New Branding

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As an artist, knowing who you are is important. it helps you hone in on your vision and create things in your voice. Finding that voice takes a while sometimes but once you do people will start to see your vision and it will become your brand. Branding isn't always about your logo but a good logo can go a long way.

 

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When I first started makeup 5 years ago let's be honest, I had no idea what I was doing. I really wanted to push the idea that my focus was special effects and pay homage to the old school. Jeremy Richie ( https://dribbble.com/jeremyrichie ) designed me an amazing logo. I told him I wanted it  to look like a silent film card.  They would use these cards to give titles and dialogues between scenes. It made me think of Lon Chaney who was an actor that always did his own monster makeups during the silent film era in movies like "Phantom of the Opera", "Hunchback of Notre Dame", "London After Midnight", etc. The amazing logo Jeremy came up with mirrored that perfectly and served me well but as I grew into other styles of makeup it started to not make sense for what I was doing and the direction I wanted to move.

 

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I downloaded some applications on my phone and worked up a logo that I thought would work as an umbrella for all the different types of makeup I wanted to do. I wanted something that when you saw it you knew from it's configuration it was mine. I remember hearing Stan Lee say that a good comic book character was recognizable even in just a silhouette which I thought worked for logo’s text as well, like Metallica, Marvel, and Vans to name a few. Basically something that you could plug different letters into and parody but it still looks the same and recognizable. I finally got it close to where I wanted it but having made it on my phone it looked a bit rough. My good buddy Antonio Pantoja ( https://www.antoniopantoja.com/ ) offered to help me clean it up. He suggested a few changes in the font of the word "Makeup" which was originally cursive and we dropped the word artist. It was clean and concise and worked for really any type makeup I was doing and I can’t thank Antonio enough for helping me fix it up.

Photo By Danny Alexander

Photo By Danny Alexander

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After spending 3 years with that logo as awesome as I still think it is it didn't really speak to who I was. This was no one’s fault but my own. I had wanted a brand that was palatable to all and didn't really think about it saying anything about me as an artist. Antonio had done an amazing job helping me sharpen it all up and refining the branding. At the time we made it I just wanted a catch-all logo that covered all the bases. I had no idea how to make a logo or branding that spoke to who I was. Starting from scratch the elements I wanted added were all over the place. They were everywhere from ravens, to David Bowing. I also knew I wanted something that would work independently of my name like a symbol similar to Nike's Swoosh or the McDonald's Arches.

Photo by Donovan Cole  Models, Myself and Olivia Duff  Styled by Andie Kaye

Photo by Donovan Cole

Models, Myself and Olivia Duff

Styled by Andie Kaye

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No, I am not comparing myself to huge companies like that but I just feel like my name can be a bit clunky and wanted something that could maybe stand alone from my name. I knew I was asking a lot of my Friend Matt Niehoff of ThoughtFly ( https://www.thoughtflystudios.com/ ) who agreed to help me. He would send me some designs and I would send some notes back. I felt like I was being way to picky because everything he sent me was great. He invited me into his studio where we could work on it together. When I walked in there it was, up on his monitor. Not exactly what we ended up with but pretty close. We tweaked the Bowie inspired lightning bolt and he gave it some feathery brush strokes on one side which not only brought in the raven in a way but my style of painting. Hard lined and graphic makeup on one side mixed with loose brush strokes, It was perfect.

Photo by Danny Alexander  Models Mallory and Avery Grant

Photo by Danny Alexander

Models Mallory and Avery Grant

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There are so many Matt's (2 in this blog alone) so we also decided to drop off my first name. I am so happy with how this new logo looks and have the different ways in which it can be displayed. I am stoked to have a clean concise logo that I can look at that I can use across SFX, beauty, fashion, runway, body paint, etc. and still see elements of myself within the logo. I can’t thank Matt Niehoff enough for putting up with my insane artist mind and helping me create a brand identity.

Photo by Donovan Cole  Model Moriyah McShane

Photo by Donovan Cole

Model Moriyah McShane

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Billie Eilish: Team Demon Fabulous Makeup Challenge

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On my friend and team  member's birthday we went out for chips and margaritas. We were  talking about music and about the type of music I had been into lately. I had  been listing to things that were basically pretty dark in subject matter but  that if you didn't really pay attention to the lyrics sounded kind of innocuous.  She lit up and started telling me about Billie Eilish and about how her songs were often beautiful but the lyrical content could be a bit gothic in  nature. When we parted ways that evening I pulled Billie up on Spotify and gave  her a listen on my way home. I really liked the breathiness of her often times  haunting voice and lyrical content.

