Everyone involved agreed that Bodyssey 2009 was a huge success. This was the first year for this annual bodypainting convention and it was held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, eh! The event was organized by Marion Brown and Pashur and it took place at the Sheraton Parkway Hotel & Convention Centre in Richmond Hill, Ontario. It was like a family reunion for several of us body artists on the bodypainting circuit like Nick & Brian Wolfe, Vargas, Nick Herrera, Pashur, Mark Reid, Jinny, Gary Cole, and Erika Harrison. I had the great pleasure of meeting a few other big names whose work I have admired, but I'd never had the opportunity of meeting such as Sean Avram, Alex Hanson, and Lucie Brouillard. Sadly the weekend flew by so fast that I barely had time to meet the other instructors Anabel Vargas, Cathy Corbett, Dorota Buczel, Karen Dance, Larissa Reinders, Liz Mortlock, Jenniver Del Campo, and Rebecca T. Here is my personal daily journal of the festivities of each day.
DAY 1 - INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL
After a marathon day of flying from Phoenix to Buffalo, NY and then driving to Toronto, I arrived at the hotel late Thursday evening. Before crossing the US/Canada border we stopped at the Duty Free Store where I bought a bottle of Cuervo (more on that later). Several of the convention attendees made their way over to a local bar called Fox & Fiddle for drinks and socializing. There I met Jana from Vermont and Kim from Michigan and also the lovely bodypainting models Elsie and Kristine.
DAY 2 - FIRE AND ZOMBIES
Friday started off with a bodypainting jam in the large ballroom. Sean Avram had been painting a robot motif on model Amanda Posie. I was told that Sean would be the one to talk to about securing a model so i introduced myself. If you haven't seen Sean's work yet, Google his name to check it out now. He is fantastic! Sean introduced me to Jasmin who is one of the three models that make up the Canadian flag bodypainting logo for the Canadian Association of Face and Body Artists. I asked if she was ready to be painted and I started brainstorming ideas for the painting. I was proudly sporting my T-shirt of the Arizona Cardinals football team that went to the Superbowl this year and I noted that Jasmin was sporting some intense red hair. Those two features led me to come up with a theme of a rising Phoenix. Most of the painting was done with sponges using Wolfe FX paints while some of the details and smoothing was accomplished using regular brushes. I used Mehron liquid make-up for the face makeup and for the additional shadowing effects on the body. Once complete, we proceeded to the photography studio where she was photographed by John Ratchford, whose work ethic and results were truly top-notch. Here is one of his shots of Jasmin's Rising Phoenix.
While in the studio, Amanda was next to be photographed with Sean's robot painting. I told her that I would be interested in working with her at some point in the convention and as fate would have it, we proceeded to do three projects together. The first project was the Friday night Zombie Crawl sponsored by Rue Morgue Magazine. Amanda already had the erie blue contact lenses which were an essential part of the look and then I got to apply some of the techniques I have been developing with the Marvel Zombie projects. I used Maximum Impact liquid latex for most of the effects. I learned the technique for the ripped open wounds at Rosie's UK Bodypainting Convention and they worked out great here. I used Mehron tooth paint to "muck-up" her teeth and I used a Metamorph Buise Wheel for the reds and blues in the wounds. I purposely avoided using white and black for this project because I've had some dissappointing results before when everything seemed to turn gray. Instead I used Wolfe FX yellow and brown for the base coat using a faux finish technique with a sponge. The finishing touch was airbrushing purple veins over her body with Mehron liquid makeup. Off to the photo studio we "crawled" and Ratchford took this shot while the mint flavored stage blood drooled out of her mouth.
I made myself up as a zombie too for the crawl by reusing the bald cap that I wore for Halloween. Add the yellow contacts and the painted teeth and Amanda and I looked like zombie brother and sister. Amanda won second place for the "Best Zombie" award. Here is a shot of us before we and the other zombies invaded two local night clubs.
DAY 3 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME
My birthday...yeah me! My first class was called Bodypainting Swimsuits and Amanda volunteered again to be my model. All classes were limited to 45 minutes which was pretty tough to set up, teach, and complete a quality body art project. Luckily I was able to complete it in 47 minutes. For this project I used alcohol-based Reel Creations black and gold paint through a Badger Airbrush and Compressor. The thin black lines were painted on by brush with Wolfe FX paints and the shadows were done with airbrush. Here is a shot of Amanda's swimsuit from the class.
