Chasing Light Artistic Tools for Creatives

Rachel Epley - Elysian Fantasy Designer Extraordinaire

Artist FeatureNikki HarrisonComment
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1. The most obvious question is first.  How did you get started designing these incredible pieces that you produce? 

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I started off as a hairstylist working in salons, and quickly got bored of that. So I started making art wigs 7 years ago which was all experimental at the time because I had no training. That eventually evolved into headpieces and then headpieces evolved into full costuming. And I haven’t stopped creating since. Everything has been a learning process since I’m all self-taught. Which makes everything I create even more precious to me. Because I’ve had to work so hard to get where I am today. 

2. Talking about creative inspiration for artists, you have to stay on top of your game and create new items constantly. Your imagination is so amazing, do you find inspiration from Cosplay characters, or are these beings just living in your imagination? 

I do not use cosplay characters as inspiration. Everything comes from my own imagination. Normally, I have no idea what I’m creating at first and then as I go the creation slowly evolves into a completed look. I start out with no exact vision. 

3. Your make up matches the outfit and character perfectly, I’m sure there are a lot of make up artists that drool over your creative looks. I also know first hand that these creations you do only take about an hour per person to create. Having worked with many make up artists myself, I have always struggled with the amount of time it takes for simple beauty look to be applied, how do you manage to create these looks so quickly?

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I approach makeup as a painter approaches a painting; sometimes I don’t know what exactly  I’m going to do until I pick up my makeup brush. Usually I’m always in some sort of time constraint so I try and focus as hard as I can on making the best use of my time. The makeup really pulls the look together so it’s equally important to me that the whole look flows. 

4. Your social media following is huge!  Any tips for up and coming artists who are looking to grow their followers?

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To be honest, I’ve never really tried very hard at Instagram. Sometimes I go days without posting, life happens ya know. I have 3 kids which take priority. I think that is how I’ve been so successful, minimal effort, ha. I’ve just let my work speak for itself and hoped that people find me. ️

5. It took you quite a while to start selling your items in your Etsy shop. Was it hard to part with your beloved designs?

Most things I create now are easy to let go, especially the budget friendly items that I make solely to sell. But the older creations I made when I first started out using worbla and thermoplastics are more sentimental due to the time and love involved in making them and the sheer popularity of the pieces. 

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6. You have lived and created in some amazing places, where have some of them been, and which was your favorite and why?

I first started creating wigs and headpieces in Alaska. This was back before full costuming started. But I didn’t feel like I really found my creative flow until I moved to Germany where I started making epic fantasy inspired sets. This is when I realized I had a unique skill and eye for the fantasy costuming genre. 

7. What is your most favorite design you have made to date?

It’s so hard to decide. I’d have to say my green dragon gown. Because I love dragons and it was only of the first epic comes sets I ever made. 

8. What are you most looking forward to with your move to Georgia?

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Honestly, I’m most looking forward to a new start. I’ve moved every 3-4 years for the past 12 years. And I’m really looking forward to planting myself somewhere and putting down roots with my love, Jeremy. I’m originally from the South. And for the most part, the people there are just my type of people. I miss the hospitality of the people and warmth you feel in the South. 

9. You and Jeremy photograph so beautifully together, I am so jealous and would love the opportunity to get you two in front of my camera one day. I do believe he is your apprentice and makes items for the store as well?

Yes, he is. I’ve had numerous requests from people all over the world ask me to teach them. But I had never felt the desire to share my methods or teach until I met Jeremy. He is the only person I’ve ever agreed to teach. I instantly trusted him and felt comfortable sharing. I knew when I did agree to teach someone it would have to be the right person. Someone I had that I had genuine connection with. 

10. Where can people find you online and your store?
I sell on Etsy:
 https://www.etsy.com/shop/ElysianFantasyStore 
Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/elysian.fantasy.artistry/ 
Instagram:  www.instagram.com/Elysian.fantasy.artistry 
or via email: rachelmarie18@aol.com 

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