So we’d had the Launch of the trail opening at Riverside Odeon with a few Gogogorillas including ‘my’ Sea Monkey. Impressive!
After fixing the statues up (Jim especially had several large scratches and holes in him from being climbed on – with force I would think).
But at the end of the trail time, in September, Break wrangled all 60-ish gorillas (and a surprise new Alan Partridge made for the opening of his film) in front of the Forum. It was fabulous to see them all out in the sun together!
They were there for a few days and then taken inside the Forum for the Auction night. I went and sat with the lovely Mik and Tina- but didn’t bid, much as I would have loved to!
Most Gorillas went for over £2,000, my Jungle Jim at £3,600 and Sea Monkey at £3,200. I loved that SeaMonkey was brought out to the Pirates of the Caribbean theme music!
A bidding war started over the Carrow Road one, which ended at £17,000. Then finally Mik’s repainted “Freddie’ came out. At around £8,000 the bidding slowed and Mik was about to go and congratulate the winner, when it started again. This time it was leaping up in £1,000s! It was the big seller of the night, going for £20,000.
Over £272,300 was raised for BREAK and Born Free – a FAB effort and a really fun experience for us all. Huge thanks to Martin and the team for organising it all!
I was once again invited to decorate the bar staff of Hustlers Croydon with quick USA-inspired glitter tattoos. These are cosmetic adhesive, coated with cosmetic glitters, and are tough and waterproof but can be removed with baby oil.
First I had pre-cut and pre-glued star or other shaped bra-inserts to suit the designs. Once they were attached we did super-fast red white and blue (or stardust-white) patterns according to some ideas they had and some things/ areas the ladies wanted covered or shapes they liked.
I managed to get the last train home but noticed how glittery my feet were as I was waiting!
I left for Bristol after a hot days painting at Bewilderwood, and as the A/C in my car can’t be fixed, got so hot I had to stop and buy some lighter clothes to drive in! After a night at my mum’s I met Laurence and we convoyed to Painswick Art Couture.
This year the body art side of things had been brilliantly organised (last year, their first time, was a bit scrambled). We were met in a beautiful building (and given cup cakes!!!!!) with areas roped off to paint in. Jill had everything sorted down to drink facilities and food runners…wow, and she was heavily pregnant too! Of course it was so scorchingly hot that we’d almost have been better off outside this year, trying to catch the breeze under the many (chilly last year in very different weather) gazebos. Huge thanks to Charlotte and the other runners who helped keep our models (and us) fed and watered.
The theme given was ‘Magic’ and a few weeks beforw I’d given Laurence the choice of something Celtic or Victorian, as I thought Voodoo etc was maybe a bit cheeky seeing as we’d be judged in a churchyard. He fancied Victorian, so Victorian Magic Man it was. I’d discovered whilst researching ‘magic’ that it was in that era that travelling shows started transforming into the stage magic more familiar to us now, especially with men inventing all sorts of mechanical tricks to wow their audiences and even electric lights being an amazing phenomenon.
Some people had ‘automatons’ that did all sorts of things, one could draw portraits of hundreds of celebrities. So, his front was my take on a steam-punk victorian robot, in a waistcoat and striped trousers and gloves with all sorts of exposed clockworks.
I’d turned up with some printed pics of lightbulbs, crows etc but hadn’t really sorted designs as is my usual way, although I’d had to send a detailed blurb in earlier for the judges! I used mainly Cameleon bodypaints, over a base (on the front upper) of Graftobian or Mehron gold powder and mixing liquid. The few bits of cog stencils were home-made, and a BAM one was used on the waistcoat.
Nic’s the grinner below Petes arm
Fab venue, beautiful stone windows open to let the music waft in from the street entertainments (and a great view of the Battle of Britain flypast later on). We were painting beside Nic who was attempting to use the airbrush we’d all clubbed together to get her as a wedding gift (early) on her fiancee Pete. Many of the usual crew were there doing their amazing stuff, including Brierly and the vast height difference of a team that is Mel Broom and Will Shave.
