I’d got to Paintopia by Tuesday evening to help Jennie & the rest set up.
Wednesday was helping host the Pre-Paintopia workshops with the amazing Madelyn Greco (headdresses) and Maria Malone Guerbaa (animal transformations).
Thursday I was the runner for the brilliant Kryolan masterclass whilst typing up the running order for festival announcements.
Thursday evening, more and more artists and models were arriving for the first ever Paintopia UV Jam. I’ve worked in UV clubs a lot doing small bits on the faces & bodies of clubbers, and done a couple of UV backs on clients, but had never had the chance to do a full UV body before.
The lovely Grace had asked if I would paint her, and then arranged a vague collaboration with a Dutch artist Tanya Hommes and her local model. I’d already thought we’d maybe do something on a Tim Burton theme as grace & I loved his work, and set the Oogie Boogie UV scenes from a Nightmare Before Christmas as our idea.
I’d not had time to sketch and hadn’t done more than print off some reference photos, so started with a giant Oogie Boogie on her front. Her hair was already slicked back with clay from the look by Gemma Horner at the Masterclass, so I decided to attempt a Jack/ moon look on her face.
I kept stopping to do announcements or find things for people, and soon realised I wouldn’t have time to do a full body. I drafted in the fab Jade to fill in the black around my outlines, and cut back my vague plans to get a finished paint on Graces front and legs.
David Cook and the crew had set up the stage Mik painted and it looked amazing.
The UV lighting was super-bright when it came on and the artwork was brilliant. Everyone whooped it up and had a great time, a super way to kick off the festival.
I shot a small timelapse and some videos of it here
I was contacted by an interesting lady called Nina, who wanted to be bodypainted for the first time. She works hard but likes fun and occasionally does something slightly mad or different. This time, she fancied becoming a bit of skin art.
She sent some beautiful images which inspired her, including UV artwork. After a bit of a chat we thought that would be more unusual, and she hired myself & TVK Photography for the shoot. A fair bit of arranging was needed until we had a day we could all do; I got a last minute cancellation and Nina drove up from London the night before to stay in a local pub. The next morning TVK made the trek over from Kings Lynne and we started arranging my dining/ art room (now full of stuff as we are probably moving to Bath soon) to make a pitch-dark studio.
Trev then set up his UV lights, and I started painting in the dark. When I do UV in clubs I usually wear a head torch, but I could almost see in the blacklight bulbs plus didn’t want to ruin the timelapse video he was also making for Nina.
We arranged her on a massage couch and I started a design inspired by her love of fireworks, skies and London Life. I found I really like painting fireworks! Controlled chaos…mainly Cameleon & Kryolan UV used.
Just before Tina went numb (with stiffness – we did keep her comfy but its hard saying still for a couple of hours in an odd pose) we finished and Trevor did his final shots.
We usually launch the next years’ theme at Paintopia the year before and were cutting it a bit fine getting a bodypaint done for 2016.
So at one of the casual Norfolk Bodypaint group ‘jams’ in March, Jenn & I planned to do… something…..
I’d a few ideas but it wasn’t until the night before I hit on something that inspired me, and messaged Jenn to bring any neon accessories she had and asked Steph if she could do an 80’s style sort of zebra hairdo on herself. Luckily they both ‘got’ my idea and liked it.
So heavily pregnant and with the weird annoying cough/ breathing thing I’d had for a while, I got sketching onto Stephanie Moore as soon as she arrived and had the big triangular breast covers & knickers I prefer on.
Jenn & her girls used Kryolan colour hair spray in neons to decorate some old shoes that Steph brought along and then we both got into the neon paint. I do like the Cameleon neons but its not the easiest type of paint to work with in any brand, none of the neons cover as well as matt/ metallics so we had to do several coats of some shades.
Then we started outlining in the freehand glitter tattoo cosmetic adhesive I sell on https://bodypaintingbycat.com/shop/ and coating that with Facade glitters (some in neon). Ideally I’d have loved to outline THAT in a dark colour but time was running out!
Finley my 6 year old was so fab I got him a Cameleon brush so he could start painting (mainly Zelda game weapons!) on himself.
Kudos to the amazing Trevor of TVK photography; not only did he correctly identify my breathing/ coughing problem (which I’d been to hospital and had lung scans, heart scans, DVT scans etc for after I nearly passed out) – he is a paramedic – but he took the most PERFECT pics of this, just like I imagined, using UV & Normal lights to pop the UV paint.
And then I don’t know what he did but after Jennie put some makeup base on me he produced a teaser headshot where I look half decent!!!!
