The 2nd Annual New Mexico Bodypainting Festival
The second annual U.S. Bodypainting Festival was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Septermber 19th-22nd. I was honored to take part again this year as an instructor and I was blessed to have the opportunity meet so many new friends and hang out with old aquaintences. Familiar faces from last year included Pashur (www.CanvasAlive.com), the Wolfe Brothers (www.WolfeFX.com), Erika Harrison (www.AmerikanBodyArt.com), and of course Pam Trent (www.WayWickedArt.com) and Mark Reid (www.MarkReidArt.com) as producers. New to the production team this year was Loretta Kava (www.extremefaceart.com) who was a contestant last year and Stephanie Dalvit (www.IllusionArtistry.net) who everyone seemed enamoured with (me included).
I shared a room this year with two bodypainters that I had never met, but whose work I had admired on the internet: Craig Tracy (www.paintedalive.com) from New Orleans and John Vargas (www.bodypaintusa.com) from New York. They are both very accomplished artists and we typically stayed up until 3AM at the bar or in the room sharing our personal accomplishments and horror stories. I also hung out with artist Dawn marie who was at the convention teaching some cool techniques to use liquid latex for glittery masks.
DAY 1 (Thursday)
I actually arrived on Wednesday night and spent most of the evening in the bar chatting with everyone. I didn't have to teach classes on Thursday so I stayed up pretty late. In the morning I did get up early enough to catch some classes including Pashur, Stephanie, the Wolfe Brothers, and after a lunch break, Craig Tracy's presentation. I'm brought to these conventions to teach but I also come to the conventions to learn. These instructors are world class and it blows my mind that these classes and conventions aren't better attended. The fullest class was Craig Tracy's and there were about 25 people there.
I had encouraged Erin Glover (http://bodyart.firepixie.com/about.html) to come to the event to be my model and I'm so glad that she decided to make the trek from San Francisco. For opening night I painted her as the Phantom of the Opera. The hotel was mostly decorated with a Southwest motif, but I was fortunate to find a mirror that had a gothic look to it for the photoshoot. I airbrushed the outfit with Mehron (and just a hint of Temptu's gun metal bodypaint) and the mask was hand painted with Wolfe Brothers paints (with a touch of airbrushed Mehron for the shadowing).
The night was topped off with a lengthy philosophical discussion on the definition of "an artist" with my roomates.
Day 2 (Friday)
I was barely up in time for my 10AM class. Vargas and I both had classes at the same time each day so we didn't have the opportunity to see each other's demos. We did get to slam down a super-fast breakfast together each day though. There were a few models that didn't show up for the event that were confirmed and unfortunately one of them was supposed to be in my class. Fortunately I was able to track down Erin to be painted again. This class was on bodypainting textures. I divided Erin's torso with a body art marker and proceeded to paint the following textures: peacock feathers, alien skin, lace, bricks, scales, bark, eagle feathers, mesh, curtains, and somebody wanted to see a sunset. This picture wasn't meant to be a final image, but it's kind of a fun picture of Erin being a human sketch pad.
Late that afternoon, all of the contestants began to prepare for the semi-final competition. I had an idea that I was going to paint if a model was available. I told Erin the idea, but I let her know that she was welcome to get painted by someone else so that I didn't use up all of her modeling time. She spoke with one other artist but opted out since his painting would take four hours and my idea would only take about 10 minutes. With several hours to kill, I asked Erin if she wanted to delve into her bodypainting kit and paint my face. I did, of course, come to the convention prepared to make the most of the "Halloween" theme.
Erin had never applied prosthetic appliances, but with a few brief instructions from me, she quickly became a pro. This was the same foam latex vampire prosthetics that I wore for last Halloween as Enkil. I showed Erin my Ankh shirt that I planned to wear to the event and then gave her complete artistic license to paint my face. She used Paradise and Wolfe Brothers paints that really complimented the shirt. She wouldn't let me see it until she was finished and I was thrilled with the results. I had never been painted by someone else before and I must admit that it is an exceptionally cool experience. For the final touches, I put in fangs and yellow eye contacts and Erin painted the rest of my teeth to look sharp.