After listening for a couple days I got this idea.  Team Demon Fabulous, the makeup team from the Devil's Attic ( http://thedevilsattic.com/darknessfalls/ ) hadn't had a makeup  challenge in a while and I thought a Billie Eilish theme would be a good one. I  have always been inspired by music in my art and I wanted to see how the team  would interpret her music. Billie  herself has said she doesn't like to explain her songs too much because she  wants the listener to be able to make up their own narrative which was perfect  for us. The only rule I gave was a time limit and to just be inspired by Billy  Eilish. After issuing the challenge to the team I quickly realized I had no idea  what I was going to do.

The songs I had been listening to I loved but  they didn't speak to me visually. That said I had been listening to the same 5  songs on repeat. I opened up my playlist to all of her music and found my inspiration song  almost immediately. When "All Good Girls go to Hell" came on I knew that was the  inspiration for me. I saw a dark demonic figure plainly standing with a very  sweet and innocent looking girl in my head. I didn't really have more than that though,  but that was enough to get started. The next day scrolling through Instagram it  really all came together.

I saw a painting by an artist named Natalie  Shau titled "Wendigo". The painting was amazing and was a heightened version of  what I already had in my head. I posted the image to my Instagram story simply  saying "Vibes". I didn't want to give to much away as it was for a challenge.  The painting got me thinking about the story of if all, and the seduction of the  devil. The painting "Wendigo" was a good first step but the story needed more.  Days later completely unrelated I came across another image titled "Secret Date"  which played into the whole seduction idea but also the resistance. As it turns  out that painting was also done by Natalie Shau. The third painting I was using  for inspiration was "American Gothic" by Grant Wood. To me that image speaks to  them being equals and living long lives together and embracing the temptation. 

Inspiration image by Natalie Shau "Wendigo",  "Secret Date" and Grant Wood's "American Gothic"

Inspiration image by Natalie Shau "Wendigo",  "Secret Date" and Grant Wood's "American Gothic"

Now I had to build a team for this photo shoot to  create these images. The first person I asked was photographer Donovan Cole. He  shoots a lot of fashion and editorial type stuff and I knew that's how I wanted  these images handled. He is young but has been churning out a lot of amazing  work. Given the demon makeup I knew I'd be doing I didn't want it to look like a  monster photo shoot and a photographer without vision may have taken them in  that direction. I knew Donovan could keep the images on track. I kind of figured  I would be the model for the demon makeup especially since in past challenges  most of the team has been their own models so I figured it was time for me. For the "Good Girl" I needed a model that  could really pull of the sweet and innocent look as well as the demon's equal.  Working on Steve Squall's film "Mujō" I met actress Olivia Duff who plays the  lead Meta in the film. My job when meeting her was to paint tattoos on her that  are specific to the character. I knew she had the perfect look and as an actress  would be able to pull off the story in these photos.

Mujō promo photos by Steve Squall featuring Olivia Duff with Tattoos by me.

Mujō promo photos by Steve Squall featuring Olivia Duff with Tattoos by me.

With my team in place I was ready to get started,  or so I thought. As I was doing makeup for a fashion show designer Andie Kaye  came up to me saying she had seen the Instagram story where I had posted the  "Wendigo" painting and she wanted in on whatever I was doing. I never posted I  was up to anything but somehow Andie knew. When she referred to the image as  Persephone I knew I had to have her involved. In Greek mythology Persephone is  the wife of Hades and they ruled the underworld together. With that I knew Andie  got what we were doing and I brought her on as a stylist.

Before I get into our actual photo shoot lets  look at the amazing work of Team Demon Fabulous;

Being the go getter that she is Kelsey Eisenhut was the the first to turn in her look.  Here is what she had to say about her makeup,  "When Matt announced we would be having another challenge I was so excited. I always love the interpretation aspect of the challenges and I might be the tiniest bit competitive. However, I found myself thrown for a loop when the genre of the challenge was announced. I had no clue who Billie Eilish was, what her music sounded like, what her personal style was, or what she looked like. I have never gone into a challenge before so ill prepared so I found myself in a very uncomfortable position.

