I had seen a stunning piece of film shot about Simon Smith when he bodypainted a female Predator warrior on Mel (my Frost Fae last year), shot by Tantrwm Films.
I commented to them that it was one of the only beautifully shot bits of bodyart I had ever seen – sadly far too often we get portrayed as a bit of a laugh or a silly giggle or a bit rude, at best as fast reportage type stuff. But this was stunning and nicely serious, just perfect.
To my delight the film crew asked if I’d like to create a clip too! Yes please! They planned these as a taster to show backers and companies they hoped to interest in doing a longer film about the UK bodyart industry.
So I drove over to Wales (yes its the opposite coast of the UK, but I got to stay with my mum for the weekend and she got to see Finley), in Feb, to meet them.
A friend of theirs, singer Catryn Southall, had a new album coming out with an ordinary-people-can-be heroes- theme and we’d worked up a vague alt superhero idea. She has an amazing career, check out her site!
Enroute I’d stopped at Facade glitter, who had some new greys, greens and dark green metalli glitters I was keen to try. Luckily Catryn liked the idea of a steamp-punk-cyborg look, so I set to work.
Over big pants and custom-cut bra inserts (made to look like an array of cogs and gears) I brushed a base of metallic powders and mixing liquids with some Kryolan Interferenz.
I then stencilled many areas with a computer-cut large stencil I found on eBay, and some smaller DIY ones I had made.
Finally, using the cosmetic adhesives and bottles I sell here, I did sort of circuit-board freehand glitter tattoos all over her.
It was funny as our nicknames were both ‘Cat’, so whenever the film-man asked 1 of us to move we both did!
Here is their film – I LOVE it, its magical! OOOOOoooooo! Hope they get to do the whole thing!
This was an idea that started after I developed my ‘Pretty Horrible’ slashed butterfly/ heart faces last Hallowe’en.
Elizabethwas going to be a beat-up stitched together zombie doll, a bit like the Corpse Bride. The dead doll look is really popular at Halloween, it must be a Manga or Horror Film thing or something as there are loads of costumes of it.
The gorgeous Di Smith of Frozen Photography again came round to take the photos, as we wanted to use them for a Valentine’s promo, and bought big bags of fake flowers as props.
I’d got flesh-time pants and the big bra inserts I like that almost matched Liz’s skin, so we put them on first.
I ‘bruised’ up Liz with an assortment of Grimas burgundyand Paradise lime green etc, before painting on the ‘joints’ and ‘joins’. I then added freehand glitter tattoo glue lines using the kit which I sell, to hold red and dark glitters.
It’s all cosmetic and completely safe for the baby, and as long as mum is comfortable is a nice relaxing celebration which gives some lovely memories of a special time. The paint washes off with soap and the glitter may come off then or can last a few days if you want it, before rubbing gently away with baby oil.
Contact me if you’d like to book a Baby Bump Art session as a Baby Shower present!
I just got the photos from this so am adding it a little late!
Victoria Lesley the amazing photographer I have worked with several times wanted to be a model for a change (she does work as one sometimes). So, Di Smith offered to take the shots and we met at my father-in-laws to try out the new glue application bottles I had sourced.
I used to use empty bling bottle etc but they tended to suddenly ‘pop’ and coat the model in their entire contents, so I had been looking doe something like I saw nurses using when I was in hospital.
This is what I came up with – squeezable oval bottles with tips that lock on and twist off! I sell them in my shop.
Anyway as it was just before Halloween we went for a spooky feel.
I added tiny dots in a webby pattern, then used silver Mehron or powder to highlight some when it was dry. A dark mix of cosmetic glitters fromFacade for the rest of the webs and brush it off.
Another layer of glue for spiders etc, glitter and voila.
A waterproof, smudgeproof sparkling necklace that would last an evening of dancing perfectly.
I’m lucky enough to get quite a few models and photographers contacting me hoping to work together, and do sometimes arrange a shoot with some of them. Emily I’d painted as a bronze statue for the Paintopia promo shots, and she was keen to get painted again.
Alex Burlingham was still in school and planned to do photography at Higher Education, but the portfolio she sent me was already really interesting.
We arranged to meet up at her house where she had an actual studio set-up, impressive for a school pupil. Once Emily was in big pants and the bra inserts I prfer to glue on (they are huge and cover the whole breast so no naughty bits show), I’d found a traditionally-decorated Christmas Bauble I liked as inspiration,
and to carry on from the glitter-blowing Frost Fae shoot, had got some fake ‘snow’ that you added water to. It puffed up, looked fairly realistic, and was dry to the touch.
