The Crown Vox Experience

A little over a year ago I got a friend request on Facebook. As I do with all friend requests to weed out spam accounts I messaged them and asked if we had ever met. They told me that they liked my work and that someday they would like to work together.  Her name is Jennifer Burris, also known as Crown Vox which is her stage persona.  I had been contacted by musicians and other performers before and it never really pans out so I didn’t really give it a second thought at first.

I looked through her promotional type photos and they really fit with the aesthetic I like. I then listened to her music and I was blown away. I can’t describe the music other than to say it has a dark ethereal quality to it and fit the imagery perfectly. I knew then I had to do her makeup. With her living so far away I didn’t think it would ever really happen. I maintained communication just in case she came through on tour we could set something up.

When we finally got a chance to work together nearly a year to the day after our first contact she told me about her up coming launch show The Crown Vox Experience. She described it as an all immersive experience with dancers, models, fashion, and artists. It sounded so cool and I really just wanted to see the spectacle. I jokingly asked if she had anyone to do makeup for the event. Not that I thought I would be able to do it anyhow considering the distance. She told me she already had someone which I kind of figured anyhow. We finished up the shoot and hung out and drank bourbon because when you’re in Kentucky that’s what you do.

About a month or so after the shoot, Jennifer asked if she could call me. I was afraid she wanted to talk about not liking the photos from our shoot. I told her I could call her that evening and I was anticipating the worst. Later that evening I called her and she asked if I wanted to come to do the makeup for her launch show; The Crown Vox Experience. I don’t know if I even let her get the full sentence out before I said yes.

I would not only be doing her makeup but the makeup for all six of the models plus a live body paint on a hoop dancer. That’s a lot of makeup to do in one day but I take all challenges. We talked about different looks. Some of the looks were super dramatic with different styles of Blade Runner (Pris) esque makeups. Knowing all of my makeup would have to be able to fit in a carry on luckily we went with a simplified look. We decided on a reddish smoky eye and a more muted lip with contour and gold highlight. I would add gold flake and a darker defined lip to Jennifer’s Crown Vox Look. Jennifer said she would leave the body paint up to me which I was excited about.

I Stripped out my smallest kit and rebuilt it for the show looks so it would fit as a carry on because I didn’t trust checking my makeup. After going through TSA and getting felt up pretty good I was on my way to Memphis, with a stop in Atlanta which is where I ran into an issue. I was flying standby and as it turns out it was the start of Elvis week in Memphis. Needless to say I got bumped. Jennifer’s husband Michael who arranged my travel was afraid if I waited to catch a flight in the morning and I got bumped again I wouldn’t make it in time and we couldn't risk that. There is a lot more to this part of the story but I got a rental car at 11pm and started my six hour drive to Memphis.

After a couple hours of sleep it was time to wake up and get my bearings before starting makeup at noon. I set up a makeup station to get myself ready for what I assumed would be a melee of makeup. People started trickling in to get there makeup done. Knowing I had a ton of work ahead of me Jennifer got an assistant for me for the day named Meredith Shaw. I can be a bit of a control freak and have rarely ever had an assistant. However I knew this would be too much for me to handle on my own and maintain quality work. I had Meredith start applying foundation to the models so I could focus on the eyes, lips, contour and highlight. Having Meredith there proved to be very valuable. She did a great job and I would work with her again.

After I finished up Jennifer’s makeup last I packed up my kit and headed over to the venue. The event was being held at the historic and amazing Clayborn Temple. It was a beautifully interesting place and perfect for the feel of this show. It was ornate but in disrepair in spots which made it that much cooler looking and fitting. I wanted the body paint to tie into Crown Vox and the space so I decided to do a half skull on her face like in the Crown Vox logo. I then wanted some refined gold geometric shaped surrounded by chaos.

Jennifer set me up right in the middle so I would be the first thing people saw when they walked in. The clock struck eight and the doors opened with the opening act Epps Music performing which was amazing and kind of reminded me of Coco Rosie. Ellen Phillips, the hoop dancer I was painting kind gave each other a look as if to say “here we go” as people poured in around us and I continued painting. I was very happy with the way she turned out and I felt it really fit the vibe of the show.

The models were stationed almost as guards around the venue in designs by the amazing Siss Viss and hair done by Laveau hair studio.  The clothing designs fit the feel of the venue and show perfectly and really transported you into another place. Jennifer aka Crown Vox started her performance in the balcony behind and above the audience. With her beautiful voice filling the temple she strolled along to the stage in a beautifully designed dress by Siss Viss with a crown by Louisville Designer Frances Lewis helping set the mood. As she sang the models stood in formation in balconies in eye sight looking over the audience. I haven’t seen a concert like this ever because the Crown Vox Experience was so much more than just a concert.

I am so happy I got to be a part of this. Watching my body paint perform and my makeups add to the overall feel of the experience was amazing and so fulfilling. I guess the main take away from this is just because something doesn’t happen right away doesn’t mean it won’t. If you are patient sometimes things pay off far better than you could have ever expected. I met so many cool people and I really hope to do this again sometime.

Twin Cheeks

A handful of makeup artists and me do these makeup challenges. There are no winners and no losers just creativity and art. We get an inspiration image and then we have just under a week to produce something cool inspired by it. We haven’t done a makeup challenge in a while so when I was told we were going to do a new one I was torn because I never back down from a challenge. With that said I was so busy this time around that I didn’t think I would have time. It has happened before where I said I was too busy but the inspiration image was just too cool I did it anyhow. I had no intentions in participating regardless of how cool I thought the inspiration image was.

 Last November I did makeup for a fashion show and two of the models walking were twins. I didn’t get a chance to talk to them at the time and couldn’t find them on social media so I kind of gave up. The same day I found out we were doing another challenge I just happened across one of the twins and was quickly able to find the other. Their names are Avery and Mallory Grant and they have such a strong look even as single standalone models. The fact there are two of them is just a bonus. As I was talking to the Grant twins the makeup challenge inspiration image was posted. This time around it was actually a picture of a face in abstract makeup. Usually the image isn’t even of a face, let alone distinct makeup. It struck me it would be really cool to do a similar look spanning two identical faces.

