I have created several leotards for Symone of Pole Paradise HK in the past, as she needs to have fabric protecting her limbs when she is doing hoop acrobatic shows and wanted unique costumes.
She contacted me when I was at home in the UK and asked me to do two, one for her and one for her husband for an upcoming show.
I started Jose’s red tribal flame design with the leotard stretched over my trust shop dummy, but found that awkward to move about and hard to paint on.
I use the bottles and applicators I sell here. Videos of me waffling in so you can literally watch the glue dry…
I then managed to find an inflatable shop dummy to do Symone’s watery design blue leotard on, as of course she was in HK, so couldn’t fill out the leotards as I worked.
It usually takes several layers of glue, dried in between, to create a design sticky enough for the glitter to adhere too. Fabric glue does not work well – it dries too stiff- so I stick to my normal prosthetic adhesive which I knew does NOT wash out if you get it inot clothes, no matter how I try!
I also mainly use my cosmetic glitters from Facade, as I know that the dyes in them won’t leak and run.
Luckily this time the leotards ‘took’ the glue well and I was able to complete them within a week.
I delivered them to Symone when I was over to face paint at the Rugby 7’s.
We met up near the (in?)Famous Hong Kong Lady’s Market (it does have an ‘interesting’ range of men’s underwear!) as I’d had a request from my brother in Barbados for a few knock-off items.
I don’t think I’d ever bought any fakes when I was living in HK, and typically, visiting for a short period so rushing round this time, it turned out there had been a huge police crack-down on fakes and there were few to be found!
The show looks like it went well and as the leotards can be hand-washed (I cool-machine-wash some of my glittered shirts) they can be used many times.
HK March 2011
I was let down by a couple of other models/ shoots that had been ‘booked’ whilst I was in Hong Kong, so my last free day before returning to the UK, I was able to get another leotard glittered for Symone instead. I was contacted by a couple of photographers after I advertised at short notice on Facebook, and they met us at Pole Paradise HK’s studios, where Symone had a gap from lunch until 5-ish between teaching.
She asked for something a bit armour-like and in reds, as she’d already a pinkish and a greenish suit I had decorated for her and wanted to be able to expand the colours/ themes she danced in them.
The leotard was a new type from a new supplier, and was not as thick/ nice fabric as her usual dance-wear. I started gluing; usually it takes 2 or 3 coats of the glue, dried between coats, for the glue to stop sinking into the fabric and actually stay tacky, ready for the glitter, on the surface of the cloth.
1st problem; the glue sort of rolled off this fabric and didn’t want to sink in at all! A lot of fiddling and after a while it mostly started to work as expected.
2nd problem; it would NOT dry. The air con was off, to keep Symone warm, and I was fanning the glue…it took over 40 mins for the 1st coat to dry!
And then I ended up having to do FOUR more coats, with elongated drying times, to get the glue to work!
We had to give up with far less of the costume glued than I had planned, as we were running out of time (Symone had to have the pro final picture shoot before she started teaching her next dance class). Plus I was running out of glue!
Albert of shizznitt.com had once again set up his time-lapse video equipment and was able to stay & talk this time which was lovely.
Anyway I finished glittering etc and Symone joined Kevin for her shoot.
The sword (a big, real, heavy, thing!) was what inspired the design, which Symone decided was a mixture of She-Ra and Xena warrior princess, hence the Shera-Zena title!
Symone had on the tallest heels I have ever seen too, yet still managed to do all sorts of moves and poses on pole and hoop!
This is her She-Ra pose.:)
And this is her finished leotard collection…
The HK Youth Arts Foundation kindly once again invited me to be the lead artist/ sole bodypainter for the HK Rugby 7s, and as in 2009 (when I was in NZ) flew me to Hong Kong to take part. And this time put me up in a lovely hotel as well (before I either was living in HK or borrowed a friend’s place to stay).
After 6 hrs on a bus, 13 in a plane and another 90 min bus transfer, I arrived late Tuesday, pigged on my fave sushi, (not the HK delicacy of fish-heads as in the menu below!) stocked up on local essentials like Apple juice with Aloe chunks and crispy egg tarts, and crashed into bed.
I had a free day on Wednesday so arranged to meet up with (and decorate) my friend & glitter muse, Symone of Pole Paradise. I arrived at her studio full of jetlag, but excited to be back in HK – its a lovely city I feel very comfy/ safe in, and if not for the pollution/ the climate’s effect on my toddler, we would have happily kept living there.
Symone asked for a feathery glitter tattoo leotard to perform her aerial silk/ hoop routines in. She had a new white suit on, ready to be glittered, so I started on that as we blathered away at each other catching up on what hadn’t been said in a year of emails & facebook. She also read the article on my glitter work in the Spring Issue of Illusion Magazine, as a lot of that was really about her, although all the photos they used were from newer, then unpublished, shoots of mine (see previous posts on here!).
Albert of shizznitt.com who did the brilliant speeded-up video of me doing a goth necklace body glitter tatt on Symone last year – video here – had to work elsewhere, but set up his camera system and left it to auto-record the process of the peacock glitter leotard.
It was interesting doing a white rather than flesh-tone leotard (is my 1st on white!) as the green crumbs of facepaint I use to tint the glue (which otherwise dries invisible, as it goes clear) showed up darker and darker as it dried.