BRAVE Leonie let us shoot this on a day of sleet in Mid-Dec 2011, in a Norwich graveyard!
She contacted me as she knew I was in Norwich, and she was going to be up visiting friends. We’d met when she was being painted beside me at several body art events, by other artists.
Al Pulford, a local who specialises in photographing gigs, had been in contact with me before and this was a great chance to collaborate.
I decided there are ‘rules’ to my seasonal fae shots; the twiggy gem sprays I made for the first Frost Fae shoot have to be included in some form with every model. So, this time I curled the wires and beads around some twigs from a hedge that still had a few shrivelled rowan etc berries on them and put them into Leonie’s hair.
She also wore another pair of the large bikni inserts as breats overs, and I cut the side strings off a pair of bikini knikers which I glued onto her.
I worked mainly with Grimas paints, and added some subtle lacy snowflake effects with some home-made stencils.
I then hand painted some twiggy black lines and glitter tattoo-d over the top of them.
We did the inital shoot in Al’s house, where I’d painted, and as we finished, looking out at the snow, he said….”There’s a great graveyard just down the road’. And Leonie was keen!
I’d bought my big felted Star Wars (I got it where they shot Tattooine in Tunisia) claok with me, so swathed in that and her boots, brave Leonie trotted down the road in the sleet with us.
I’m glad she did – what a trooper! It was actually snowing so much we did most of these photos under large sheltering trees, with me dashing up with cloak bewteen shots. Thanks guys!
This was another shoot with photographer Al Hone, who stepped in last-minute to help me out over the summer when I had a postal comp I needed bodypaint photos for.
Mel is a friend of his who was coming up to Norwich to do another shoot with him, and fancied being painted too. Al could get his work’s photo studio so we were sorted!
I had an idea of continuing the vaguely Elemental series (started last slow season – i.e. last winter – with several glitter tattoo shoots – Leafy/Earth. Bubbly, Fire…) which morphed into an ‘Elemental Fae’ theme. I had a new pair of extra-long fairy ears I wanted to use, and got lost in Flikr/ google images of frost, snow etc for hours. Not that I could paint half of those patterns – you’d need a fractal mind!
The day before the shoot, amusing my toddler Finley for an hour in Norwich, I spotted a bead shop. A handful of crystal & plastic beads later, I had an idea of what to do for her headdress as I’m so rubbish with hair. After Fin went to bed I spent the evening wiring and coiling wires to crystal drops, and created some heat-bonded fibre fabrics too……
On Sat we all met at Al’s office studio, and I glued Mel into the breast shields I had chopped into sort of icy-crystal patterns. I mainly used Diamond FX metallic blue/ pink/ purple as a base, with Grimas White. I did her front as she was sat on my tall chair, then her legs and back.
She had a dizzy spell so chilled (literally) on the floor for a bit which meant I switched to mainly decorating her front & upper body for the time we had left when we got going again.
She then sat so I could attach all the bits into a high bun on her head…am so chuffed with the way the accessories came out in the photos – don’t the fibre fabrics I made look weird and icy?
After the paint I added some freehand glitter tattoo glue, waited for it to dry and added the glitter.
We then had a bit of fun getting Mel to blow around assorted colours of glitter….
Remi & Josh have kindly had me over to bodypaint them before their Halloween party for the last 2 years.
This year Josh went for a Fallen Angel look – I made wings on his back using freehand body glitter tattoos, and glued a range of types and sizes of feathers (peacock with no eyes, black-gold cockerel feathers, maribu fluff etc). I then made his face look a little hollowed out, added some quick tribal tattoos and sprayed him all over with a misting of metallics.
Remi had a rather snazzy ‘mummy’ suit, a stretchy ribbed looking bandage affair.
So I created a rotted flesh/ aged bandage look for his face using my usual face/ body paints.
This year Josh’s partner Michelle also joined in the fun. She had a cute ‘Doll’ outfit, sort of Bride of Chucky or Death Dolly or something (possible manga or gaming??). She wanted a stitched together look so I played with my favourite Grimas burgundy to make a slashed mouth and chest with crude stitches surrounded by sore-looking skin/ bruises.
She had some black contact lenses that I finished off with majorly OTT /cried-in mascara dripping down her cheeks.Their guests all make a real effort, from these photos they have kindly sent me.
Looks like a great welcome & a fab event!