Inspiration Image: Artist Unknown

Inspiration Image: Artist Unknown

With an idea in my head I asked the Grants if they would be interested. Using twins was the only way I was going to do it so if they declined I wasn’t going to participate. As I say that but I probably still would have. It wouldn’t be a makeup challenge without my good buddy Danny Alexander shooting it so I asked if would. Lucky for me he said yes and with that I had a great team of people and it was a go.

I did a pretty basic beauty makeup on Avery and Mallory. It was interesting to do the makeup and then turning around and doing the same makeup on the same contours and everything. My plan for a pose was them standing hip to hip with their faces looking somewhat towards each other at a 45 degree angle to get a three quarter look at opposing sides of their faces. I had them stand together so I could get the composition of the abstract portion to plow from one face to another.

Mallory and Avery Grant. Photo By Danny Alexander

Mallory and Avery Grant. Photo By Danny Alexander

Getting them in front of the camera in the pose was a different story. In that pose there was just too much space between the faces. We had the sisters get uncomfortably close but the gap still took you out of it. To Danny’s credit he suggested a pose where Mallory would be in profile and Avery would be behind her looking straight on as her sister’s face intersected her. I had the models stand in position and tweaked the abstract portion a bit to maintain the flow. Then when they got in front of the camera it just clicked, pardon the pun.

I love all of the makeup challenged we have done together but this may be my favorite. I almost counted myself out of this one and I am so glad I didn’t. Just because you are busy doesn’t mean you can’t carve out time for the things you love.

Me with Mallory and Avery Grant. Photo By Danny Alexander

Me with Mallory and Avery Grant. Photo By Danny Alexander

Ghouble Gum

In this industry making good connections is so important and more often than not leads to other opportunities. I did makeup on a fashion photo shoot with an amazing team a while back in Louisville, ky. Like me, our model Melanie Smith is a makeup artist in a haunted attraction. Her makeup manager at her haunt is none other than Aryn Fox from Skin Wars. I was happy to just be doing beauty makeup on Melanie because I don’t feel my body paint is anywhere near as good as Aryn’s work. Granted her style of body paint is just a different style than mine. She is definitely an artist I look up to though.

Towards the end of the shoot Melanie told me about this Gallery Hop that was happening in Lexington, Ky. Three O Studio was doing a nude photography exhibit and wanted to do something a little different to bring people in. They thought a live body painting would go well with the photos they were displaying. Melanie asked if I would be interested in doing the body paint. I don’t know if she waited until meeting me and working with me to ask and see if we got along first or it had just slipped her mind up to that point. I wouldn’t blame her for either. Her having worked with an amazing talent like Aryn Fox was definitely intimidating. With that said painting for a live audience was intriguing.

“I’ve been a body paint model numerous times, and most of them have been live paints. So walking into the studio, knowing that people would be stairing at me during the entire process, was just like another day at work for me. I had also worked with Matt before so I knew we would have a blast.” -Melanie Smith

Photo By Jim Calabrese

Photo By Jim Calabrese

After talking to Bill Cole the organizer I accepted the job. Other than doing the body paint live there was a huge catch. We wanted photographers in attendance to be able to have some time to shoot the final piece. In doing so I would only have about two and a half hours to complete the body paint live all the while people talking to me and asking me questions. I like a good challenge but I felt I had bit off a bit more than I could chew. I have felt that way before though and I have yet to not have it turn out well.

I was given free reign to paint whatever subject matter I pleased. Being given creative freedom was another reason I was interested in this job. I decided I would go with something abstract. It would be simple yet dynamic. With it being abstract no one would be able to see if anything was wrong because there would be no frame of reference.  Not to mention if I screwed up at all I could work it into the finished work. Plus I love doing more abstract type work so I saw it as a win win.

Two days before the event I was sitting on my couch and I just started flipping through a coffee table book I have “Goth-Icky”. It’s a picture book filled with retro pop art Halloween designs by Charles S. Anderson Design Company. If you are a fan of Halloween I highly recommend it. Looking through the art work in the book it struck me. My model Melanie and I both love Halloween and doing something in that theme would be really cool. When I was painting more canvas I did a lot of cell shaded type pop art zombies and monsters so I was excited.

Since it was so late when the pop Halloween idea struck me I slept on it. The next day I starting sketching it out with a yellow high lighter and then refined the sketches with black marker. I would then run the sketches through a copy machine which would not copy the highlighter and leave me with just the black. I just kept doing that process until I got it right. Given the subject matter I knew people would expect more Halloween horror type colors like oranges, reds, purples, blacks and greys. I love all those colors and they were all my first instinct as well so that is exactly why I didn’t want to do it. I chose a kind of bubble gum and cotton candy color scheme using pinks and blues.

Pinks and blues aren’t typically a pallet I work with so I was hoping it would look cool because I had not sketched it out in full color. I talked it over with Melanie when she showed up to the event and she was totally game.

“I loved the concept Matt had come up with. We both work at different haunted houses and have a general love for all things creepy and Halloween. So when he explained we would be doing a vampire-esque paint I was all for it.” –Melanie Smith

Photo By Dusty Dunaway

Photo By Dusty Dunaway

Melanie is so easy going I think I could have told her I was going to paint her like a farm animal and she would have been game. I didn't want to use a stencil so I took my drawing of the head which was the right size for her body and I poked some holes in it. I poked the holes in the eyes, the teeth and the windows of the castle.  I then placed it on her where I wanted it and painted through the holes on to her giving myself guidelines. Starting with the white and working my way to using the black last was strange in front of a live audience. I knew that the black paint at the end is what was going to pull it all together but the on lookers didn’t know that. It did bother me a little bit when people would show up and leave only seeing the white, blue and pink blobbed on before it really looked like anything. I was very happy with the finished piece and wish the people that left early would have stayed to see it.

