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!
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.
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…
Kevin also did some funky editing to stick in different backgrounds….The AMAZING video by Albert is
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!
I was one of the sponsors for this event, showcasingPole Paradise Studios instructors and the best of their students.
M1NT is a private members only club in HK, fairly luxurious, with 1 wall of the ‘champagne lounge’ area being a giant shark tank with blacktips the size of dogs. Very James Bond…
Anyway I did quick body glitter tattoos on most of the dancers; the show was themed so they were all dressed as butterflies, fairys, jungle women etc. Slight problem being a tanning studio was another sponsor; and like any skin treatment the tan made it harder to do body art (and my glitter tatts took off the tan when they came off!).
Symone had 3 different performances to do so was in 3 different outfits. For her ‘storm’ one I did swirls and lightning on her tummy and fairy wings on her back, which wouldn’t show in her other 2 outfits.
I echoed this in the swirly designs I did on the skin of Rebecca Choi who had a solo on silks.
A few days earlier I had got Symone into the long-legged flesh tone leotard she would be wearing for her hoop duet with Jose. As she had several costume changes and we had no time to decorate between her time slots, I glitter tattoo’d the leotard in the Adam & Eve theme.
On the night I did a snake and leaves (tribal stylee) to match, on Jose’s arms. Amy Liu also had a leafy body tattoo for her pole show as she was in a jungle nymph outfit.
The hoop show was great, tho very low down due to the lack of ceiling height in the club, Albert of shizznitt.com took this great video though not in colour.