My first step was to take a deep dive into the music, videos, and interviews of Billie. As I was researching the other team members were quickly reserving the songs that they were going to base their looks around. Although it is not a rule that two artists cannot use the same inspiration, I like to keep myself away from the pack. All the big hits got scooped up quickly so I found myself going further and further down the rabbit hole until I hit the song “Hostage”.

From the opening scene of the video and the first few beats I knew I had found my inspiration. I listened to the song and watched the video around 40 times over the next two days letting the words, music, and feelings sink in. The song has some obvious visual characteristics called out that I knew I wanted to use, gold leaf and gold fingers, but I also wanted to make it mine. About the 35th time I listened to the song and idea started to form.

The thing I found most striking about the song and video was the internal struggle, a struggle I myself have felt. She describes the struggle to want to love and be loved but in the process being self-destructive by being mean and pushing her lover away. I wanted to create something that at first glance was beautiful but upon further inspection showed signs of a fight. At first look you see the gold and the beauty but if you take a closer look you see the busted lip and the bruised eye.

Although I had no idea who Billie Eilish was coming in to this challenge I dug in deep and found something I could truly feel to create this look. Plus I came out with some great new songs on my Spotify playlist!"

Photo: Gingerkat Photography   Model: Jacy Inskeep  Makep: Kelsey Eisenhut      Lauren Bradley didn't pick a specific song,  well... I'll let her explain, "I was inspired by Billie as a whole for this shoot. these are a few of the photos that turned out. it was done with film so we don’t know what happened to the black and white pics of pancake (the tarantula) on my face. if those didn’t turn out i’m gonna do a different shoot with her bc she deserves to be a star. Danny used expired film for a moody creepy effect and that’s what i was looking for."

Photo: Gingerkat Photography 

Model: Jacy Inskeep

Makep: Kelsey Eisenhut  

Lauren Bradley didn't pick a specific song,  well... I'll let her explain, "I was inspired by Billie as a whole for this shoot. these are a few of the photos that turned out. it was done with film so we don’t know what happened to the black and white pics of pancake (the tarantula) on my face. if those didn’t turn out i’m gonna do a different shoot with her bc she deserves to be a star. Danny used expired film for a moody creepy effect and that’s what i was looking for."

photos by Danny Bloom  Model and Makeup Lauren Bradley  

photos by Danny Bloom

Model and Makeup Lauren Bradley  

 With having a 4 person team of all very busy  individuals it was hard o find a date we were all available. There was literally  one day that we could do the photos on so we got it all pulled together pretty  quickly. We debated on having a floral backdrop for extreme juxtaposition but  decided against it due to it being a bit distracting. Billie uses a lot of flat  color back drops in her music videos so we opted to barrow a nice pink back drop  from my good buddy Danny Alexander. Given the subject matter pink was the  perfect color which also made the blues in the makeup and Olivia's blue eyes  really pop. Andie pulled a few things from her wardrobe for Olivia to wear  including her own prom dress.

Sketchy Tank design 

Sketchy Tank design 

As far as the makeups there is nothing wrong with red devils or demons I just didn't want to do what was expected. I wanted something dark, very dark. The original idea was just to paint myself all black with black contacts, black horns and a black hood. After some thought I just felt that was too much and a lot of the details would be lost. First I scrapped the black hood for a black suit playing off of the phrase "Trust no Suits", based on a Sketchy Tank design meaning to not trust corporations or really anyone in power. I started off applying some Woochie ( https://www.woochie.com/ ) latex horns to my forehead. I still painted my face all black using Woochie water activated makeup as a base. I then airbrushed EBA Performance ( https://performancemakeup.com/ ) makeup starting in purple and then building to the lightest blue before white to give it a glowing effect. I used a chip brush to flick on some EBA alcohol activated makeup from their encore chrome pallet to break up the color and also give it some glints of shine. I used the Anastasia Beverly Hills Aurora high light pallet on the super light points and my horns. I pre-painted my nails the night before using EBA's Autopsy pallet. I applied the nails after my face and neck makeup were completed. I then added wax around the cuticles to give them a more monstrous look.

Prepainted Nails

Prepainted Nails

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I had originally planned on using a pair of  lenses from Primal ( https://us.primalcontactlenses.com/ ) that were mainly black  with some blue accents. with the makeup already being so dark I changed my mind  last minute and went with Primal's White Walker Lenses. The lighter lenses  really popped surrounded by all of the darkness in the makeup. With the way the  makeup seemed to glow the contacts looked amazing and almost took on a glow  like the Night King in Game of Thrones. Ideally I should have done Olivia's  makeup first. Unfortunately Olivia couldn't get to the shoot until a bit later  so waiting to do her makeup first before I did mine would have put us getting  out much later. Due to the timing of everything I had to have all of my makeup  applied before Olivia got there which I'll admit caused a few  issues. Not Olivia's fault at all, this was just the only day we could all make work. Getting us all there around the same time was like threading a needle in a hurricane.