 

Photo By Jim Calabrese

Photo By Jim Calabrese

“I love modeling paint because I am able to bring life to someone’s work. These artists spend hours on each paint, so I want to be sure to represent that character or theme to the best of my ability. But what was so cool about this paint was that it was already me. This piece had “me” written all over it: from the colors, to the design, to the crazy wild hair. It was so much fun to bring out that side of myself!” –Melanie Smith

Photo By Dusty Dunaway

Photo By Dusty Dunaway

Photo By Dusty Dunaway

Photo By Dusty Dunaway

 I felt it very much fit my personality andMelanie’s as well. She seemed to really like the final look which is what I was going for. I knew if she was happy with it having worked with great artists before me I knew I had done a good job.

Every opportunity no matter how big or small can lead to your next great thing. Weather that opportunity be creative freedom, money, fulfillment or whatever just keep pushing forward. I’m not saying do things you have no interest in but do things out of your comfort zone that challenge and scare you. If you don’t learn or take something away from every gig you do you’re not paying attention.

Photo By Jim Calabrese

Photo By Jim Calabrese

Coming Clean

This is the third of the makeup challenges that Bethany Hood has given her fellow makeup artist friends. The image this time was picked by designer Gunnar Detherage. Knowing what I know of his style I didn’t expect so many bright, almost neon colors. I have enjoyed these challenges so far so I thought I would give this one a shot. I contacted a model for the shoot and my good friend and photographer Danny Alexander and wheels were set in motion. Now I just needed to settle on an idea. With all of the colors and textures I had a few concepts rolling around in my head.

An hour or so before the makeup application and shoot the model messaged me and after some texts back and forth we determined that she would not be able to make the shoot. The image had to be done by the next day so there was no time to reschedule. There was also no time to find a replacement model. I was scrambling trying to think of what to do. Instead of canceling and I decided to shave my face and chest and do the makeup on myself. I’m no model but that's why it's called a challenge.

I know it is strange for a makeup artist but not only do I not wear makeup but I hate wearing it. I think it goes back to when I was a kid. I had really bad acne and was embarrassed by it. One day I decided to hide it and use some of my mom’s makeup. I covered up all the redness with some of her Covergirl concealer and a powder compact. I didn’t like the way it felt on my skin but I thought it looked better than all of my blemishes. It was like I had discovered a magic trick. This went on for several weeks at least if not much longer. It was over the summer when I started so I didn’t have to worry about the other kids at school.  I thought it was working and no one was noticing.

 I don’t know why I didn’t think the other kids wouldn’t notice when school started because they most definitely did. I denied it until I was blue in the face but after another kid snatched off my baseball hat the makeup ring in the inner band was a dead giveaway. I never fessed up and they knew I was lying. I knew they knew I was lying but I couldn’t come clean. I gradually stepped it down because I didn’t want to be obvious. Eventually I stopped wearing it and soon the kids moved on to something else. I should have come clean and owned it. With that said, kids that age will make up reasons to pick on each other and I didn’t want to give them any more ammunition. I walked on eggshells and probably joined in on picking on others to deflect attention from myself which just made me feel worse.

Three schools, two states and several years later doing a play in high school we had to wear makeup. I was the only guy in the production that had any knowledge of how to apply foundation. I ended up helping all of the other guys in the play and was appreciated for it. When asked how I kind of knew what I was doing I chalked it up to the fact that I took art and painted as well. Part of me knew it was because I wore my mom’s makeup when I was 11 or 12. To a bunch of drama kids me wearing makeup when I was in middle school would have just been another story about how we were all “outsiders” and it would have been expected and embraced. It would have been the perfect opportunity to come clean and bond with my fellow actors but I didn’t. Even as an adult doing makeup I’ve still never shared this story with anyone. This is the first time I have really come clean about it so if you are reading this blog, now you know.

Back to the subject at hand; I explained to Danny how we no longer had a model and I would be doing my own makeup. Danny wasn't phased by the change and didn’t miss a beat. I changed a few things to make it fit my face a bit better. I decided to throw in some contacts and the makeup went from pretty to creepy really quick. I still don’t like wearing makeup but I am happy with the way this one worked out. The most important thing I hope you take away from reading this is just be you. Don’t care what others think and own who you are. Chances are someone is going through something similar and can relate. I know that’s easy for me to say now but had I listened to this advice as a kid maybe I would be a lot further along than I am in a career in makeup. Support your passions and surround yourself with others that support them as well.

Danny Alexander: http://www.dannypa.com/

https://www.crownbrush.com/

https://www.wonderbandsystems.com/

Abstract Makeup Challenge

Right on the heels of the Mandarin Duck makeup challenge from my last blog makeup artist Bethany Hood issued another makeup inspiration challenge. When the image was sent out I was waiting on my oil was being changed. My first response was “No”. Having just done the previous challenge less than a week prior I thought I’d sit this one out. The oil change took forever and I just kept looking at the inspiration image. The more I looked at it the more I loved it and knew I had to do it.

What I saw in the image was a duality of being, living with your demons and the struggle within. Along with the stark color contrast of just black and white. For some reason going from “No” because I didn’t have time, turned into full body paint because I’m a glutton for punishment. I wanted to mimic the shape of the inspiration but instead of hands I wanted bodies. One pose I wanted somber and withdrawn while the other I wanted a primal scream. I knew model Bec E. Bien was the perfect model. I have body painted her before and I know how expressive her face can be and she just went for it. When asked to scream she let it out like a pro. That’s not just a pose she is actually screaming her lungs out and I think it adds to the authenticity. Every scream was followed with a smile and a slight giggle. Also, the amazing Matthew Tyldesley had just done her hair and it was perfect. We wanted it a bit manic so we put some sea salt spray in it and messed it up a bit. I just hope we didn’t mess up Matthew’s work too much.

Working with Danny Alexander is always a treat. I knew what I had in mind and how I saw it laid out. Danny has an amazing way of figuring out what is going on in my convoluted head and interprets it. I didn’t want the makeup edited as it was a challenge but I knew having all three figures on there would be a difficult in the time frame. Danny didn’t shy away from it and just nailed it. The one edit I did ask him to do was the nipples. The only pasties I will use for body paint are “Monster Pasties”. They are pretty amazing. They take paint like skin and are seamless. I didn’t have any and I had no time to order them.  I actually painted over the areola and blended it out. If it weren’t for the shadowed sundial effect of the lights you wouldn’t have seen them. There is only so much makeup can do. I am extremely happy with what we were able to pull off in such a short amount of time.

