat that marginalization. People whose cosplay makes them feel more loud, more proud, more open, more accepted, more in control, more respected, more who they are and who they want to be.
“Marginalized community” can be defined however the person wants, but certainly it would include people of color, immigrants, women, LGBTQ+ people, people who face religious discrimination, people who are neurodiverse and face mental or emotional challenges, people who are “disabled,” and people whose bodies don’t fit within supermodel norms.
How to Be a Part of My Project in the Exhibition
Email me your image at firstname.lastname@example.org. The image should be as high-resolution as possible. Send me:
- Your name (your actual name or your cosplay name, either is fine).
- The name of the character you are cosplaying.
- The name of the person who gets credit for taking the photo, if you know it.
- A few sentences about why you chose this cosplay, how it connects to your identity, and how it helps you feel positive, strong, respected, or included. It doesn’t have to be complicated–if you just feel that wearing your costume makes you more visible in our culture, that’s great!
• Maybe you don’t fit in with conventional standards of beauty or weight, but think you look great in your costume anyway.
• Maybe you costume with a disability.
• Maybe you have emotional challenges and cosplaying helps you get past that.
• Maybe you want to increase the visibility of people of color.
• Maybe you want to show that women’s costumes don’t have to be designed with men in mind.
• Maybe you do crossplay, genderbending, or play off of other stereotypes.
I will print out a picture of your cosplay along with your information and hang them in the exhibition. I have room for about 100 photos. If I get way more than 100 submissions, I will hang the most powerful images, and will put the rest on a video monitor which will constantly cycle through everyone’s images.
The body of photos will be called This Is Who I Am.
I will display the project, including all the credits, on this website. I will also create a digital book with all the photos and credits, and post it to this site as a free PDF for download.
I want to emphasize that you have to submit a photo of yourself. Don’t submit a photo of someone else. This is about who you are.
My whole goal here is to show what a vibrant community we have, how powerful cosplay can be in battling against social bigotry and ignorance, and why non-cosplayers should pay attention to the social positivity in our artform and community.
tl;dr: If you feel like you are marginalized in society, and you use cosplay to combat that, send me a photo with your name, your photographer’s name, and an explanation of how you use cosplay to create a position of respect, acceptance, and/or representation for yourself. I will put your photo and info in the Syracuse University faculty art exhibition this fall.