With about 15 minutes to go before showtime, I started Erin's "bodypainting" which was a very simple homage to Stephen King's Carrie. I bought the dress at a thrift shop and threw red paint on it at last year's Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival, but my model for that event never showed up. I thought the idea was appropriate here so I brought the dress along. All that was left to do was to pour a little theatrical stage blood on Erin's head and arms and the painting was complete.
Photographers Pat Berrett and Fenton Ayers had set up a photography studio like last year so we both took the opportunity to get our pictures taken. By this point in the day I had gone through two Heinekens, a bloody mary, a glass of wine, and a shot of tequila. During the photoshoot, therefore, it seemed completely sane to drink some of the mint flavored stage blood. This really got me into character (maybe the previous drinks had something to do with it too). During the semi-finals I stood backstage with all of the painted models and thier dedicated artists. The bodypaintings were all very good and there was a plethora of cool ideas. When it was our turn to go on stage, I let my inner child out and took the stage like a madman and let the stage blood froth from my mouth. People said it looked good and totally discusting... and it was good!
Day 3 (Saturday)
Again I stayed up way too late so I barely made it to my class in time. Saturday's class was my liquid latex class and I had planned to paint the red leather outfit worn by Michael Jackson in the Thriller video. As fate would have it, my model must have partied even later than I did the night before and she was a no-show. I was mostly disappointed because Maximum Impact brand of liquid latex had sponsored my class and provided samples for each of the students. I still did the class and painted latex on several of the students arms while demonstrating the possibilities of latex, shimmer powder, and ultra-shine. After my class, I popped in on Dawn-Marie's class who was also demonstrating liquid latex. She made an outstanding mask and decorated it with beautifully irridescent glitters.
Around 4PM it was time to start preparing for the US Bodypainting Competition. As an instructor, I was not competing, but all of the instructors are welcome to complete bodypaintings for show only in the final event. My model once again was Erin and this was the specific project that I had asked her to come down and model for. The image was to be of the mythological bombshell Medusa. In preparing for this project, I bought a foam latex witch prosthetic mask and contacted Sophia and Lorenzo, the wig and hairstyle artisans from last year's event, to see if they could create a Medusa wig. I designed the costume loosely based on my recollection of the Medusa character in the movie Clash of the Titans. I planned to paint her with the green skin and gold armor. The armor reminded me that I had saved two metal cones that were left over from a ceiling fan kit that I had installed. These made some very cool pasties with a little help from mole's skin and prosaid glue.
After applying the witches face on Erin, she took a turn and painted my face like Gene Simmons of Kiss. I knew this would lead to another opportunity to spit stage blood.
Next, painted up like Kiss, I returned to painting Erin. I had picked up a very cool metallic moss green from Joe Korts at the Kryolan booth in the vendors room. I decided this would be the color for Medusa. In addition to the Kryolan paint I also used Wolfe Brothers for the gold and Reel Creations paint for the airbrushed texturing. Once she was all painted, we both strolled over to Sophia and Lorenzo's hair studio. I was fitted with a 10-inch tall black rock & roll wig. She was fitted with her custom Medusa wig which was absolutely stellar! The snakes actually moved with her movements and they sprouted out in all directions. Pat came through with a bone staff that was the icing on the cake for the photoshoot (thanks Pat).
I must confess that I was so involved in my bodypainting that I really didn't get to see many of the other paintings that night. I did see Vargas's painting and she really looked great and I also saw the Wolfe's female version of Freddy Kruger which was awesome. After the staged competition, I did a short photoshoot with Erin's Medusa both in the studio and outside with her fire wands (Erin is an accomplished fire dancer, check out her site at http://fire.firepixie.com/ ). Here are a few more of the shots with Erin.
Specifications: For this project I used Badger
Airbrushes and Compressors, Reel
Creations, Kryolan, and Mehron bodypaints for all airbrush applications, and Wolfe
Brothers and Kryolan paints for all detailed brushwork.
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