Mandarin Duck Challenge

As a way to help bring our artistic community together fellow makeup artist Bethany Hood decided to have a challenge. There were no winners and no losers.  This was just be a great way for people to show off their talent and creativity.  Bethany had an outside source pick an image that we would all have to use as inspiration and design our looks around.

The image that was picked was of a Mandarin Duck. They look like you gave a coloring book of ducks and a 64 color box of crayons to a kid and said go to town. The colors are so vivid and beautiful and blocked off. I had no idea what I was going to do. All I could see was the duck. I didn’t want to do feathers or anything birdlike, that much I knew. I struggled with it for a few days. I went back to look at the image of the duck and squinted my eyes really hard to try and take the bird out of the equation.

That seemed to do the trick. I decided to do a very abstract piece using as many different brush strokes and colors as were on the duck. Since I have never liked makeup on myself and the only camera I own is my phone I enlisted the help of some friends. I messaged my friend and great photographer Danny Alexander who I knew would capture the makeup the way I wanted. I then messaged my friend and Model Kaylynn Nyree. I felt her face would be beautiful for this look. While doing the makeup I would step back from time to time to make sure the color balance was right. The main thing I took from the duck was the white around the eyes. I thought that would make for a cool aesthetic. Since it was a makeup challenge the only editing I wanted Danny to do was making the sclera of her eyes black.  I was incredibly happy with how it came out.

Seeing all the makeups from all of the other artists was so cool. Everyone did such an amazing job. It was very interesting to see everyone’s interpretation of the same image. I cannot thank Bethany enough for doing something like this. It was such a cool way to bring a community together while fostering creativity.

Transworld HAAS 2017

I had been excited for Transworld ( http://www.haashow.com ) since we wrapped our Halloween season at the Devil's Attic. ( http://thedevilsattic.com ). For those of you that don't know Transworld HAAS is the largest Halloween and haunted house convention in America and it is located in Saint Louis. You see some amazingly creative macabre things. There is tons of stuff to buy from vendors from all across the country for your haunted attraction in one place.  If you just look around and use your imagination there is a lot of things to just be inspired by. I was talking with Michael Book who owns Louisville Halloween (  http://www.louisvillehalloween.com ) and Danger Run ( http://www.dangerrun.com ) about going to the trade show. Knowing how much I love European Body Art he suggested I ask them if they would want me to do a demo for them.

I kind of laughed it off because I know the caliber of artists they generally have at these types of things. Last year they had Nix Herrera and RJ Haddy. If you aren't familiar with them do yourself a favor and look them up. Both of them are amazing artists and competed on Face Off. I have followed them both and lets just say I am a fan. The more I sat on it the more I thought "All they can do is say no". I reached out to the sales rep Alden I work with at EBA expecting him to tell me that they have it covered.

Alden messaged me back telling me that the only artist they had this year was Nix and that he could probably use me for me for a demo. I was blown away, Not only would I get to do a demo, but I would be one of only two artists doing demos for them, the other being Nix Herrera.

Excitement changed to fear very quickly. I have never backed down from a challenge though, especially when I put myself in the situation in the first place. When opportunity knocks you answer and hopefully you can rise to the occasion. the first thing I did when I arrived in Saint Louis before I even unpacked my gear was head over to the convention center. I wanted to get a feel for the show because I still didn't know what I was going to do. I thought stopping by and seeing what Nix was up to would be a good idea.

Nix Herrera and I

Nix Herrera and I

Nix was doing some amazing stuff as I knew he would. I introduced myself to him and he was so gracious. He had just done an amazing zombie makeup. I kinda laughed and said "Well I guess I can't do a zombie now".  That's when he put me at ease. I can't remember his exact wording but he basically told me to do a zombie if I wanted. that of course our zombies would look different but that wasn't because he was better, but just that we were different artists. For some reason that calmed me down.

I talked to the model/actor I would be working on named Lucas Turner to get a feel for what we could do. Lucas is an actor at a Haunt called Phobius ( http://phobiushaunt.com ) about forty minutes outside of Saint Louis. He was a super nice guy and through talking with him I learned he loved the Joker and zombies. When I suggested I could maybe do a zombie Joker I could tell he was into it and with that said I now had a plan.

 

Me working on Lucas. Photo by Justin Sinkler.

Me working on Lucas. Photo by Justin Sinkler.

So there I was early Sunday morning on the last day of the convention. I had coffee coursing through me as I worked out of Nix's kit with my wonderband strapped on my arm loaded up with brushes from Crew 13 Productions. Once I got started I settled into my zone. I knew I was there to do a makeup. Alden had seen my work and knew what I was capable of. It was at that point I started to have fun with it. 

Me working on Lucas. Photo by Justin Sinkler.

Me working on Lucas. Photo by Justin Sinkler.

It also didn't hurt that talking to Lucas was like talking to an old friend. People were stopping by, buying product and taking photos of me working. it was such a cool experience. to say I love European Body Art is an understatement. it is the only product we use in the Devil's Attic makeup room. Even in the hot days of September our sweatiest actors can't sweat it off. It is just an amazing product and I am so proud I got to do a demo for them.

Of course Harley has to mark her territory.

Of course Harley has to mark her territory.

With Lucas being bald I thought that painted on hair would be something that a bald Joker would do as part of his makeup routine.

With Lucas being bald I thought that painted on hair would be something that a bald Joker would do as part of his makeup routine.

Needless to say Transworld was a great success! I couldn't have asked for a better experience. I was able to meet a ton of makeup artists that I admire. I could list them off but it would sound like name dropping. my final note would be to never count yourself out, never think you aren't good enough. You will never know if you don't ask and if they say yes it is your job to surpass expectations.

 

https://www.europeanbodyart.com/

https://www.wonderbandsystems.com/

https://www.crew13productions.com/

Contentment in Captivity

During Antonio's first photography workshop it was already a thought that we may do them quarterly. After the success of that class it cemented that idea. The first class was a "not so basic" lighting and editing class. We wanted to do something different for the next class, something with a little bit of a "wow" factor.