David Cook (photography organiser for Paintopia, fireworks display creator etc) has been organising monthly meet-ups for some locals to get more into bodypainting. As it is often at weekends I’ve not been able to go that much as I tend to have jobs, but I managed to get there this time and do a quick promo paint for VW Whitenoisewho have asked me to paint there this summer.
I said I’d do a little advert paint andStephanie Moore volunteered, turning up with loads of festival-type clothes.
I used the new graffiti face & body art stencils I bought from Illusion Magazine, love them! And mainly Cameleon Uvs.
I had several late-night club etc and pub paint sessions booked in after my daily gigs and enjoyed them.
Some had me matching their outfits or themes, others wanted the usual/ randomn things.
Photo & model, Di Smith
I also did a VIP lounge in all sorts of ‘dead stars’ ideas which was actually quite difficult in some cases. How many Hollywood etc stars died in ways that it is easy to paint/ SFX onto a live person and be easy to identify? So mostly I zombied them up a bit if bullet wounds etc were not required – hurrah for Zombie skin again!
Another night it was UV again… I HATE the line of stupid dots so many people now ‘expect’ from painters as its what they get at festivals. Why – are they DIY jobs or are the painters at some festivals so unskilled they are really charging for faces THAT badly painted? I tend to refuse on the grounds I can and will do much better…..
Due to an instructor having to pull out, I was delighted to be contacted by the lovely Jacklyn and Willy Suiskins who run an amazing event calledJamvention in the EU.
I flew to Amsterdam, trying to recall my Dutch, and caught the train down to Maastricht to stay with my ‘Dutch Brother’ Reuben and his lovely wife Danielle whom I last saw at my handfasting in 2006. I got to know him on the Education & Adventure camp we worked in back in Dorset, pre – 2000. I had a lovely day with them and their wee girls (who knew me through gifts I’d sent from Hong Kong but had never met me) and the next morning they dropped me off, en-route to their coastal holiday, at the castle (only 15 minutes from theirs) where Jamvention was hosted.
The huge Castel Notre Dam is in Voerstreek, where Holland, Germany and Belgium meet. It was full of kids on an activity break so I left my luggage and walked back into the village to find a pub I could eat lunch in whilst waiting for kids to go assorted painters I knew to arrive.
No brain engaged, I texted Eugenie panicking as I’d forgotten to get out any cash before leaving the train station and thought I only had Dutch money – and being now over the border into Belgium wasn’t sure if they’d take it- “duhr- Euros” was the reply:) My childhood of having different purses for the different countries we lived in/ visited tripping me up there!
So I sat reading and sketching and stuffing my face with local sausage and other specialities. Sorry Sjors, I know you liked making me try the dutch fast-food places but the proper home-made versions were MUCH nicer!
Eventually everyone arrived and I was picked up by the bus full of Matteo Arnafinotti and the rest of that bunch. It was fab to meet Jacklynn and Willy who were really friendly, and catch up with Cree and Liz who I hadn’t seen (but had missed!) since the Welsh Face & Body Art festivals stopped. I tried to be useful with my pidgin dutch/ german helping people book in and get their goody bags (all sorts of lovely bits including cute character bath ducks – mine was an artist!).
The castle is run like a huge youth hostel, split into dorms and bunk-bed rooms with shared loos and showers. Only a few had their beautiful original ceilings etc but its a great place to jam. All sorts was going on – beginning with an amazing selection of cakes one lady had made, including a copy of the castle with all instructors flags on them. AND she’s made a rainbow of cakes each with a different flavour and instructors photo on!
I taught a few classes (and got really nervous in the 1st for some reason) and didn’t actually take many photos of the amazing things going on as my camera was playing up. Matteo was swamped as usual- he and Francesca are LOVELY. Balloonists at work making dresses looked familiar- and I finally realised we’d met in Shanghai! She’d been part of the balloon art show (amazing dresses etc) whilst I was there for the body art show representing the UK, in 2009. I spent a fortune at the prosthetic stall!
I loved Yvonne Zonnenberg’s Zombie skin demo. You can make all sorts of effects and prosthetics, even over unprotected eyebrows, and they are paintable and re-useable. Her creative hair workshop was fab too.
The quiz night was hysterical and was another evening that went well past my bed-time!
After it was all over, Jacklyn and Willy took us back to their lovely house and we had a fantastic meal together. They changed my breakfasts for ever by introducing me to Spekuloos paste which is basically a sweet-crunchy-peanutbutterish paste made from those patterned (windmill etc) spice biscuits I always make sure to buy at Christmas. The next morning the 2 welsh ladies, myself and the 2 Italians were taken to a huge mall to get souvenirs. I had a yummy horse sandwich. And what did we all go look at ? A tupperware shop:)
An amazing weekend, thankyou so much to everyone involved. There was a lot of painting and balloons too, I just seem to have gone on about food, sorry!
