So once again I find myself down in the marvelous metropolis that is Melbourne and as if by fate there just so happens to be a Day of the Dead themed Mexican Wrestling night on today in the city!!! The night sounds like it's set to be pretty special: ten professional Luchadores will be battling it out on the ring, saucy skeletons will be getting their burlesque on, the tequila will be flowing and to top it all off we'll have the pleasure of the Sin Frontera Band performing some traditional mariachi music, followed by a mashup of traditional Mexican music with banging electronic beats. As if that wasn't enough fancy dress is greatly encouraged at the event with prizes for best dressed. To help those of you who haven't planned anything I'll be set up from 8-12 transforming whoever's willing into skeletons and luchadores... and maybe even a few combinations of the two :) If you want to get involved head over to the Hi-Fi on 125 Swanston Street - doors open at 8pm and tickets are $27 and available from here xxx
Roll up roll up all ye who dare and meet Don Alacrán - the twisted skeleton ringmaster who
lured his crew to death & a pact with Santa Muerte that would keep them partying, performing and
guzzling tequila until the end of time....
Just before leaving England this summer I organized a video shoot with Happy Slap Boutique and Fresh Cut Media to showcase one of the characters from our Boomtown Fair venue: El Espectáculo Esqueleto!!!
Inspiration for the character was drawn from Day of the Dead iconography, entwined with circus and embellished with ideas that sprung from Joe Fur's amazing mural which appears in the background for sections of the video. The candles emenating from the skeletons' heads in Joe's art were of particular inspiration so I endeavored to incorporate this element into the character through the costume. I spent a couple of days embellishing and decorating a top hat and constructing a pair of epaullets from various materials that could be attached to the shoulders adding a stronger silhouette to Don Alacrans painted jacket. All were topped with an array of candles which were detailed with paint and lit for sections of the filiming.
Due to time restrains with the location there wasn't as long as I'd have liked to do the painting but Grace McComisky, Tash Hobbs and I did what we could in the time allowed before our amazing actor Jason Wilkinson and his insanely expressive face dove into the depths of the character. Our new friend Pieter Snyman of Fresh Cut Media filmed (and subsequently edited) the video while the amazing Scott Salt got handy with his camera and produced some beautiful on set photographs.
Massive thanks go out to everyone involved including Balkan Beat Box for allowing us the use of their track (which can be downloaded for free here), to Mike Freear for finding and editing the track for us, to Markus for letting us use the location in the Coronet Theater, and to Dan for all of his help and directive input :D You're all amazing and thank you for helping bring Alacrán to life!
So as if Halloween wasn't exciting enough the celebrations continue into November with another of my absolute favourites - Mexican Day of the Dead!! Though this celebration has now spread all over the globe yet is no doubt most widely celebrated in it's country of origin where it has been tracked back almost 3000 years to the time of the Aztecs. Those guys reportedly continued the festivities for a whole month, keeping skulls as symbols of death and rebirth and dedicating their festivities to the Lady of the Dead.
Visually this festival is absolutely amazing and has been a huge source of inspiration to me for years. Full of fun, swathed in bright colours, flowers and of course skulls it shoos away the Western morbidity of death and replaces it with the glorious vibrancy of Central and South American culture.
Soooo the season obviously wouldn't be complete without a sugar skull makeup thrown in the mix - and here is this year's contribution :D I entered the image into QC Makeup Academy's Halloween Makeup Competition and was flabbergasted to discover I'd come in a very happy runner up in the final judging - a very nice surprise indeed!!!
So it's that time of year again !! All the ghouls and ghosts are coming out to play - accompanied of course by the obligatory van loads of slutty nurse zombies - and for this one glorious day the population goes fancy dress and makeup crazy!! I love Halloween - especially in London where alas, I am not... So this year I decided to mark the occasion by testing out some makeup ideas, inspired by the MAC Halloween Competition. This year Makeup FX legend Rick Baker (whose work has earned him a staggering 12 Acadamy Awards!!!) created three different looks using MAC products and challenged everyone to emulate their favorite in their own style. Amoung the three is a gorgeous 'Monster's Bride'' inspired of course by the Bride of Frankenstein :D Rick did a wonderful beauty makeup embellished with painted stitches which he gave dimension to through the clever use of shading and highlighting, all topped off with a fantastic deadlocked wig.