The idea was to do the hair and makeup, shoot the images, pick the images and then edit them together. That's right, edit them together because the next class would be how to create a composite image. Quite a large scale project to do in a class only three hours in length. We knew we had two models and a mannequin dress form. Antonio knew he wanted one of the models head's on the dress form.

Knowing that it would be silly to just throw a head on the mannequin with no story, we decided to meet over tacos and brainstorm.  The first idea was more for an 80's look. I was excited about doing that makeup and thought it could look really cool. However, the more we talked about it the more it didn't make sense with two models and the composite. In a moment of grasping at straws, I, having worked at a haunted house, blurted out "We could just have one model sewing the other model's head on to the mannequin's torso."

With that, Antonio's eyes lit up. HIs mind is just as twisted as mine and he suggested adding a pigs heart attached with wires to a car battery and the macabre list went on. Needles to say, we scaled back a bit. This completely changed the makeup look that would be needed for the workshop. Joey piped in to say "And Matt can do the severed head makeup." When I rattled off the idea that wasn't something that even crossed my mind. Now I would be doing not one, but two, beauty makeups and a severed head. Oh, and to prove that I am a glutton for punishment, I then suggested adding an eye patch and scar on the model that would be doing the sewing. Managing the makeup and spfx staff for the Devil's Attic haunted house for two years definitely helped in my ability for that amount of makeup application to be completed in such a short amount of time. 

We could have stuck with the 80's makeup but we took a different a route that just seemed to make more sense. We wanted it to have a Frankenstein/Addams Family/Nightmare Before Christmas kinda of feel. Our hair stylist, Michelle, said she was going to make a bride of Frankenstein inspired wig for Katya (our head model). We then brought in Francis Lewis to make a dress for our other model, Alexis, in the style of Wednesday Addams. Knowing we couldn't go with a stock eye patch, I embellished one with hot glue, cut up plastic plates, a plastic skull and black spray paint.

The class went off without a hitch. We had such an amazing team from top to bottom. it was amazing to see it all come together and to work seamlessly in such a short amount of time. Three hours is not a lot of time to accomplish something of this scale. Normally that's how long the hair and makeup alone would have taken for something of this caliber I am super proud of what we accomplished and created, I can't wait for the next one!

Photo: Antonio PantojaAntonio Pantoja - Photography and Cinematography
Makeup/SFX: Matt GoodlettMatt Goodlett, MUA
Hair: Michelle Villareal
Stylist: Frances Lewis
Model: Katya Estes
Model: Alexis Gibson
Hand model: Rachel White
Lighting: Joey Goldsmith
Behind The Scenes: Gary BarraganGary Barragan Photography
Behind The Scenes: Misha Kidwell
Assistant: Justin Sinkler

Special thank you to my sponsors:

Tyler green with Wonderband Systems https://www.wonderbandsystems.com/ - The Wonderband made makeup application so much more efficient. Plus it just looks cool.

Crown Brush https://www.crownbrush.com/ - I can't say enough about this amazing company. They are awesome and their brushes are all I will use now.

European Body Art http://www.europeanbodyart.com/ - By far my favorite makeup for body paint and special effects. Such an amazing product.

Moo. https://www.moo.com/us/ -The only business cards I will carry. The quality is amazing as is the customer service.

  

Lenore

Photographer and documentarian Kory Easterman asked me a while ago if I would be a part of his body paint documentary. He is making the documentary to showcase talent in our region (Kentucky/Indiana/Ohio). Most of the body painting I have done outside of competition has been more of the abstract avant-garde type. Being part of a body paint documentary I knew that style wouldn't fly.  While I like how beautiful it can be in it's simplicity, more is usually expected of body painters.

I never declined but only having done more traditional body paints in competition with guidelines I had no idea what to do given free reign. I was scrolling through Instagram and came across a body paint of a skeleton in a tuxedo dancing with a beautiful woman by an artist named Georgina Ryland (@gearginaryland). It was so dark, beautiful and haunting. The way it was painted made me think of Edgar Allan Poe and my love of Ravens.

With that my mind was racing. I started sketching a few ideas. The first of which had the arms covered in pages from a book and the whole abdomen was a gradient graveyard. I sat on that for a while and began chatting with my friend Amanda Danielson with Velvet Rose Vintage who was going to make the head piece. She smartly suggested feathers on the abdomen. To me that was perfect. It was like the wings of the raven which represents death, embracing the grave of Lenore. The weakest point to me though was the arms. 

With the wings of the Raven/Death engulfing Lenore I found it fitting that the Model's arms represent a graveyard. After I got it all sketched out I was becoming more and more excited. I had found the perfect model to be my Lenore. Only problem was where to do it. I knew my studio at the Devil's Attic (www.thedevilsattic.com) would be a nice setup and fitting for the macabre. Plus, it just feels like home for me but it has no heater. In early march the weather was a nice and crisp but the basement of a haunted house retained the cold. 

I placed space heaters everywhere around my model (one can be seen in the above photo). Our haunt owner Jason, bundled up in his winter coat and knit cap who was there working on a new room even brought us down a propane heater. It looked like a jet engine blowing a blue flame. I had a little glass container of water placed of top of a space heater to use in activating my water activated cake makeups. It was so cold that steam would come off of my brush after dipping it in the hot water. I gotta say, our model was quite the trooper all through out.

I knew if I was going to put this much time, effort and love into something as well as our model's time an Amanda's amazing head piece I wanted and equally awesome picture. Kory would be getting some great footage for his documentary but I wanted a photo. I asked my good friend and amazing photographer Danny Alexander to come photographer it for me. 

Lucky for me he said yes and we have this amazing image above to show for it. My girlfriend Tia came along to hang out and watch. As it turned out she was needed. Tia stood in for lighting while I was painting and did a ton of other stuff to help out. I can look at this piece and see areas for improvement on my part. With that said I am very happy with what we were able to pull off. After doing this I actually want to do more body paints and not just for competition sake.