Brierly’s stunning work
LL’s back showed the transition from ‘hedge’ magic involving animals and the moon, to electrically lit stage shows. I was really pleased with this, and the hat I had made (after tips from a really worth-while ‘Foam Headpiece’ workshop with Alex Hansen) seemed perfect.
We finished a little early so went down for photos then out into the cooler day – our building was packed with interested public and steaming! I only managed a few snaps/ quick film as we shuffled through the crowds on the quaint streets (packed with really interesting stalls selling all sorts of crafts I’m dying to see) the rest of the time LL and Pete were mobbed.
Tony Cook stopped us in the churchyard to get our emails and sent these 2 amazing shots he edited from a snap he took of my half-finished paint on Laurence last year.
LL, Pete and some of the great work by students waiting to be judged- in the shade
It was so hot that this year all the models were glad to literally ‘chill’ inside the church whilst we waited for judging.
Then we were treated to a cocktail in another building before going back for the results. I loved the dress made from eggshells, and another from maps.
After hearing 3rd & 2nd place body winners announced I was just turning to LL to say, ah well, thank you it was great’ when we were announced as winners!
The top 3 – Laurence by me, Will by Mel Broom and Claire by Helen Eyre
Brilliant event, so many talented people, and huge thanks to the sponsors, Brewers Dolphin. I used their cheque to pay for the hotel rooms Laurence & I had booked for Nic & Petes wedding!
I submitted another design I had to the Norwich Break/ Born Free Charity Wild Art Urban Art event- GoGoGorillas. I was delighted that it was picked to be painted for an as yet un-sponsored statue. Riverside later chose it and it was on display all summer at Pulls Ferry.
Martin delivered the blank statue whilst I was out. As it was chilly and dark out there in the stables my poor hubby decided to get him into the house like this!
This gorilla I tried to make more ‘fun’. So I created a Pirates of the Carribbean inspired ape, and used really bright acrylic paint shades.
His face has a hint of Jack Sparrow, his hat has a skull and crossed bananas and he was wearing a typical striped shirt.
A pirate galleon, sunken treasure, a mermaid, sharks and other sea-life cavort across his body, all highlighted with real gold leaf.
Sea Monkey was one of the apes chosen for the ‘official trail launch’ outside the Odeon Cinema on Norwich Riverside. Great event! Huge thanks to Michelle of Purple Photography for all the good photos.
I’m a bit late putting this up as its another paint we did early on and had to keep quiet until it was launched at Paintopia.
We needed an image to promo the date & theme – ‘Vintage’ – of Paintopia 2014. As we’d used girls for 2012 &2013, it only seemed fair to get a boy on, and of course Laurence is at the top of our model list. After lots of discussions a ‘Mr Darcy’ look to suit the look of Dunston Hall, the location, seemed best.
Laurence kindly drove up from Bristol to meet us there one very old and snowy day in January. Snuggly in our painty room (with friendly staff popping in with drinks all the time), Jennie, Di (of Frozen Photography) and I nattered away whilst painting LL.
Jenn & I used Cameleon colours- browns and golds mainly – for the jacket and trousers. Gold overlaid with a deep red did the waistcoat and I used a BAM stencil for the patterning.
Jennie then added a tiny gold dot of Glitzer gel to each segment of the ‘brocade’. LL was wearing flip-lops, so we painted his feet and shins to look like black boots, again with Cameleon. Jenn was a wee bit nervous as she’d never got to paint LL before.
Sadly whilst sewing on the ‘tails’ to his outer set of pants she got a bit shaky and is still living down having poked his rear with a needle!
One of the best moments was taking LL down to hotel reception to ask if they would mind us closing the original old front door (one of the main entrances) to have LL photo’d outside against it.
The manageress said yes, of course, but when we painted him could we please be aware of other guests so as not to shock them. Silence as we all turned to look at LL… and she realised he WAS painted.
That was a bit of a draw-back of painting even half-decent clothes on to people, actually, as we realised later its too easy to fool people into thinking he was in a real suit – they missed seeing the bodypaint!
