We had the good fortune of connecting with Rhea Callisto and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Rhea, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
As a kid you could always find me working on various artsy projects such as drawing or sewing articles of clothing. I enjoyed drawing characters from my favorite shows, my own original characters in reimagined clothing designs, and monsters, to name a few. My love for fashion has always played a big role for both my personal style and for events/parties like those held during the Halloween season. Initially, I wanted to be a fashion designer but I realized once I got to college that the industry wasn’t something I was as passionate about entering. This mainly stemmed from me wanting to pursue some art in college. I was able to learn through these art classes how to create art from different mediums and methods such as ceramics, drawing/painting, and 3D design. During this time my interest in anime, video games, and nerd culture grew more compared to my prior knowledge as a kid. I developed an interest in cosplay which quickly grew into a hobby from hanging around the new friends and associates I made in college. Eventually I took the leap and created my first costume, Link from Majora’s Mask. Ever since then, I got more into the hobby but saw that there were things I wanted to do differently that would allow me more artistic freedom.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I believe my unique background in art, experience working with a prop building studio, and knowledge gained at a makerspace sets me apart from similar creators. I also want to explore ways to use this hobby to create different kinds of content that explore my other interests in the future as well. The reason I’ve gotten to my current skill level is because of lots and lots of failures. Cosplay as a hobby isn’t easy in itself if you’re not prepared to fail. Failures come from limitations you may run into such as buffer limits, mental roadblocks, lack of tools, skill level, challenges associated with bringing a fictional piece to life with reality-based limitations, or space you have to work towards finishing a project. It hasn’t always been easy and it’s taken me many years to not be hard on myself when I come across these obstacles. The way I’ve been able to overcome them is by viewing them as opportunities to gain new knowledge that I can apply for future projects. For instance, I’ve taken some of my failed project materials and recycled them into original character designs and photoshoots. As a result, it has created a new way for me to express my creativity with the hobby with little limitations. It reminds me of how older video games were able to create such unique experiences with technological or monetary restrictions and they’re now regarded as modern day classics and inspirational.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My favorite spots around the city tend to be where I get to enjoy good food or drinks in intimate and quiet settings. I’m a huge foodie so I have a lot of places that I go for food or desserts. When asked about fun places around the city I suggest going to the Botanical Gardens, the High Museum of Art, Piedmont Park, walking around the Beltline, or checking out a show at the Masquerade. For brunch and breakfast, I suggest Petite Marche, Julianna’s Coffee & Crepes, General Muir, Home Grown, or Southern Gentleman. For lunch I like: Yumbii, Hankook Taqueria, Afrodish in Municipal Market, Slutty Vegan, Marrakech Mediterranean Kitchen, Hawkers Asian Street Food, Ali baba Mediterranean, or Marrakech Express. Next for dinner I like Bon Ton Atlanta, Gunshow, Northern China Eatery, Octopus Bar, Delbar, or Okiboru. Lastly, for nice places to grab sweets, I recommend exploring Jenny’s Ice-cream, Mozart Cafe, or Matcha Cafe Maiko.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would say my close friends have been my biggest supporters since day 1. Life often gets in the way of goals, but having a great support system helps keep doubts at a minimum, and obstacles become easier to overcome. As my journey has been molded by changes in my life, my friends being there has helped me to view obstacles differently, offer resources, and even consider breaks when needed. Another thing I want to mention are the tools I’ve used to aid me along in my journey. I often have to research different approaches to new projects, especially if I need to learn new methods to make my vision a reality . Evil Ted’s videos, Kamui Cosplay’s books/ videos, and Punished Props books/videos were useful resources that helped me gain insight on common materials and practices of creating costumes as a beginner. They offer many templates and tutorials that break down ways to create items. Sometimes you can even find methods on a budget, which is nice as a beginner to avoid wasting both time and money as you’re learning.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thoraticc

Image Credits
angelizdazecosplay for the first image in the black suit and the one with the green hair, I took the other photos myself

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlanta is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.