 

Photographer: Danny Alexander http://www.dannypa.com/

Model: RB

Head Piece: Amanda Danielson https://www.facebook.com/Velvet-Rose-Vintage-281424868648765/

Assistant and BTS: Shatia Rogers

I would also like to thank my sponsors at Crown Brush www.crownbrush.com and Wonderband Systems www.wonderbandsystems.com

Marionette

Sometimes the masks we wear aren't to hide who we are but to express our true nature.

When Hunter came to me with this marionette concept I instantly thought of David Bowie. The makeup was inspired heavily by his "Pinups" album cover featuring Twiggy and his "Pierrot" clown makeup look. I love how this all came together.

I think we can all agree that 2016 was a rough one but let's not dwell on it. Going into 2017 let's focus on making the world a more beautiful place. Focus on what you have passion for and help and support others to do the same. We are all on this spaceship we call Earth.

I am going to do my best to inspire other artists and in doing so get inspired by them. That's what this is all about. Inspiration upon inspiration will only foster growth for us all.

 

Photo: Hunter Zieske
Model: Jacey Calloway
Makeup: Matt GoodlettMatt Goodlett, MUA
Hair: Rian Miller
Photo Assistant: Louis Tinsley
 

Awakening

This is by far the most important project I have ever worked on. Our model not only represents our native people that we have taken advantage of. She also represents us as a whole, not to mention our planet. We have an extreme addiction to fossil fuels that has to stop and we have the power to start changing that.

The black latex represents oil and how it is a pollutant. It clings to her body and is uncomfortable to pull from her skin. With that said it had to go. it took some work but we got it all off and got her clean. The metaphor isn't only in the photo but in the actuality of the clean up. Freeing ourselves of fossil fuel dependency will be hard but the sooner we start the better.

We are building long lasting infrastructure for a fuel source we need to start phasing out. We should be focused on improving other sources. The technology to be less oil dependent is there and it will get better. Our Native American's joining together at Standing Rock to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline I hope was a wake up call for all of is. The fire has been set, It's up to us here and now.

 

"Hold on to what you must do, even if it is a long way from here. Hold on to my land even if I've gone away from you. Not only was this photo shoot long, exhausting and emotionally painful for me, it was also physically painful for Stephanie (our model). I took this photo at the very end of the shoot as she was pulling the black latex, representing the oil that is killing us, from her body. Going into this shoot, I did not know the latex would hurt her as we took it off, this pain brought the perfect photos to my lens. Stephanie's strength to continue modeling as she tore the latex from her skin led to us being able show the pain of Native people perfectly. Thank you all for passing your strength to me, to the water protectors and to all people. May we rise in strength through this war, in our old ways, protecting our mother forever." -Gabrielle Colton Prints available at: https://www.gabriellecolton.com/nodapl/ Proceeds will go to Red Road Awareness in support of the Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance Photo: Gabrielle Colton Model: Stephanie Lynn Johnson Makeup: Matt Goodlett, Matt Goodlett, MUA Hair: Matthew Tyldesley BTS: Blake McGrew, Dark Heart Creative Makeup Assistant: Portia Greene

"Hold on to what you must do, even if it is a long way from here.
Hold on to my land even if I've gone away from you.

Not only was this photo shoot long, exhausting and emotionally painful for me, it was also physically painful for Stephanie (our model).

I took this photo at the very end of the shoot as she was pulling the black latex, representing the oil that is killing us, from her body.

Going into this shoot, I did not know the latex would hurt her as we took it off, this pain brought the perfect photos to my lens. Stephanie's strength to continue modeling as she tore the latex from her skin led to us being able show the pain of Native people perfectly.

Thank you all for passing your strength to me, to the water protectors and to all people. May we rise in strength through this war, in our old ways, protecting our mother forever." -Gabrielle Colton

Prints available at: https://www.gabriellecolton.com/nodapl/

Proceeds will go to Red Road Awareness in support of the Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance

Photo: Gabrielle Colton
Model: Stephanie Lynn Johnson
Makeup: Matt GoodlettMatt Goodlett, MUA
Hair: Matthew Tyldesley
BTS: Blake McGrewDark Heart Creative
Makeup Assistant: Portia Greene

Antonio Pantoja's Photography Worksop

Ever since I started doing makeup for photo shoots Antonio Pantoja was someone I strived to work with. He is seriously one of the nicest and hard working photographers in the industry. I have worked with him several times over the past year and am proud to have some of our works together as part of my portfolio. 

On November 21st 2016 being the giving person he is, Antonio decided to do a free photography workshop showing his entire process from makeup to editing and everything in between. I was honored when he asked me to be the makeup artist for the class. I will say, doing makeup in front of a class of over 150 people and having your working blown up on 4 screens around the Kentucky Derby Museum at about 30 feet by 15 feet a pop to be edited for the class was very intimidating.

Being a part of this amazing team was extremely humbling. I have a lot of respect for all of them and am thankful I could share this platform with them. It was very inspirational to be a part of a team that was coming together to teach others. Art shouldn't be about keeping your process secret. Share your knowledge and maybe the people you help can help you someday. We should all be here to grow.

I was lucky enough to have Dillard's at Green Tree Mall in Clarksville IN. sponsor me. They provided me with all Smashbox Cosmetics which performed amazingly. Huge thanks to the team and all of our sponsors listed below:

Photography and headpiece: Antonio Pantoja
Model: Katya Estes
Makeup: Matt Goodlett
Makeup products courtesy of Dillard's: Smashbox Cosmetics
Location: Kentucky Derby Museum 
Hosted by: Misha Squeweebop-Kidwell
Lighting and assistance: Joey Goldsmith
Wardrobe: Frances Lewis
Behind the scenes: Gary Barragan
Backdrop: Savage Universal
Lighting: Paul C. Buff, Inc.
Sponsored by 3 Legged Thing

Katya and I discussing her wig while Antonio is teaching behind me.

Katya and I discussing her wig while Antonio is teaching behind me.

Antonio shooting Katya live for the class.

Antonio shooting Katya live for the class.

