This was a stunning idea Jennie had for Paintopia – lots of professional (and non!) face painters never tried a body paint as they were too shy/ nervous/ unsure of how to set one up. (Not me – I just went ahead and did it!). She designed a competition – more like a set-time workshop really – where she teamed up experienced body artists randomly with newbies. We had a few weeks to talk on email etc, some even meeting up to practice together.
The very sweet Italian Teresa Antinoro from Milan had been paired with me for this. TBH she is a great painter already and I don’t think she really needed help, but it was nice to chat as we worked. She went on to do well in some EU bodypaint comps that summer!
It was a genius idea of Jennie’s; put a novice painter with someone much more experienced to give them the confidence to have a go at body art. Sadly Italian is one of the languages I know nothing of (German, French, and Dutch I’m OK at and I even have a smattering of Cantonese and Spanish).
We’d chatted a bit on email and had a few ideas, so I’d made a giant paper-feather bird head mask with the smashed out bottoms of the plastic LED lit pint mugs I’d got from the HK Rugbys 7s as eyes. Elisabeth, who I’d painted for the My Bloody Valentine shoot, was our model.
I used sculpted foam-latex breats covers from BodyFX NZ again, love them! 1-stroke cakes were just getting popular so I’d bought a new one ( Iusually made my own), showed her vaguely how to do feathery patterns with the flamey colours, and we ‘feathered’ Liz then drew a flaming pheonix on her tummy.
A lot of pinning and fiddling fixed on the bird head, and a tutu/ bustle I love which I had got from Fairylove years ago (and no longer felt brae enough to wear).
A bit of glitter tattoo was added with the freehand glitter tattoo bottles and tips I sell, and off Liz went. We didn’t win but it was nice experience and I LOVE all the different shots the photographers took!
These 3 photos by the IsnapEvents Photographers who set up a green-screen shoot in the painting marquee on Sunday, which was Paintopia’s public open day.
I think Liz quite liked this paint as she stayed in it until the last possible moment!
My fab buddy Jennie had never been to any of the big face/ body paint conferences, as they are usually from Norfolk (she has 2 daughters and a day job), and cost lots. She arranged a ‘jam’, a day where local (ish) painters come and try stuff, play with paints etc, and that whet her appetite. So, she decided to create Paintopia, (partially helped by her friend Kerry), a body art festival in Norfolk!
The aim was to raise the profile of good face & body art and let us all have some fun too. Even though it was its first year, she attracted entrants from all over Europe and even further as well as UK!
This first year Jennie chose a magical theme, loosely based on Harry potter, partially because we were hosted at the historic Dunston Hall.
Unlike many events, painters were able to set up on their own tables in the wedding marquee, and leave their kit there the whole weekend.
Many retailers were set up in a room in the hotel, and official photographers were in another. The first day, Saturday, we were creating mystical creatures in the main body paint event. Hotel staff were really helpful and intrigued (highly unusual compared to many events I have been to) bt did warn us that a famous football team and a lavish wedding were sharing the hotel, and could we be cautious.
I had designed a Patronus Pixie on the amazing Stephanie, in my favourite teal and blue shades.
I added prosthetic horns, and tried to draw Harry Potter casting the spell beside the lake on her leg, so his stag Patronus rose up her front, surrounded by wispy Dementors.
Voldemort on the back I was not happy with, but I finished in time and managed to fix the giant fibre-optic-and-fused fibre headpiece I had made to her wig.
A few wedding guests noticed what was going on and asked to come in; by the afternoon we had most of the wedding in watching us work.
Whilst queuing to be judged, and photographed, th footballers (Aston Villa!) spotted the models and started papping them!
The wedding couple also sent their official photographer to ask if the models would pose, so the whole crew grinned behind the happy couple with me trying to remind them all NOT to hug the bride!
Helen won for her unusual brown and cream flowery creation, lovely. We came 2nd ! Woohoo!!!!!
The party that night was beautifully set up to look all magical and potter-esque, with the Isnap guys offering green-screen shots of us in various famous locations from the films. I’m afraid that like many I was knackered and still needed to clean kit and set up hings for the next day, so I went back to bed fairly soon after eating. I had to abandon poor Laurence (whi was wearing my leafy home-made tiara) to the female hordes:)
Nic Shilson is a face & body artists I’m great friends with, and I adore her fiancée Pete too. He is often her model. She started Body Factory Cornwall last year as a gathering of local body-painters, painting whatever they wanted and getting decent photos of it.