The design morphed from abstract feathery peacock into a very chinese-paper-cut style pheonix, really. When I had glued (3 layers so it stops soaking into the cloth and stays tacky on the surface) and glittered the front, we stopped for lunch (she ordered in some of my fave fried rice – I MISSED HK food!!!).
As usual we were fitting in with her teaching schedule so had most of the afternoon to paint and shoot the results in, before her evening dance students arrived. I think we did maybe 3 hours work on the glitter, about the normal time….
Darren LeBeuf, the photog who shot the last bodypaint event I did before we left HK (Canadian Chamber of Commerce Northern Lights themed ball) popped in to take pro shots for us.
Albert has done the time-lapse video which I have to share. She honestly is NOT as much of a chatterbox as she looks, we were nattering plus Symone has to run her studio from her mobile whilst we work!
Thanks to Symone, Al, and Darren.
LOVE the music too, Al!
This shoot was with the talented AliG, who is booked for photos at many events we both work at.
I tried an Abalone-inspired glitter tattoo as I love the colours and patterns of lines and bubbles in abalone shells.
Again Symone is wearing the large stiff triangular breast covers I prefer to glue on – just glue around the edges – as getting glitter and the cosmetic adhesive off more sensitive chest bits – ouch!!!
I don’t usually advise doing gliter tattoos on kids etc on the face due to the need of removing it with rubbing alcohol or oils, but as I use cosmetic glitters and cosmetic prosthetic glue, I will do it on adults.
This was another shoot on my favourite model in Hong Kong, Symone of Pole Paradise Studios.
We tried a non-glitter tattoo for once, so I used body paint, based on an amazing corset I covet that I spotted online.
Bill posed her around the furniture in her beautiful dance studio.
It’s all hand-painted over big triangular boob overs that are glued on with the same glitter tattoo glue I used to do the glittery seams and details.
I have painted and Glitter tattoo’d a lot of Pole Dancers in HK, either to pole dance or exhibit another dance form such as aerial silks, aerial hoop, acrobatics, etc. Its not like you often hear of in the USA and other countries, where its a sleezy men’s club thing; these ladies are true acrobats and some were professional athletes too, and many compete internationally in dance.
So I was lucky enough to be asked to decorate my friend Symone for her entry, and Tessa, another lady I had glittered at the Cancer Charity Ball.
Tessa wanted a UV/ tribal look to go with the wild, african, acrobatic performance she planned. She ultimately won; and I was glad to see they remembered the UV lights for her performance. She looked amazing and is off to represent the EU in the World Championships!
Symone had spent hours sewing 100s of large diamontes etc onto a bra and knickers, so I designed a splattering of shaded pastel glitter spots to match. She won the best costume award and looked amazing as usual!
18th March 2010
Well after nearly a week of ‘just’ paint, back to glitter tatts – on pole/ aerial performers again! Well, and painted their eyes as well. Not any of the girls I knew this time.
Hard work as we crammed into a cubicle store-room/ office behind a bar, but we all did our best. I attacked whichever lady had a useful bit of flesh ready and was at a relatively ‘still’ stage of her dressing/ makeup.
2 were in red corsets for a pole performance, and wanted triba;/ grafiitti/ 80’s rock inspired stuff to match their costume & music. The other 2 were a snake and a leopard. I couldn’t get to the performances but heard they were fab.
Symone of poleparadisestudio.com had a goth/ victorian black beaded choker she had worn at another event I decorated her for. I loved it and said I HAD to paint or glitter her to match it!
So we set up a shoot with photographer Boris Mak.
Sadly, the intricate dots (getting them more or less symmetrical, then shading each glue ‘dot’ with up to 4 monochrome glitters) took so long that I only had time to do a chest-to-knickers section of the design I planned. I also used a new sort of breast cover I had found which ended up matching her skin perfectly.
Symone, of course, had AMAZING props to match from her day job (performing/ teaching aerial arts, pole dance etc). Check the shoes!! AND the METAL mask. Wow.
She then did a few impressively ‘casual’ looking poses on her aerial hoop…
…before Boris arranged some beautiful shots.
Remind me of the ‘Roxanne’ section in Moulin Rouge or something, I think.
On a final note, its the LAST time I crouch/ straddle a model for several hours (I know Symone well, she didn’t mind!) to get symmetry on a torso – I couldn’t walk/ stand/ sit with ease for nearly a week! See, bodyart isn’t just a creative outlet its a fitness regime too!
Albert Yung of www.shizznit.com took a great video of most of the process. Symone looks like she’s chattering away insanely but all 3 of us were talking back, I promise!
Randomnly the fiancee of my brother-in-laws girlfriend (really nice couple, have met them a lot) emailed for advice on where to have his wedding suit made in HK – he was popping over for that, and to see his mum who visits HK for work. As Chris is a brilliant photographer, and I’d been trying to arrange a shoot with him when I was in the UK (watch this space), I press-ganged him into one whilst he was here instead. A tour of all the interesting/ useful button & bits shops in Sham Shui Po in return for a glitter body shoot! www.chrisridley.co.uk
I wanted to try big swathes of body glue and glitter this time…
As of course Chris had only a camera and no studio kit, we did a quick shoot in Symone’s dance studio,
… then bundled her up to the roof of her building. A typical overcast HK day; but due to the weird weather we have had this year, it was also cold and windy!
She was a trooper, balancing on a chair in her warm boots and flinging off my hoodie to bare her butterflies so Chris could get the highrises of Sheung Wan as a backdrop!