Talking to the workshop about my role with Antonio and other photographers on how sometimes you are given free reign to create. Other times you are given guidelines or even told exactly what to do. collaboration and listening is key.

Talking to the workshop about my role with Antonio and other photographers on how sometimes you are given free reign to create. Other times you are given guidelines or even told exactly what to do. collaboration and listening is key.

It was a pleasure sharing the stage with such amazing and talented people.

It was a pleasure sharing the stage with such amazing and talented people.

This image was shot and edited live for the class by Antonio Pantoja

This image was shot and edited live for the class by Antonio Pantoja

Edited by joey Goldsmith

Edited by joey Goldsmith

Laura's Angels Disco Fever Fashion Show: Behind the Scenes

I was honored once again to be asked to do makeup  for Laura Kirkpatriclk's Laura's Angels fashion show. Laura is best known as the runner-up of cycle 13 of America's Next Top Model. She was voted fan favorite in a poll the show held after the conclusion of the series.  To see her come back and support the community here in Kentucky is amazing. Using all local talent and all the proceeds go to charity. Laura's Beautiful Minds Dyslexia charity, along with Fund for the Arts and the Family and Children's place were the chosen charities. With all artists donating their time and talent all proceeds went to the charities. The theme this go around was disco fever so there was glitter and metallics everywhere.

At the start of makeup I felt very calm working on model and good friend Katya Estes. Working on someone I am very familiar with made me feel very comfortable, maybe a little too comfortable though as I still had a lot of models ahead of me.. Our makeup sponsor was Dior and we were using their Airflash product. Having never used it before I was a bit worried. Once I started using the Airflash I really liked it. The product glided on smoothly and gave a nice sheer coverage which is what we were looking for. As with any type show the closer we got to show time the crazy things got. Having models I'm friends with like Karoline Hix keep me calm under pressure along with many others in my chair really put me at ease. We had an amazing makeup team and after 125 models I would says we did an amazing job. 

All behind the Scenes Photos by Joey Goldsmith

 

Me Getting started on the day. wE STARTED AT 11:30AM and went until 8pm. We were so busy I forgot to eat.

Me Getting started on the day. wE STARTED AT 11:30AM and went until 8pm. We were so busy I forgot to eat.

For designer Raina Trimble I got to apply gold flake to my good friend and model Katya Estes.

For designer Raina Trimble I got to apply gold flake to my good friend and model Katya Estes.

The only other time I have got to work with Haley Meehan is on a movie. my job then was to make her look like she has been beaten beyond recognition so this was a nice change.

The only other time I have got to work with Haley Meehan is on a movie. my job then was to make her look like she has been beaten beyond recognition so this was a nice change.

I love working with Karoline hix. She's so down to earth and professional Not to mention we get along really well.

I love working with Karoline hix. She's so down to earth and professional Not to mention we get along really well.

I was excited I got to do this wild metallic gold eye on Tasha Teneil. Her designer Krista Druen was trusting enough to let me take it all the way up covering her eyebrows.

I was excited I got to do this wild metallic gold eye on Tasha Teneil. Her designer Krista Druen was trusting enough to let me take it all the way up covering her eyebrows.

Dia De Los Muertos

When talking to  Photographer Dana Rogers about doing a tintype photo shoot with makeup I knew I wanted to do something fitting with the look and style that would fit. I wanted to do something timeless, something that looked like it existed when the camera was made back in the 1870's. It didn't take us long to land on Dia De Los Muertos or Day of the Dead. I knew straight away that I wanted to use a Mexican model to keep things as authentic as possible. With my good friend and model Casandre Elyse Medel coming in town from Colorado we had one day to get it right. The weather was perfect and watching Dana work was like magic. Tintype photography is such an interesting and beautiful process. This image are scans of the original because the original is one of a kind. I did this really pretty DOTD makeup with a color pallet I loved using lime greens, yellow, greys, black and white knowing it would be lost in black and white. At first I was a bit disappointed that no one would see that pallet but after I saw the first image processed I could not have been happier. It was like taking a trip in a time machine. I hope you enjoy.

When talking to  Photographer Dana Rogers about doing a tintype photo shoot with makeup I knew I wanted to do something fitting with the look and style that would fit. I wanted to do something timeless, something that looked like it existed when the camera was made back in the 1870's. It didn't take us long to land on Dia De Los Muertos or Day of the Dead.

I knew straight away that I wanted to use a Mexican model to keep things as authentic as possible. With my good friend and model Casandre Elyse Medel coming in town from Colorado we had one day to get it right. The weather was perfect and watching Dana work was like magic. Tintype photography is such an interesting and beautiful process. This image are scans of the original because the original is one of a kind.

I did this really pretty DOTD makeup with a color pallet I loved using lime greens, yellow, greys, black and white knowing it would be lost in black and white. At first I was a bit disappointed that no one would see that pallet but after I saw the first image processed I could not have been happier. It was like taking a trip in a time machine. I hope you enjoy.

Devil's Attic Haunt Makeups 2016

All Photos By Antonio Pantoja

This isn't just a makeup but a full body suit. Our actress Alicia Carper had to come in before the season started so I could paint the suit and what not. With altering the suit with the help of Kelsey Eisenhut. Then adding latex pieces waiting for those to dry and then painting the entire thing it was at least a two hour process. I'm pretty happy with how it all came out and how well it has held up.

This isn't just a makeup but a full body suit. Our actress Alicia Carper had to come in before the season started so I could paint the suit and what not. With altering the suit with the help of Kelsey Eisenhut. Then adding latex pieces waiting for those to dry and then painting the entire thing it was at least a two hour process. I'm pretty happy with how it all came out and how well it has held up.

  I have of course seen the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies but I will admit to not knowing a ton about the character of Chop Top. With that said I love the way he looks. With his exposed metal plate on his head he's gets a lot of comments on the makeup.

 

I have of course seen the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies but I will admit to not knowing a ton about the character of Chop Top. With that said I love the way he looks. With his exposed metal plate on his head he's gets a lot of comments on the makeup.

