Cloud Skins

Posted in costume, drawing, process by andytoad on June 30, 2015

Color studies for some recent costumes

collage_cloud skin

COllage_Cloud Skin 003

Collage_Cloud Skin 002

Lupine and Canine

Posted in costume, mask, process, Studio by andytoad on August 28, 2012

In the studio sculpting wolves and hounds for “Wolf-in-Skins.” _  photo: AndyToad

Mythical Actual

Posted in collaboration, costume, photography by andytoad on June 3, 2012

Chimeras, a photography project that I helped my friend Felipe Vasquez with, is featured in Dossier Journal :

Felipe shot these photographs in Chile earlier this year. He and I worked together to realize the look of the characters which are based on ritual costume and supernatural figures of the world.





We Found Love in a Hopeless Place

Posted in art, costume, dance, mask, museum, performance by andytoad on March 12, 2012

One of my favorite pieces in the Brooklyn Museum is the Likishi Dance Costume. I make time to see her whenever I visit.

The Museum’s Likishi dance costume in performance, Zambia, 1935 (Photo: Margaret Carson Hubbard)

Museum Text:

Likishi Dance Costume and Accessories (Mwana Pwevo)

Unidentified Luvale artist, late 19th or early 2oth century
Northwest province, Zambia
Fiber, wood, hide, metal, seedpods, bark, rope, hair, organic materials

This complete dance costume shows how masks are normally one part of a larger ensemble. The mask is sewn directly onto the costume of looped bark and fiber, which fits tightly over the body of the dancer. Seedpod rattles and metal bells added a musical aspect to the performance.

Although they are danced by Luvale men, mwana pwevo masks depict women. In order to own and perform with a mask, a man had to symbolically marry it by paying the carver a copper ring as a bride price. In doing so, the dancer made a commitment to honor and care for the spirit represented in the mask. In return, the dancer was able to earn his livelihood performing at local festivals.


Posted in andytoad, costume, performance, photography by andytoad on January 2, 2012

Some photos from the Eidolon performances


Posted in costume, process by andytoad on November 4, 2010

October was a busy month. Lots of costumes flying around. But that’s kind of my thing…

Not only was I building looks for many people and helping friends with their Halloween costumes, I myself was playing dress up too.  A good friend sent me this image and I think it’s an appropriate metaphor for what happened to me late in the month:

Many people  I talk to in the field of costume design say that they never make anything for themselves, that they spend too much time making for others that they have no interest in making for themselves. Somehow I still find a thrill in transforming myself into something else. And I hope I can hold on to this. But it takes work. And sometimes I work too much. (Actually I always work too much.)  And sometimes I’m a broke down mess. (Not always!)

I wore an Electro-Glam look for the Bowie Ball on October 10th

A lot of time was spent working with other artists at Izquierdo Studio on robotic armor for Heidi Klum. Martin Izquierdo designed the amazing look, complete with built in stilts and chrome breasts. I respect Heidi’s desire to have a unique custom built costume every year for her Halloween party. I’d like to see a movement towards a more couture halloween.

This photo was taken during a fitting at the studio.

For Halloween weekend I had big plans to be a skeletal bat. But Saturday night hit and I wasn’t done! Luckily there are lots of bits and pieces from past projects circulating in my world. With a borrow here and some scraps from there I became a llama. Which paired well with my friend Matthew’s creepy monkey costume. (Yikes!)

Monkey & Llama, pet us.

And for Sunday night, actual Halloween, I finished up my bat skeleton just in time to head out. ( A friend actually sewed me into the suit on the subway…)

My friend Sam was a dragon and I was a dead bat

This photo is from a costume fitting for choreographer Cori Olinghouse. Cori asked me to design looks for a super interesting piece called The Animal Suite: Experiments in Vaudeville and Shapeshifting. The piece brings together movement from vogueing, vaudeville and silent clowning, which Cori has woven together exploring the concept of eccentric dance. After seeing the dancer move in his costumes I know we are onto something good!

Buster Keaton inspiration

Soon I’m starting work on some new costumes for my friend and collaborator (and epic-maker) Christopher Williams. We’re taking the first steps in an an exciting new project, an opera based on medieval Welsh mythology. I’ve read an early draft of the libretto that Christopher has written and it’s incredible. (!)

An excerpt will be shown in February at the Joyce theater…  Photos from our last collaboration can be seen HERE.

I’ll post more on the last two topics as they develop

talk soon,


vodou, sex, death and revolution

Posted in costume, inspiration by andytoad on October 2, 2010

Photo: Leah Gordon

Getting ready for All Hallow’s Eve and finding inspiration in haunting theater, characters in masque, vodou history and performative revolution…
I’ve been looking at book of photographs by Leah Gordon called Kanaval. For years Gordon has documented the pre-Lent Mardi Gras festivities in Jacmel, a costal tone in southern Haiti. (All the images in this book were taken before the earthquake earlier this year.)
Unlike other carnival festivities (Rio, New Orleans) the celebrations in Jacmel are honestly weird and sometimes frightening. Quite different than most “dress up” here in the U.S., these street theater performers are actually telling unique culturally specific stories through the characters they inhabit. Gordon’s photographs showcase an amazingly inventive form of self-expression. Raw. Real. Homemade.
Take note.
Photo: Leah Gordon
Photo: Leah Gordon
Photo: Leah Gordon
Photo: Leah Gordon

Bears in the Studio

Posted in costume, dance, process, Studio by andytoad on September 5, 2010


Working away on a set of paper bear heads for choreographer Cori Olinghouse. They will debut in a new dance piece this coming spring. I’m having fun working with Cori, collaborating with her on her experiments in vaudeville and shapeshifting.  I’ve always had a thing for human animal transformations.


I love this still from a video of Cori creating movement. One of the costume we’ve created (pictured) is a deconstructed backless button down shirt, a boater hat, and some early 1900’s-ish baggy trousers. Various other clothing bits come on an off, in and out  – and there is also an opera glove and cane in the mix as well. More as it develops.


Whoa…  grizzly bears… dancing…



Posted in costume, dance, NYC, performance by andytoad on August 20, 2010

The Voyage of Garbhglas

Images on my flickr from my friend Christopher’s piece at the Irish Hunger Memorial earlier this month. Carol Binion did the fantastic costumes and I coordinated them for this show. It was a wonder to see winged faeries and “protuberance” demons dancing in Lower Manhattan. Most of these photos I took but there are also some from Michael Wang and James Wagner.

muse and beauty

Posted in art, beauty, inspiration, muse by andytoad on June 19, 2010



Happy Family (2006) detail

Joana Vosconcelos

photos found on Lovely Textiles




el corzon (heart)

cut paper

Elsa Mora




Costumes from Das Triadische Ballett (1916-1932)

Oskar Schlemmer