That rapidly expanded and this year she was hosting a bunch of painters from across the country.
Jennie & I travelled down together, and talked non-stop the whole way. The journey was fine, notably helped by us squeaking through as they were putting up barriers to close the road alongside Stonehenge for nighttime road works! It was bit scary us hurtling along the deserted road as a huge column of road vehicles came towards us, but we got to Jennie’s lovely cousin Johnny in the small hours.
Johnny was fab – took me on a tour of Cornwall and made sure I got to eat pasties (and fudge – sorry about the hypo scare, guys, but at least it meant I could eat sugary things!!!).
We met up with a bunch of painters near the venue that evening for a pub dinner, then went back to Johnnie’s to fret. I still had only a vague clue – the venue Nic had found was the atmospheric Bodmin Gaol, site of the last hangings in the UK. As usual I did a lot of research as it seemed daft to not take advantage of the history of the place as all photos would be there to.
I eventually found the story of Selina Wadge, an unmarried mother of two. She had a hard life, often having to ask entry into the workhouse to keep them fed, but kept her boys well even though the youngest, 2-year-old Henry, was partially crippled. It seemed she took up with a former soldier and got the idea (whether his or hers) that he would marry her if she got rid of her sickly son. The security that marriage would bring maybe caused her to drown the lad down a well in 1868, although she said her boyfriend did it. Her 6 year-old son John told the poorhouse staff what she had done, and she was eventually condemned and waiting to die in Bodmin. ‘Luckily’ for her the executioner there was experimenting with the ‘long drop’ method, which snapped the criminal’s necks as they dropped, killing them much more humanely than the usual slow strangulation did. She was one of the first to die that way, and the first private execution, but is said to haunt the Gaol still.
Johnny was rather worried, watching me as I cut a stencil to suit the vague ideas I had…. I wasn’t I prefer making it up as I meet the model!
We were painting in the pub which has been built into the centre of the old building, warm and cosy but not much natural light. It was a great day, with lots of idea swapping, shared problem-solving, and giggles. The food we ordered months ago was fab too!
I was painting the stunning Hayley Lanyon, and we had Claire Pick of Illusion decorating the notorious favourite model of mine, Laurence, beside us. I’d finally made him his Superman-inspired ‘LL’ t-shirt (for lovely Laurence as whenever I paint him people seeing the pics just say, oo who’s he? Laurence? Lovely!). But I changed it to “LL BodyModeL. Jennie was trying her first solo body paint, on her soon-to be sister-in-law, a Tim Burton theme, and did really well.
I had cut a stencil of the main parts of a few words in elegant script, as I am rubbish at neat handwriting, and I used that to help create the words “1878, 8 feet into eternity’ on Hayley’s chest.
This was to symbolise the date of her death, and the height of the drop on the rope that killed Selina. I added the uneven stone block walls beneath it, over hand-cut breast covers, leading down to a devilish mask and flaming subterranean underworld on her knickers and legs. I stuck to a few colours, mainly reds and yellow, using mostly Grimas and Diamond FX paints.
On her back I only had time to do a fast impression of the poor son staring up at sunlight from his well. I added dripped black eye makeup and a rope around her neck, then embellished everything with some fine lines of glitter tattoo ‘blood’ to show the gruesome history soaked into the walls, using the bottles and tip I sell. A vaguely Victorian hairdo with a bird wing, and done!
We were supposed to find the 4 official photographers who were each set up in different locations around the site. Some artists had even ordered in amazing props – check out the spiked Harley!
We did find 3 photographers, but whilst waiting for the 4th, the very brave & patient Hayley got the shivers. We were down in a dungeon-like part of the building underneath where we had painted. I got chills too so we gave up and didn’t get those shots – only to find out later we’d been stood by Selina’s last cell!
We had to clear up fast as there was a private party setting up, and all retired to the main bar to relax. To my amazement, I won! Huge thanks to Nic, the sponsors and everyone involved.
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.
As said I had a free day after working at the Rugby 7’s for HK YAF, and arranged to meet my muse and mate Symone of Pole Paradise Studios. We met at the ferry to Discovery Bay, which, sadly, Al of Shizznitt who does the brilliant time-lapse videos, missed!
DB is called an ‘eco-community’ as there are meant to be no cars – most people use a golf buggy – on the south side of Lantau Island which is easiest to get to by ferry which is usually a high-speed hydrofoil. (There is a long route through the island and past HK Airport etc but I’ve never done it).