This is my second year as the makeup manager for the Devil's Attic. When I took over the makeup room the characters we had were pretty much already set. We were able to tweak a lot of the looks and put our own spin on them which was a lot of fun. When we were brain storming ideas for the new rooms for the 2016 season I wanted to do a Bloody Mary room. Bloody Mary is a character we all know but no one has a clear idea of what she should really looks like. This meant I could make her look however I wanted. With an enchanted upside down five pointed star on her face, just say her name in the mirror three times and vengeance will be hers. Then she will mark your place on her body in your blood.

This is my second year as the makeup manager for the Devil's Attic. When I took over the makeup room the characters we had were pretty much already set. We were able to tweak a lot of the looks and put our own spin on them which was a lot of fun. When we were brain storming ideas for the new rooms for the 2016 season I wanted to do a Bloody Mary room. Bloody Mary is a character we all know but no one has a clear idea of what she should really looks like. This meant I could make her look however I wanted. With an enchanted upside down five pointed star on her face, just say her name in the mirror three times and vengeance will be hers. Then she will mark your place on her body in your blood.

when I started at the Devil's Attic back in 2013 I wan't even in the makeup room. I was a midseason replacement for the priest character. With that said it's always been near and dear to me. when i started in the makeup room in 2014 not only was I not good at airbrush but I hated using it. With that said doing airbrush makeup on myself (something I do a lot now) was out of the question. Even last season I was still using grease paint on the priest. This year I upgraded the makeup room to all European Body Art alcohol based products and upgraded all of the makeups as well. I am very happy with how all of our monsters look and now our priest looks just as possessed as our Regan.

when I started at the Devil's Attic back in 2013 I wan't even in the makeup room. I was a midseason replacement for the priest character. With that said it's always been near and dear to me. when i started in the makeup room in 2014 not only was I not good at airbrush but I hated using it. With that said doing airbrush makeup on myself (something I do a lot now) was out of the question. Even last season I was still using grease paint on the priest. This year I upgraded the makeup room to all European Body Art alcohol based products and upgraded all of the makeups as well. I am very happy with how all of our monsters look and now our priest looks just as possessed as our Regan.

The Exorcist is one of my favorite scary movies. It is so well acted and the cinematography is amazing. Not to mention Dick Smith did an amazing job on the make up. If I can even come close to a fraction of what he did I'll be happy. With all of that said I am pretty happy with this makeup and Sydni Whitman wears it well.

The Exorcist is one of my favorite scary movies. It is so well acted and the cinematography is amazing. Not to mention Dick Smith did an amazing job on the make up. If I can even come close to a fraction of what he did I'll be happy. With all of that said I am pretty happy with this makeup and Sydni Whitman wears it well.

Cotton Candy Zombie

Photographer Danny Alexander approached me about assembling a group of makeup artist for a kind of Halloween makeup shoot. I thought, what better time to get "Team Demon Fabulous", my makeup team at The Devils Attic together and we could each do a makeup for him. I didn't want it to be as straightforward as that though, I wanted us to add something to the idea and make everything a bit pretty, or fabulous as our name suggests. I went with the idea of a cotton candy zombie.  My model was Katya Estes and I love what her and I were able to create together. She had a hard time getting the contacts in but she was a trooper. Team Demon Fabulous consists of Kelsey Eisenhut, Mary Proctor, and Lauren Bradley. I could not be happier to work alongside this team of talented individuals.

Photographer Danny Alexander approached me about assembling a group of makeup artist for a kind of Halloween makeup shoot. I thought, what better time to get "Team Demon Fabulous", my makeup team at The Devils Attic together and we could each do a makeup for him.
I didn't want it to be as straightforward as that though, I wanted us to add something to the idea and make everything a bit pretty, or fabulous as our name suggests. I went with the idea of a cotton candy zombie. 


My model was Katya Estes and I love what her and I were able to create together. She had a hard time getting the contacts in but she was a trooper. Team Demon Fabulous consists of Kelsey Eisenhut, Mary Proctor, and Lauren Bradley. I could not be happier to work alongside this team of talented individuals.

Louisville Zombie Walk 2016

I am the makeup and special effects manager at The Devil's Attic haunted house in Louisville, KY. ThIS year we host the 2016 Louisville Zombie Walk. My makeup team (Team Demon Fabulous) and I set up at Highland Taproom which was ground zero for the the Zombie party. We were doing zombie makeup for an extremely reasonable price. With and estimated 42,000 people in attendance we were quite busy. 

The amazing Jacob Roberts set up next to us and took zombie portraits of some of the makeups we were doing. it was fantastic to have him involved and the images he captured are so cool. This is one of the images.

The Touch

Love is closely entangled with pain. When you love someone you let them touch part of your heart. When that love is betrayed that touch that was once beautiful and comforting quickly leaves that spot tainted. The part of your heart you thought you could trust is poisoned.

The question is if you can move past that do you try again? You can guard yourself and never let anyone get close again. That or you can learn to trust someone and risk the pain all over again. More times than not, pain is the price we pay for Love.

Photo: Gabrielle Colton
Model: Katya Estes
Makeup by me.

touch.jpg

Louisville Zombie Walk

The Louisville Zombie Attack, now Louisville Zombie Walk (louisvillezombiewalk.com) started in 2005, and without it I don't know if I would have ever found my way to makeup as stated in my "about" page. My first year was back in 2006 when we had maybe 120 people attend. With an estimated 40,000 people in attendance last year the growth of this event is staggering.

This year founder Lyndi Lou has handed over the reigns to the Devil's Attic Haunted Attraction (http://thedevilsattic.com) where I am the Makeup SPFX manager. Having been a coordinator with Lyndi in the past I couldn't be more proud that she has entrusted us with her baby. That's not the only change to the walk this year. instead of the walk always being on the 29th which would be a monday this year we will be holding it on the 27th which is a Saturday. 

My team from the Devil's Attic also known as "Team Demon Fabulous" will be set up at the Highland Taproom doing makeup for the public. I will have more information on pricing and schedule later so stay tuned. For this to come full circle is very exciting for me. Our goal is to remain true to the spirit of the event and make Lyndi Lou proud.

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