Next up was my entry for the soon-to-be-famous Bodyssey Bodypainting Competition. The award was $1200 and everyone was "in it to win it"! The theme was "Mystery & Disguise" and the judging criteria was Creativity-15%, Originality-15%, Theme Interpretation-15%, Application Technique-15%, Color Scheme-15%, Harmony of Design-15%, and Difficulty Level-10%. The rules were quite lengthy, but generally stated that the model had to be completely covered in paint and no props, prosthetics, or headresses were allowed at the judging stage. My concept was a dynamic painting that featured a pair of white faces on the upper torso and an array of masks on the arms that could be placed over the painted faces or the model's real face. In all, I counted 32 possible disguises that could be produced with this painting and Amanda did a phenominal job of working them out for the judges. There were 26 incredible paintings entered in the competition and although I had a hunch that I could conceivable win, the competition was stiff and I had to settle for sixth place. First and second place went to Lucie Brouillard and Nick Herrera who are both highly skilled artisans. Here a shot of Amanda with the painting I entitled One Thousand Faces.
The party continued on through the evening with a live band and Pashur took me on stage to have the whole ballroom of people sing Happy Birthday to me and present a huge birthday card to me (Compliments of Lori A. Solojuk). That was really cool! Thanks everyone. The next part of the evening starts with that bottle of tequila that I mentioned earlier and unfortunately everything gets a little "fuzzy" after that until...
DAY 4 - ALIEN INVASION
It's 9:50am. My roommate, Sean Avram, says wake up dude, your teaching a class in 10 minutes. The good thing was that I didn't have a hangover. The bad thing was that I was still inebriated. Somehow I was able to shower and get to the class only a couple of minutes late. I'll take this opportunity to formally apologize to anyone in the class if I may have been slurring a little bit. An even bigger apology goes out to Reena. She is absoutely gorgeous and this was my only shot that I had at working with her. The goal was to paint a leather jacket on her using black liquid latex by Maximum Impact. In 45 minutes I was only able to get the base coat covered and demonstrate using a shimmer powder and attaching leather studs. After that, time was up and I had to move on to my next class and Reena had to remove the paint so she could model for her next class. Here is a picture of Reena in the uncompleted leather jacket that was taken by artist Denny Guinn who was attending my class.
My next class was called Marketing for Bodypainters and in this class I listed the top 9 marketing tips (it would have been 10 if I hadn't left my notes in the room). For this class, 45 minutes seemed about right to cover my main points. I think the class was well received and everyone was able to share in the discussion. Obviously I don't have any pictures from that class either.
Next I had some time on my hands to attend two classes. The first was Alex Hanson's advance airbrushing class which was very informative. The second was Nick Hererra's class on 3D bodypaintings with UV paints. This was one of my top highlights of Bodyssey 2009 and I am already planning my first 3D project for an upcoming sci-fi convention.
The last class of the convention was a Q&A panel of the pro bodypainters. The panel included Pashur, Brian Wolfe, Mark Reid, Nick Hererra, Sean Avram, and myself. This was a lot of fun and the audience was very entertained by a lot of our responses. Everyone on the panel has a great sense of humor and we fielded every question until they ran out. After the panel I hung out in the vendor room for a little while and bought a few necessities. I stopped at the Amerikan Body Art booth and I think I'm going to try my hand at doing henna sometime soon. At the closing of the vendor room, there was a massive raffle of some really incredible stuff. I donated two 2009 calendars to the cause.
I was completely exhausted by this point, but there was one more event to prepare for called the Alien Invasion. I tried to find a model to paint, but most of them had left the convention and a few that were around either had costumes already or were just completely exhausted from being painted all weekend. So the model I turned to as a last resort was me. Again using Maximum Impact liquid latex and cotton I built up some spine like bones on my nose and forehead. I next applied collodian on my cheeks to make vertical scars. My hair was painted metallic green with some new paint I bought from Marion's About Face Make-up booth called Diamond FX. I also painted my face with Diamond FX blue and then faux finished it with some white Wolfe FX. The finishing touches for this painting was a new pair of blue eye contacts that I bought and the Morlock fangs that I wore for Halloween. Here is a shot of this painting.
DAY 5 - THE ROAD HOME
The morning was filled with good-byes to everyone and discussions about the memories of Bodyssey 2009 and the plans for the future. I was able to take a brief moment to chat with Jinny and Erika and several of the attendees that I had grown to know. I'm writing this whole disertation of the event as I am flying home to Phoenix. I hear that next year's event is being planned for Calgary. I hope to be involved again. Here is a shot of a lot of the bodypainters together in the bar...where else would be?
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