By: Aaron Siebert
We all want to be someone else once in a while. This isn’t a melancholy or pseudo-philosophical thing to say, more just a matter of fact. It’s fun to pretend sometimes. While this is definitely an internal urge, there’s no reason it can’t be reflected on the outside as well, and this is something that Derek Marrero, 12, knows and expresses in his own way.
“Creating costumes and cosplays is my art, and my way of expressing myself,” says Marrero. “The act of becoming someone else through things you create is such a great feeling.”
For years now Derek has been crafting his own costumes from scratch. For both cosplay and selling to others. These costumes can be anything, from films to comic books. Anything your imagination can compose, just give him a picture and it’ll become real. But his favorite costumes to create would have to be the characters from DC comics.
“DC comics are my biggest fan base and costume idea inspiration,” says Marrero. “Especially the villains. The villain designs are so captivating and creative that I really have no choice but to replicate them, but in my own way.”
He also makes high quality masks in a productive and profitable way. He starts his process by buying thin $2 masks from Dollar Tree, then he coats the masks in layers of paint and plaster, then he adds another layer of paint over that before adding the fine details and specific colors. Resulting in an impressive end result that looks more than professional.
But don’t take it from me, take it from a customer. William Hobson, 11, recently commissioned Derek for a mask based off the game Payday, and had this to say about the final product:
“Derek was able to make it both look just like the character,” says Hobson. “While also having his own unique artistic vision. Far better than ordering something online or getting it at some overpriced store.”
But he hasn’t gotten to where he is now without the support of others. Derek credits a lot of people for helping him along his journey, but there were some pillars of support he wanted to point out more specifically.
“My grandparents have been there for me pretty much every step of the way,” says Marrero. “Especially my grandpa who is a huge horror movie fan and helped inspire me to get where I am now.”
Over the years his work has greatly improved in numerous ways. He’s become more versatile and creative, with a sharp incline in makeup skills. Some of this can be credited to his time in the JHS Theatre makeup department. But there’s another part of the being in drama that he’s very grateful for.
“The art of costumes, which is becoming someone else, is heightened when you become that character both inside and outside,” says Marrero. “And my improved acting really helps whatever character I’m cosplaying, take over.”
He is open to any commissions, but his personal favorite types of costumes are based on DC comics or horror fandoms. If anybody needs help with horror short films, convention cosplays, or any holidays, he’s the guy to go to (I know I’m gonna need some costume design in the future).
Speaking of holidays, there’s one pumpkin spiced elephant in the room that I haven’t brought up yet. It’s Halloween time. AKA, the time of the year where costumes and the horror atmosphere flourishes.
So it probably goes without saying that Derek loves Halloween, but let’s hear him say it anyway:
“I think Halloween is awesome. It’s one of my favorite parts of the year,” says Marrero. “It’s so beautiful to me to see all these costumes and creativity. It’s a time where I can truly be myself and so can so many other people.”
I’m sure you’re wondering what Derek the cosplay extraordinaire is dressing up as on October 31st. So I’ll just show you.
Pretty amazing right? Well if you are like me and sick of the overpriced cookie-cutter Party City products, it’s good to know that there’s still a market for talented costume designers right here in Jenks.
I’d like to end this article with one of my favorite things I’ve been told by any student here at JHS. When I asked Derek what his main goal was, he had this to say:
“Well it’s really fun, it’s really great and it makes people smile,” says Marrero. “And that’s my goal for life, to make people smile with my creation. To bring what they like and their favorite characters to life.”
If you’d like Derek to make you smile with his creations, you can contact him and see his work on the Instagram profiles below:
Instagram – @dmcosplay70