Graham and Teresa are the founders and members of Predator Cosplay Australia. They have attended a wide variety of venues and events, including PAX, Comicon, and movie theaters. As part of Studio Yutani’s Creatives series, contributor Ozymandias (Luis Lopez, Jr.) has authored an interview with Graham and Teresa.
We hope you enjoy a look at the inner workings of their cosplay process, interest in Predator, and the brilliant suits created by the couple.
Ozymandias: When were you guys first exposed to the Predator mythos?
Graham: Both Teresa and I have always been fans of the Predator movies and franchise, Predator 1 was an iconic movie back in the late 80s and we had both seen it many times before we met, now, of course, we have the whole box sets and posters.
Ozymandias: Is this your first cosplay?
If it isn’t, what was your first cosplay?
Graham: Teresa has cosplayed before doing Aurora, at a charity event and Comicon 2017, I was still doing research on the suits.
Ozymandias: What inspired you to make your own set of Yautjan Armour?
Graham: Well the suits were inspired while thinking up a name for our Bedford van, In the late 70s and early eighties I was a custom painter, doing mainly airbrush work on panel vans and of course my own, after 10 years of showing and judging, I left the scene and sold the van in 88, but the Bedford van was one I had always wanted to paint due to its size, so in 2016 I bought one, and immediately started to to give it a full custom makeover, I was not thinking about naming it at this stage, just focusing on the bodywork, after two years it was finally all in primer and ready for its paint and graphics, picking a name or theme is difficult, but with the AVP movies, there was lots of artwork reference material, so it was decided, AVP would be its name, and the graphics would be Alien and Predator scenes.
Now at van shows it can be very boring once you have set the van up on display, the day drags on until presentation time late in the day, so I thought wouldn’t it be really cool if we dressed up as Predators and became part of the display just to pass the time away, this had never been done before and I knew it would blow people away, so this is how our suits started, and during the winter I got going on my suit first, the theatre room was now converted into my art studio, and I started to teach myself how to work with EVA foam, now it does help to be an experienced airbrush artist, and a perfectionist for detail, that probably why mine took 12 months to make, Teresa’s only took 6 months because I had already made most of the templates, and she did not have the plasma cannon.
Ozymandias: What was your favourite part about making the costume and why?
Graham: My favourite part of the suits was the plasma cannon, it was the most difficult and time-consuming, part but also the most rewarding, lots of different materials were used in its construction, from Lego, plumbing bits, Styrofoam, top off containers, even vents of portable heaters, the main body was all hand carved, then covered with ultra-fine fibreglass cloth and epoxy resin, a toy gun was used as the framework of the cannon, but there wasn’t much left of it once I finished.
Ozymandias: What part was your least favourite and why?
Graham: My least favourite part of the suits was airbrushing the spandex suits, they were placed on mannequins, but extremely hard to work on, and very time consuming, the detail had to be right, so every scale was individual painted, lost track of how many hours were spent on these, and they were the last part of the suits.
Ozymandias: How long did it take to finish the whole cosplay?
Graham: My suit took 12 months, and Teresa’s was 6 months, but we are still making fine adjustments to them, fans, intercoms, sound effects, etc.
Ozymandias: What materials did you use?
Graham: My material list, mm were do I start, I will try and keep this simple as I can,
EVA foam, XPS foam, fibreglass, parts salvaged of broken things, airbrush paints, epoxy resin, soldering iron, heat guns, glue guns, Lego parts and lots of other bits and pieces.
Ozymandias: Are you satisfied with the end result?
Graham: Both suits have there good and bad points, because of our weather here in Australia, they had to be durable enough to wear in hot conditions, so some compromises had to be made, and some things aren’t perfect to the real Yautjan armour, especially Teresa’s, as the female predator is just a myth, so we came up with our interpretation of what we think she could look like, but overall I’m happy with both of them.
Ozymandias: If you could, what would you change about your cosplay?
Graham: There is not much I would change with the suits, we are having great fun with them and are looking forward to the next big project.
Ozymandias: How long does it usually take to get suited up?
Graham: It takes us approximately 25 -30 minutes to get ready, depending on how much room we have to lay out all the bits
Ozymandias: How often do you all get stopped at conventions?
Graham: Ha ha, getting stopped at conventions, sometimes it can take us an hour to get 200 meters, this is one of the reasons I had to fit intercom’s into the helmets, we just kept getting lost from each other, and we will always do our best to make sure people get there picture with us.
Ozymandias: How long have you guys been fans of the Predator movies?
Graham: We have been fans of the Predator movies since the very first one, although number two was a disappointment, and the new one is a bit weird, but we still enjoyed it, I hope someone out there does the new human suit, now that would be awesome, you can never go wrong with big guns and rockets, if I didn’t have another project I would seriously consider it.
Ozymandias: What is your favourite Predator movie?
Graham: Our favourite Predator movie has to be AVP 1, the interaction of the Aliens was well done and seeing one of our favourite characters, the Queen, makes it twice as good to watch.
Ozymandias: What did you think of The Predator?
Graham: The Predator is a true trophy hunter, relentless in the pursuit of its prey, and it also has respect for its opponent so it can be a good guy or bad
Ozymandias: If you could make your own Predator movie, what would the story be like?
Graham: Would like to see a Predator movie starting at there own planet, and more of there technology and history, and of course the human race popping out of hyperspace with massive marine gunship cruisers, let the battle begin.
Ozymandias: What other characters do you guys like?
Graham: We both like anything associated with the Alien movies, especially the Queen.
Ozymandias: How long have you guys been doing this?
Graham: We have been Predators for two years now, and are having a ball, met lots of new friends and being able to attend charity events is very rewarding.
Ozymandias: Would you guys like to visit the States?
Graham: We would love to go to one of the big conventions in the States, they have some very imaginative people there, and go to a lot of effort to immerse themselves in their characters.
Ozymandias: Would you like to tell us about yourselves?
Graham: A bit about ourselves, well Teresa and I are both over 50 years old, we have been married for 26 years, and luckily we have similar interests, we have a 20-year-old son who also cosplays, we enjoy our horses, dogs, and country living, we both work, and like our privacy, the last two years have seen our lives go in an unexpected direction with the cosplay scene, we would never have thought we would be doing what we do now, its something we all enjoy and look forward to upcoming events, the reception we get is amazing, and the friendliness and respect we get from other cosplayers is overwhelming, its so nice to be with like-minded people.
I am not a competitive person, in fact, I’m very reserved, but enjoy showing people my work, we have entered a couple of competitions, but would rather mingle with the crowds, that’s what gives us the most enjoyment, and having the helmets on, makes it so much better for me, its really funny when we take them off, people don’t expect to see experienced humans haha.
Ozymandias: Is there anything you would like to say to the readers?
Graham: What we would like to say to your readers, there is no age limit to doing cosplay, let your imagination go wild and enjoy yourself, we only wished we had started earlier, keep an eye out for our next project, it’s going to be BIG, should be ready in the next twelve months. Oh, and the van is on the back burner for now, having too much fun with the suits haha.
Graham & Teresa
If you would like to support Graham and Teresa, have a look at their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/predatorcosplayaustralia/