And not a bad DIY look by the zombies Remi mummy is glaring at here:)
I actually 1st ‘met’ face paint when I was the Education Officer at Banham Zoo, running science lessons and giving public feeding talks. They used good paints (Grimas) but the designs and hygiene were not great and I improved loads as soon as I started researching face paint myself. Banham Zoo is 1 of 3 East Anglian attractions owned by the same group, and after having worked in their safari park too, I always meant to visit their original site, Norfolks‘ Dinosaur Adventure Park.
That was 8 years ago; we finally drove up when my mum was visiting at the end of September, and it was a really good day.
You could tell which of their life-size models were older (or cheaper maybe) as some of the anatomy just looked…. – wrong. I’m not an expert – yes I worked in London’s Natural History Museumfor years when I first graduated,but the Dino Gallery wasn’t my fave area in it – but some were great.
Plus there was the petting zoo (Finley got to cuddle a guinea pig, etc, he’s mainly used only to farm animals at home-check out the ‘vicious wee killer Monty Python beastie’ lurking behind him!)and all the adventure play stuff. Typically where we spent longest was on a big trampoline!
Anyway long story short, I saw they were holding a horror event in the evenings over Halloween, so I emailed asking who did their actor’s makeup. And was asked to go and run a face-paint stall there instead. It sounded interesting, both for getting to paint things not usually on offer at my main hirer, Bewilderwood, but also to see what goes on at a Haunted House type event which they called ‘PrimEvil, Norfolks biggest Halloween Experience’.
It was a bit of a rush each evening, finishing painting at Bewilderwood, packing all my gear into my car, fighting rush-hour traffic, lugging my kit back out of the car and through the queue into the Dino Park’s entrance restaurant and setting up again.
I was beside some guys called Isnap Events doing green-screen on-demand photos which was a fantastic idea. People posed against the screen and then in this case could see how the looked in each of 4 spooky backgrounds (like this) and were then able to buy a print if they wished. I also tried and got addicted to chilli popcorn from Bintree Farm – which wasn’t hot enough to burn but tasted warm even when it was cold. Yum.
It was slightly off-putting painting with a large T-Rex looming over me (and 1 of the ladies who covered the Sat night when I was bodypainting elsewhere said she kept getting his claws in her hair) but it made the on-my-chair photos interesting:)And I did put MrT to good use!
As far as I can work out, people bought tickets first of all to just the ‘free’ things – whatever was going on in the big new indoor kids play area and a long walk through the woods with actors etc leaping out at you. And animal handling sessions with bugs, snakes etc. There was also a wee fireworks show towards 9pm I think it was each night.
My faves were the seriously freaky stilt walkers, the guy with the roughest scariest growly voice, who appeared in a variety of costumes including a striped cirque de freke style thing and as giant bugs. Just simple words – like “LIKE” and “PRETTY” being screamed out by him at randomn people were enough to halt several groups at the entrance and put a few off for a while:)They also had a giant Monty Python style ‘death’ look with huge crabby hands. What I loved was that customers would run into the cafe with me, or the low ceilinged entrance area between the cafe and the shop/ ticket office, and think they were ‘safe’. But then the stilt walkers would bend almost double and get in to chase them! Brilliant. Again thats 6ft7 richard making the young lady appear a bit smaller than she actually was…
Then you could also buy extra tickets into the ‘special’ areas – there was an Insanitarium and a Circus of Horrors, also staffed with more actors, which advised no under 12’s go in. From what I heard – and the state of a few severely rattled adults/ teens who came back to the cafe to calm down or sit out the rest- it could be pretty scary. 2 Code Yellows and a Code Brown were also rumoured. But some kids were fine…I’m afraid I chickened out as I am really not great with scary stuff. I adored Stephen king, James Herbet etc books as a teen but since I had Finley I don’t seem to be able to cope with even slightly spooky films!
So I painted customers and staff instead. This is my new fave gore idea – razor slashed faces. This 1 is a Bloody Valentine (heart) eye but I was doing a great line in razor-slashed butterflies too. I LOVE Grimas burgundy for this, is perfect for bruising and old blood as well as nice flowers and butterflies. I don’t have SFX kit (as said not good with scary and hate faffing around/ lugging yet more kit in) so I just use my regular paints. Got to say I reckon it’s just as good as SFX gore in some cases and probably a lot faster.
It’s an odd gig – as an ex- teacher (or anything else!) I never expected to be having conversations with parents like this:
Me: “…and how would you like your child to have died?”