FIP (Face Painting In Progress) had invited me over to teach at their EU JamVention a few years back which was amazing. Willy & Jacklyn Suiskens, the hosts/ owners were lovely, so I was really excited when they asked if I would be interested in coming to Europe’s biggest Cosplay Event with them and their international team.
I arrived late due to a delayed plane and then train troubles, but was happy to find that although my dutch had vanished (I couldn’t locate my phrase book which I usually read on the plane to get my dutch head on) my school girl german was fine and managed to get me through a few hours of chatting. I knew most of the artists already from various painting events so it was great to see them and meet the ‘new’ ones.
We were all staying in caravans on a huge campsite but were up extremely early so everyone could get showered and ready for the drive.
The event itself has 1000’s of people coming along in costumes from scifi films& tv, manga, cartoon, steampunk, victorian, historical… the kids, prams, dogs have outfits too!
The stalls were in keeping with interesting tents and unusual contents – corsets, armour, weapons, skulls, unusual headdresses…
And the musicians and bands! Even the staff and security wore medieval tabards and all the security panels and tape were harlequin too. I was half sad I was painting all day as there was so much to see.
Anyway, on the Saturday we arrived in the lovely FIP marquee as the stalls were opening. The FIP team had a stage at the back with a spacey backdrop as the theme for us this years was ‘Space & Time”. On the left of our main entrance was the brilliant stall Willy had built, selling all sorts of cosmetic props and prosthetics and with the price lists for the face & body painter menu as some of the artists did shifts decorating customers.
On the right hand side were all the ‘show’ body painters. They had photo banners up outside and inside the tent with the artists names, work and country (I’m Scotland!) on them, as well as a lovely enlarged photo of a favourite paint on each of our tables.
I had Jacklyn Suiskens from Belgium on one side of me, on the other Udo Schurr of Germany
Saturday I was painting the fabulous Anna and as she liked purple, went for a Nebula-inspired alien. We named her Galaxy Girl rather than Nebula Nymph as there is already a famous Nebula girl in the Guardians of the Galaxy world. I wanted to have her sort of camouflaged and was determined NOT to use black as so many galaxy paints/ makeups are so dark or grimy with black.
All day we painted, with some breaks and lots of snacks from FIP, as crowds of cosplayers walked past and assorted bands came in to perform on our stage – LOVED the pirates!
As usual when I have no specific plan, Galaxy Girl changed as I painted and became a sort of cracked ‘skin’ like a mandala glittered shell, with a star/ nebula being born from paraben her chest and deep space exposed wherever the skin was ‘broken’.
I used mainly Cameleon, my fave vegan, cruelty & parabene free cosmetic paint, with freehand glitter tattoo over the top using the kids I sell and Facade or Kryolan glitters. I also shaded her face in particular with the Kryolan iridescent powders in silver and purple.
Then there was a display onstage of all the artwork to a packed marquee,
before a quick tidy-up and a few hours following Anna around as she was mobbed by photographers.
We took some pics in the rose garden area and I was wowed by the ingenious costumes parading by, from Sci Fi and Manga to historical, from Dr Who themed tardis dresses to a girl with a walking centaur.
We got back late to wash and get ready for the next paint…
Sooo having caught up with my blogs this spring, I’ve totally failed again since having baby Euan in April, sorry! But will just skip a bunch and do these more recent (-ish) ones then catch up again when I can.
Anyway; Martin & Sonia met Jennie at Paintopia 2014 and came up with a pitch to shoot some episodes of a documentary about artists on the people involved with Paintopia. Plan was to work with us (as in ‘staff’, guest artists, instructors, models…) over the year, then film the final parts at Paintopia 2015. They came along to many of our local paints, meet-ups and events and we got to know them well. They had the same wish to portray bodyart as an art-form divorced from the sleaze etc it often attracts as we do, and we really got on.
Of course things didn’t go to plan: I was unexpectedly pregnant and often ill, things got moved/ cancelled, then poor Martin broke his arm, so a lot of the scheduled filming didn’t quite happen. However they and their team were at the whole of Paintopia 2015 and put together a lovely episode based mainly on those 3 days.