The fields around us here in Norfolk (we live on the edge of my husband’s family farm) are stunning at many times of year, and I’d said that I’d love to do a quick paint to join in with ‘International Body Paint Day’ that some painters were trying to launch.
So, a corn-themed bodypaint seemed an idea!
Gracie volunteered for a quick paint and with Michelle of Purple Photography re-shot some of the poses and places earlier seen in the stunning spring flower fairy (in green fields of corn etc) that Jennie painted at mine earlier this year.
It didn’t quite end up how I wanted it to be but those 2 really helped ‘sell’ the look of a Crop Circle Alien. Nd it got into IIlusion Magazine!
After a beautiful but generally cold and snowy winter month in the Scottish Highlands, I got a last minute booking from a London agent.
Bibi Freeman (world champion face & body painter, paint shop owner & general guru-god of mine) and I were hired to paint 5 dancers blue in an Avatar/ Mystique style as part of a dream-sequence themed show in a Camden nightclub. I did giggle that the client insisted only blue girls were sexy, not green…current trend, I think, am sure Captain Kirk made green girls sexy:)
Anyway we quoted for 2 hrs per body as they wanted detail as well as colour; that was cut to 1.5 hrs each for our 1st 2 (4 in total) bodies and an hour together on the last, more detailed ‘queen/ shamen’ alien body. Who was to be nude, in a large plastic bubble….which had a ‘technical hitch’ during testing which meant the organiser was trapped in it for a while:)
Due to the last minute booking, the funky feather wigs they wanted wouldn’t arrive in time, so I rushed down to London a few hours early and after a tip from Paul of Facade Glitter Art, found some long aqua wigs in a shop that the agent approved of. The venue, Gilgamesh, was in the middle of the Camden Stable Markets and was STUNNING, 3+ floors of intricately carved walls and ceilings, even bathrooms, in the Babylonian style.
Bibi and I set up in a room overlooking one of the dance floors (bit loud!) with another team of bodypainters decorating girls with stripes and simple ‘sports tops’ for an unrelated private party in the same venue. Sammm from Torture Gardens was doing amazing zombie faces and all the other asstd characters on other actors in ‘our’ event. We waited…. and an hour later than expected finally had our alien ladies back from rehearsal to start painting.
We were using Diamond FX metallic blue & purple, as the client had showed the agent a photo of my Spirit Shamen in Wales and loved those shades.
To save time (luckily, it turned out!) I had had big reptilian stencils and also hand-cut a few smaller reptilian stencils with my hot pen stencil cutter. Once we had coloured all 5 girls, Bibi began on faces as I did scale patches on each girl in turn, in the hope if we ran out of time they would all be at the same level – ie all got 1 arm, chest, leg done, then all got the other, then all got the back etc.
Just when we were starting to relax, thinking we had nearly 1.5 hrs to do the final faces and blend in the ‘squares’ of stencilling, we were told they wanted the girls early! PANIC!
Bibi whipped fast but stunning UV patterns onto the ‘queen’ and I stencilled and freehanded very basic faces onto the other 3 whilst also attempting a bit of glitter and blending of stencil edges.
What did make me laugh was the hairspray I used to stick the glitter onto also attracted the trimming sfrom the overlong aqua blue wig fringes so we had truly wierd alien effects!
As it turned out the call time was wrong and the girls had to push through heaving admiring crowds several times before actually going onstage.
The lighting wasn’t perfect for my taste – the UV glowed but it was too dark to really see the luscious metallic colours….Still, the audience stopped disappearing, whipped out cameras and paid more attention than they had for the previous few acts we saw!
The idea was the alien queen rolled out in her bubble, and her 4 ladies were all curious and touchy-feely of it and jealous of her UV pattern-marking-jewellery. Then got a bit touchy-feely with each other whilst being alien en pointe ballet shoes etc…
I was asked to paint promoters, dancers and models for a Belvedere Vodka promo in an HK nightclub. I nearly didn’t make it due to an incredible rainstorm that had my bus stuck in the Aberdeen tunnel for over an hour!
In UV paint, which in daylight is dayglo, but in blacklight, really only the red, yellow and green show. White and blue or purple are a bit dull in all the brands of bodypaint available. Also it is NOT easy to work with – it doesn’t blend as well as other colours, so subtle shading is out.
Anyway designs were finally agreed on and I made a stencil of the lettering. On the night the tree logo had changed yet again so I did a freehand interpretation to match the amazing glowing/ flashing Tshirts they all wore.
I caught a little of Lorna’s UV flow-stick exhibition from above her, it looked fab…
Then I painted the guests for the rest of the night.