Skully’s Cosplayer Spotlight: Jesse Fresco
- When did your love for Valiant Comics begin?
I started reading Valiant back when they relaunched in 2012. I was a fan of Joshua Dysart’s book Unknown Soldier and had followed his work quite a bit. I’ve since befriended him and he’s occasionally offered me writing tips. I then heard he was going to be working on Harbinger so I picked up issue 1 and immediately loved it. It was a group of characters I could relate to. Morally ambiguous, downtrodden youth of America. It felt real, believable, and heartfelt. I then picked up bloodshot, X-O Manowar, Archer and Armstrong, and Shadowman. I’ve loved their books right from day one.
- So is Bloodshot your all-time favorite character? If so, why? What is it about him that intrigues you?
I’d say Bloodshot is my favorite Valiant character because I like military type of stories. I was never in the military but I like reading about those types of people. Bloodshot is also a tortured individual with a lot of moral ambiguity to him. Plus, I’m a fan of 80s action films like Robocop and Die Hard. The Duane Swierczynski run of the character felt like that.
- When was the first time you ever cosplayed? Where did you go?
The first time I cosplayed was Baltimore Comic Con 2013, one year after the relaunch. I really liked the character so I thought I’d give it a shot.
- How long does it usually take to get ready to cosplay as Bloodshot?
It usually takes about two to two and a half hours to get the body paint on if I am doing the shirtless version.
- How long does it take to clean up and back in your civies again after you cosplay?
When it’s time to remove the paint, it takes about an hour in the shower depending on how long I keep it on. I tend to keep the paint on for about three to four days. I sleep in it because it doesn’t flake very much while I sleep.
- What type of makeup/coloring to you use?
I have a bodypainter that uses Temptu bodypaint which is alcohol based. I patch it up with Mehron paint if I need to. Under the eyes and nose are typically where it comes of the most.
- Where do you get your costumes (clothes) from? Was there a particular element that was difficult to acquire?
I tend to purchase all the pieces I need on Amazon or ebay. A few pieces needed to be built, like the axe for Kommander Bloodshot. I didn’t have time to build it due to my work schedule so I ask my friend Rebecca Ryan to build it for me. The contact lenses are the most expensive though costing around 300 dollars for one set of sclera lenses, but they’re prescription and made to fit my eye size. The t-shirt I just ordered online from custom tees.
- Did you cut your hair to match Bloodshot’s or was it just a coincidence?
I do get my hairline cut so that I can match the lines that run down the sides of Bloodshot’s head. It’s becoming harder and harder to do though because of my receding hairline. Eventually I probably won’t even need to do it.
- You are without a doubt the best Bloodshot cosplayer I’ve ever seen Must have taken a lot of time to get it that perfect. How long were you doing it before you really got it down?
Well, the first time I did Bloodshot it was kind of messy. I wasn’t in the best shape physically and I was still figuring out how to do that makeup. Around Awesome Con 2015 I think I really nailed it. It was damn near perfect. At San Diego 2014, I stood next to a poster of Bloodshot from the Valiant miniseries and I was near identical, but I still felt I was a bit too small. Since then I’ve put on a lot of muscle mass and continue to go to the gym as often as possible to keep my body mass high. My job sometimes gets in the way though so I need to be as dedicated as possible to getting to the gym when I can.
- How many times have you cosplayed as Bloodshot all together? Were they all at cons?
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve cosplayed Bloodshot. It must be over twenty time by now. I’ve done a few other characters but Bloodshot is my focus. I tend to keep focused on just one character and perfect it. I’m not like other cosplayers, trying to take on thirty different characters. I don’t have the time, money, or interest in doing that.
- How the heck do you get the red circle so perfectly round? I mean, A Perfect Circle be like, Damn…that’s a nice circle! lol!
Easy. I use a stencil and hold it in place while my airbrush artist, Michelle Heffner, paints me. I patch it up with red Mehron if I need to.
- I’ve noticed a few pretty sweet intros/meets you’ve had at cons through your pics. Have there been any big moments where your geek alarm was at full blast?
I’ve met a lot of people over the years at conventions. Getting to meet the cast of the Ninjak web series was great. I’ve also bumped into Chloe Dykstra, Sam Witwer, Comicbookgirl19, and many others. Side note, I worked on the fourth season of Veep for HBO while it was filming in Maryland as a lighting technician and got to meet Patton Oswalt. I gave him several Valiant books since I figured he might be interested. No idea if he read them, but I like to think he did.
- So, I have 1 final question that I have been curious about for some time. Have you ever, or do you now have any aspirations to be a professional makeup/special effects guy – like, for theaters or making movies?
I have no real interest in working in the special effects department for movies. I have worked on many films and tv shows as a grip or lighting tech though. I’ve worked on Captain America 2, Better Living Through Chemistry, Veep, House of Cards, Shark Tank, The Amazing Race, and a bunch of other shows that I can’t even remember. It all blurs together. Sadly, there’s not much film going on in Maryland anymore so I don’t really get calls for that these days. I work mainly as a lighting technician for hotel ballrooms, corporate events, concerts, and I get the occasional corporate video or commercial on the side. Honestly, I prefer it. Even though the money isn’t as good as a tv show (I used to pull over 1,000 per week on Veep for about four months), I can still make time for friends, family, and relationships. There’s always a busy season but that dies down eventually. Film and tv is near constant if you’re deep into it. I’d prefer to live a better life than be rich.