Martin filming 1 of the Paintopia catwalks shows
We decided to do a launch party to show it to the bodyart community & say thanks to all before it aired on TV. Sadly the channel which had commissioned it had obviously seen too many of the nastily edited/ scripted american (etc) shows (not just on body art), and very late on decided our lot were too nice to each other. Which is something we are proud of, Jennie & all work hard to try to make everyone feel welcome at Paintopia. If you have forgotten some bit you need or want to try something, unlike at some bodyart events around the world I have painted at, most people there will offer it to you or try to help you. Etc. But Martin refused to fake-edit in strife and conflict, so the show wasn’t aired which was a shame! However we went on with the launch evening which Sprowston Manor kindly hosted again (I think their staff are addicted to paint & glitter) anyway as we wanted to have a nice gathering to see it.
Jennie & I fancied some painted models welcoming in our audience, to showcase what we do/ what the film was about and make it a bit more fun. As we (Paintopia) are starting a series of bodyart Youtube tutorials we thought to kill 2 birds so to speak, so this was supposed to be the 1st one… but tech malfuncitons etc meant that didn’t quite happen. Jennie re-created her Mystique paint on Gracie and to show the differences (amazing how many people muddle them) I decided to do yet another Avatar look, on Simmone. Angela Youngs painted a stunning Hell Girl on Mel using props she made herself.
NOTE – Mystique is a red-haired slightly scaley one-colour-blue (in this case cameleon Victorious) mutant woman; Avatars are incredibly tall, incredibly skinny stripey-shaded-blue-with-glowing-white ‘star-speckles alien life form, with zebra-like ears and long zebra tail and extremely long dark hair often braided tribally with beads & feathers. Oh and usually a sort of tiger nose/ brow but I didn’t bother with that prosthetic this time.
Anyway we met everyone and started painting to be ready for 6ish for photos and people arriving. Simmone who was being my Na’vi from Avatar was a bit under the weather but insisted on keeping going. We each painted the front of our models alone, then did the backs together.
This was the first play I had with Cameleon bodypaints new metallic purple-blue ‘Inkheart’. I LOVE it – its a fab strong colour with a sheen like spilt blue biro ink. I mainly used it for the stripes on Simmone. Jennie’s daughter added some plaits into the wig I had bought and I’d alos quickly braided/ glued some leather/ wooden beads/ feather ‘jewellery’. Add in a raggedly skirt I used to use when I was a facepainting wood elf every day and I had my Na’vi.
I don’t quite know where the time went; OK I had both my boys there, but I’ve done this in under 90 minutes at events like the Rugby 7s in Hong Kong! Think we were having too much fun/ too many breaks!
We then had all 3 models stand together and quickly (with about 20 minutes left!) I sketched in a really uneven ‘Urban Jungle’ which we filled in with assorted paints including UV JT glitters, and added fast detail with some freehand drips, flicks and BAM/ Grafitti stencils.
I’m hoping you can see what a fun time everyone had; I like it when models really get into their characters (and have a bit of fun).
The ladies went off to have a photo sess with David Cook and we painters tried to tidy up and change (I look odd in pics as I was mid-baby feed and hadn’t belted my top yet).
We were again very lucky with the weather – warm and sunny – so Sprowston Manor looked its best. Bet the golfers were surprised again.
Poor Simmone then went off to A&E on medical advice! She’d been a trooper, insisting on staying to get the shots at least and had even been researching the film character’s poses. Goodness knows what they thought but I guess she would have been easy to spot if they put any description in her triage notes!
After airing (eek) the Abba homage re-written for Paintopia by Al that we asked everyone to send in clips for, we watched the documentary which went down well and can be seen
Jennie & Gracie are also Euan’s god-mums and Gracie wanted baby cuddles after the show. I usually put him in a black onsie that doesn’t matter if paint gets on it, but he’d been sick so was just in his last clean shortie. We found that Gracie cuddles transferred rather well onto nicely moisturised babies!!! 🙂 All washed off of course…
So thats it. DO have a look and do subscribe to Paintopia’s/ myYoutube channel if you’d like to see more…