In reality there are a lot of buses and vans but it looks fairly idyllic!
We went to the studio of Rouge Photography, Dee, a lady who Symone had worked with before. I glittered Symone there: I had a vague idea of an alternative mermaid with frilly gills along her ribs, and had asked her to see if she knew anyone and any place we could maybe get some in-water shots seeing as the artwork would be waterproof. We lucked out with Rouge knowing a ‘secret waterfall pool….’
Typically I realised I’d left the big triangular breast cover I had pre-glued in my hotel room, but luckily Symone had an old bra I chopped up and glued on, and by that time Al had caught up with us too.
This is Al’s videos of me glittering Symone.
For once I use some non-cosmetic grade glitters too, some very chunky grades that were almost like sequins, to give some variation in texture to the design. We added a long manga wig I had, and went for lunch. We did get some strange looks in th quiet Tapas cafe in the business area there!
We were joined by Dee’s mate Gareth, who oddly enough I knew from having seen his films campaigning against the hideous shark-fin trade. See some of the disgraceful displays he has seen and filmed here…
Anyway, he had an underwater camera set-up which we hoped to use to get some shots of Symone underwater.
We parked the golf cart (again, odd looks from the few people we passed) at the side of a very quiet hill road, climbed over the barrier, and started lugging kit and ourselves carefully down a tiny track. Watching out for snakes and (on my side at any rate) the creepy long-legged big spiders with the dayglo joint blobs I loathed.
Then we portered the kit over the rocks which stretched out into the water. It was a beautiful place, and actually starting to warm a little – Hong Kong is often NOT that toasty in March!
Symone posed on the rocks and then started easing herself down into the chilly water, attracting a friendly tadpole for a while (the tiny dot on her thigh, above). We gave several hikers who were using the gully as a walk route a very odd surprise… some of them wouldn’t even stop to ask what we were up to!
Sadly due to light and some technical hitches, we didn’t get any underwater shots – the water was very murky too. But what a different look from my usual HK shoots – I loved it!
Thanks to all involved.
Either side of the Hong Kong Rugby 7’s booking and all the prep/ tidy up for HK Y.A.F., I had a free day.
The 1st morning my ‘old’ colleague Pat who I often painted before I left HK (and did my 1st ever solo attempt at a 1/2 body paint on) called round to my hotel.
A dancer and hockey player, she has started working as a yoga instructor and fancied a glittery something to show off her moves. The colours & pattern were inspired by the Rock Fitness Yoga business she is joining.
Sorry about the iffy photos, it was just me snapping her in the little garden square between high-rises beside the hotel.
These are all over the city, and people play, read, smoke, eat and practice Tai-chi in them so they were not quite sure what to make of us!
As before, Illusion Magazine had asked if I would do a step-by-step baby bump for one of their issues, and I decided that rather than the usual paint, I would do it in glitter tattoo. This was my 2nd attempt to give them a choice of designs.
I am now selling the new glitter tattoo glue bottles with screw-on fine lids and cosmetic glue that I prefer on my shop here, so I used them.
Di Smith of Frozen Photography had another pregnant friend who was very, so we met there to decorate the mum-to-be.
This time I started the glue design with a flat brush, for a different look. I use old brushes that I can throw away, as no matter which removers I try the glue seems to soak right up inside the brush bristles and never completely clean out of it afterwards:(
Anyway this was to be a spring baby, so a design of a gold heart emerging from new leaves on a bed of old autumnal leaves came to my mind.
After I had glued and glittered the leaves, I went back to add more glue but this time used the bottles and tip I sell to add fine twiggy details.
This I highlighted with gold metallic cosmetic powders before glittering.
A brush off and ….
Illusion Magazine kindly asked if I would submit a step-by-step baby bump for one of their issues, and I decided that rather than the usual paint, I would do it in glitter tattoo.
I am now selling the new bottles with screw-on fine lids and cosmetic glue that I prefer on my shop here, so I used them.
Di Smith of Frozen Photography had a friend who was very pregnant, so we met there to decorate the mum-to-be.
I wanted to do a gothic/ baroque type of pattern, so to save time had cut my own stencil which I sponged face paint through as a quick start. I then went over the paint in glue, and added many more freehand dots and details in the glue.
Several coats of glitter later and we had a sparkly intricate work of art that could last several days, until removed with baby oil or gentle rubbing in a bath.
looks like the Tantrwm guys have included bits f my glittery body art (and Simons bodypaint) in their show real.