I spent a while pondering how best to emulate this without directly copying it and ended up deciding take the Bride and put her into a comic book world. I spent a day getting everything ready - making a huge painted headpiece to use as the iconic striped wig and painting up a canvas with Tesla coils and bolts of lightening so she had a fitting background. In doing the actual makeup I ended up deciding to move the stitches - though I absolutely love Rick's placement of them I thought they'd end up getting lost in my shadowed areas so instead I let run parallel to the black and then follow the contour lines on the nose. The whole thing was so much fun to do and has already given me a tidy little stack of ideas for future shoots :D
A quick scan through my recent (and not so recent) blog entries has led to the realization that I seem to have forgotten to share a few things from the summer with you lovely folk.... The first of these being the awesome video of Happy Slap Boutique at this years Kendall Calling festival made by the wonderful wizards of Fresh Cut Media! There should be a couple more videos heading your way in the near future - one showcasing Happy Slap Boutique's venue: 'El Espactaculo Esqueleto' at Boomtown Festival and another recent collaboration with Fresh Cut which we managed to shoot a couple days before I headed back to Australia... Oh yes - there's another thing I forgot to mention - I'm back in Australia!!!! Right now I'm busy making pieces for another creative collaboration with the glorious Donatella Parisini which will be closely followed by my return to Melbourne - just in time for Halloween!!!
A few months ago I teamed up with the divine Donatella Parisini at her studio for a creative play day at her amazing studio in Suffolk Park near Byron Bay. As my Dia de los Muertos wig was hanging around waiting for some love I decided to utilize it for the shoot and at the same time try out a couple of ideas that I wanted to integrate into the makeup. Big thanks yous to everyone who donated their time to us that day - especially Kali and Donatella's beautiful daughter who modeled for us in this particular shoot :)
At the start of the year I set up an Appeal page with the aim of finding out how many people out there were being affected by the censorship of bodypainting on the world's most well known social platform and to try and gain support for something that is a large and very important part of my life. Support has been growing steadily and it has become apparent that this is an issue which is deeply affecting artists, photographers, models and appreciators alike. It is very upsetting when work is flagged and removed - especially as the vast majority of this work is quite obviously a long way away from being pornographic in intent or practice and it is work which is greatly important to those who post it. Recently we've seen a huge increase in the amount of photos and pages being reported as even pages celebrating the cream of the crop, such as The World Bodypainting Festival's official page, have been flagged, removed and their users blocked for up to a month. It has become quite apparent that we are in the midst of a subjective war against bodypainting and many, myself included, recognize the possibility of a personal nature to this attack on a beautiful art-form that celebrates the human form rather than sexualizing it.
The latest development on this front is that even links to articles on the topic of body painting are being removed - this morning from the Appeal page itself - and my wonderful new joint admin Karin Sprietzer has found herself blocked from her account for the next 30 days for posting them. True, the articles contained degrees of nudity - however as external links shouldn't a line should be drawn on their censorship? One is from an online newspaper... so nipples are ok for the news but not for social media? C'mon....
As it now seems too risky to repost these on our Appeal page - something I am trying to run with the utmost tact and diplomacy - I have decided to repost the links here instead so all your wonderful people still have access to the information. The first regards the work of the Danish politicians who are currently in talks with Apple and Facebook in regards to their nudity policy and can be found by clicking HERE. The second is an article specifically about Facebook censorship by War Paint Mag and can be found by clicking HERE.
This year's Boomtown Fair was once again an undeniably epic weekend of magical mayhem which I again spent working with Happy Slap Boutique. This year we moved from the chill out field into the city's new Latin Quarter aptly named 'El Barrio Loco', an area with a "fearsome reputation as the most full on party in town." To merge in nicely with the Mexican theme we presented Él Espactaculo Esquelto'' - a Day of the Dead themed skeleton sideshow which culminated in our biggest ever bodypainting project on the Sunday where a multitude of Happy Slappers got involved to produced seven skeleton bodypaints! For this skeleton extravaganza I painted the wonderful Miss Lizzie West who also posed as my canvas at last year's Boomtown and did a wonderful job of modeling both the bodypainting and the Die de los Muertos wig I made earlier in the year. The day before I also collaborated with Grace McComisky on a skeleton mermaid bodypaint that was done as a live performance on the stage of our venue during the day, modelled by the wonderful Gemma Hayley Daubney. A HUGE thank you to Scott Salt for all of his amazing work behind the camera - you sir are a legend!
More photos of the wonderful weekend with Happy Slap Boutique at Kendall Calling, courtesy of the wonderful Mr Michael Marks :D
Summer in England means one thing above all else - madness, mayhem and serious creative indulgence with the one and only Happy Slap Boutique!! We started the season at Kendall Calling - a lovely little festival near the divinely lush lake district - where we spent an absolutely beautiful weekend fully embracing the horror genre to accommodate this years movie based fancy dress theme. My fairly obvious love of circus imagery was fully indulged over the course of the weekend and culminated in an evil clown bodypainting which my fantastic model Delia fully rocked on stage on the Sunday night. A huge huge thank you to the entire Happy Slap family - especially to one Mr Michael Marks who is without a doubt the most amazingly committed photographer I've ever worked with at a festival - absolute legend!!!!!
For more photos of the weekend, including some beauties of our performers in action check out Happy Slap Boutique, and I'll have more photos from Kendall and our skeleton extravaganza at Boomtown coming your way very very sooon....