This got onto some Steampunk page and went a bit viral. Some of the comments were very silly – people refusing to believe it was all paint, saying he was wearing trousers and boots (nope just knickers and flipflops and a hat!) and others wanting to know how we painted on the hat. DUH people, really??? :)))
I heard that there was to be another WildinArt event in Norwich – I missed the first, the elephants, as I was living in Hong Kong. Firms could sponsor a statues, pick a design or artist and have their details on display around the city all summer, after which the gorillas would be auctioned off for the charities. I entered a couple of designs and was overjoyed when the ladies of Jungle PRchose my ‘Urban Jungle’ from 100s of entries. I have enjoyed working with them before, so was happy to be the 1st artists in the empty shop we had as a studio in Castle Mall working on a statue.
Bigger than I expected – and I hear real gorillas may be larger! In all my Natural History Museum/ Zoo education career/ travels I didn’t actually meet a live one so I wouldn’t know… They came ‘undercoated’ in white, so I invested in a lot of decent acrylic paint and got started.
The idea was that although the project was to raise funds for BREAK Charity AND theBorn Free Foundation, I could highlight the difficulties local urban wildlife had. Lots of easily identified animals (fox, robin, hedgehog) were painted on, peeping out of an untidy garden as that’s the best for wildlife.
Norwich cathedral’s tower with its falcons was shown, as was a thrush on a wall with a glittered snail trail leading down the brickwork as a maze for kids to let any snails escape into (or be caught from!). And the famed starling swirls of Suffolk (which I often saw when working for Suffolk Wildlife Trust).
There were bees & ladybirds to ‘spot’, a tree with a sleepy owl and cheeky squirrel, and a small pond full of frogs and newts etc. A rainbow sunset down the back darkened to a bat in an evening sky. Scattered along the sides were hints on things to encourage those species into your urban area – bug homes, pots for hedgehogs, flowers, plants and food they like…
It was lovely to see the other artists arrive and start work too. Mik Richardson is the expert guru on these statues and is now a great friend. His Radio Gogo Freddie Mercury was stunning and did not deserve the ridiculous removal- he had to re-paint the face after it went out in public, as a hairy gorilla, after the Freddy Mercury lot objected. Insane. And then someone from Queen made totally wrong comments about Mik He had the best result – Freddie went for about triple of any other price at the auction – £20,000 for the charities!
it took a lot longer than I expected- over a week of 8+ hour days! I’m used to painting on curves at awkward angles from my body work, but I reckon just the head and front legs of the gorilla has about as much surface area as an average body model!
It’s a nice change to have done something that was varnished on and will last a bit longer than my usual ephemeral stuff!
The statues were taken off to have those code square weblink things attached to them with the artist and sponsor details on plaques, and then lorried to their locations. Jungle Jim was on Fyes Bridge in Norwich; for months I had photos tagged to me on my Facebook page of people cuddling him, riding him, even a bridal party around him! Sadly I’ve lost them all after I was banned from Facebook (for unsafe photos even though I don’t paint nudes and the ‘final straw’ banned photo was of a face painted fairy! Its vindictive and has been happening to body artists worldwide:/)
Sadly he was quite gouged and bashed up from people sliding on and off him – even a hole in him under the owl, which isn’t easy to do, so i had to do a fair bit of touching up before the auction.
When I was contacted by this club, I had expected to be decorating the dancers. After a long trip down there, I was ushered into the changing rooms and met the bar staff, many of whom were not used to baring quite so much and were understandably nervous although all gorgeous.
We did not have much time for each lady, and I had prepared special breast covers for each one that I glued on (safer than bikini tops – can’t be untied or slip off!) before sketching in designs with paint.
The theme, of course, was the Stars & Stripes. Using large flake glitter on top of the cosmetic glue (as it was not near the face) as well as some finer Facade cosmetic glitters, variations on the theme were completed following discussions with each lady about what she did or didn’t want exposed.
It all looked amazing when I left, and I hope they had a good night. The advantage of glitter tattoo tops (although I had to ‘glue’ larger areas than I like as it would be harder for the girls to remove with oil afterwards) is that as they worked serving drinks, any spillages would just run off – its all waterproof!