When Olivia arrived I had a bit of a problem  applying the makeup not just because of the nails but the wax around my cuticles. Because of where  my brushes would rest when I used them they kept sticking in the wax. I  couldn't paint the wax yet which would have cut down on the tack due to fear of  transfer of black paint on Olivia's face which was suppose to be a clean look. Looking back I probably should have powdered them. Once I found my grove working with the nails I was able to do a clean  understated makeup. The idea was to make her look very sweet and innocent. I  really wanted to play up the pink blush on her cheeks and even added a bit on  her nose for a bit of whimsy.

Doing Olivia's makeup in nails and wax cuticles.

Doing Olivia's makeup in nails and wax cuticles.

Wearing a white dress shirt the nails caused  another issue. I didn't want to wear the white dress shirt while I was painting  myself black. The problem was with the nails on I couldn't button my shirt or  tie my tie. Andie pretty much had to dress me which wasn't embarrassing at all.  This also made using the bathroom impossible which once everything was ready I  had to do and couldn't. Using the reference images we worked through the story that fit with  the idea and lyrics of the song. The first look was more her introduction to  Lucifer. Olivia was wearing Andie's vintage looking lace prom dress which was  perfect and soft for this uneasy introduction. From there we moved to more of  the forceful seduction. Not necessarily being seduced by the Devil but more the  idea of being bad and giving into temptation. Andie had Olivia wear the dress  off her shoulder to denote the idea of giving in. For the last look she has  given into the darkside but we still wanted her to look like "the Good Girl".  Andie had her in a darker dress which was still sweet looking and I darkened the  eye makeup slightly. Olivia posed as an equal to the demon, accepting her  darkside having given in.

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I showed Andie the unedited images and she pointed out from a story telling perspective it would make more since to flip the first to images.  She thought that Lucifer would start with a forceful seduction which would lead to their reluctant embrace. I respect Andie's opinion so I wanted to give it some thought. After thinking about it for a bit I started to see that she was right. I flipped them and I give you "The Persephone Switch".

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Donovan really knocked it out of the park with  these images, making everyone's hard work shine. I believe in getting people  involved for the jobs that they do. What I mean is to get people for what they do,  not what you want them to do. Everyone really did a great job on this and not  one of them could have been replaced. I am also very proud of Team Demon  Fabulous. It is so cool seeing different interpretations on the same subject matter. I am pretty sure this is why Billie and other artists like  her don't like to spell out exactly what their songs are about. Everyone  consumes art differently and it's not really up to the artist to tell you how  it's suppose to make you feel.

So Billie, what do you think?


 

Illustration by J. Lopez @jdotcreative

Illustration by J. Lopez @jdotcreative

Team Demon Fabulous: Moster Make-Off "Elizabeth Bathory"

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I am always one for a  challenge when it comes to doing what I love. Not only challenges against other  people but myself. Maybe 2 months ago or so ago Scare Factor ( https://www.thescarefactor.com/ ) was looking for a team to  sponsor for a Monster Make-Off competition ( https://www.ohiohalloweenandhauntersconvention.com/monster-make-off/ ).  I didn't really have much more information than that when I threw my teams hat into  the ring. I later found out we won the sponsorship so then I had to build a team  and come up with a concept. I also had to secure some more sponsors because it  was going to be an expense we had not anticipated. Luckily our haunt the Devil's  Attic ( http://thedevilsattic.com/darknessfalls/ ) and the contact  company I'm partnered with,  Primal ( https://us.primalcontactlenses.com/ ) came through for us. 

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I keep saying us but I haven't mentioned the  team. Mary Proctor would be my second makeup artist on this challenge and we had  a model. Once we got the theme which was Classic Horror with a modern twist I  made the choice to do a Lizard Alien kind of based off the 80's television  series "V". I had a beautiful female lizard facial prosthetic that would have  been perfect from Woochie ( https://www.woochie.com/ ). The idea was that they were on our  planet in search of water. We had plans of putting together a post apocalyptic  space suit and it was going to be very cool. I'm using past tense because we had  to change course.

After reading the rules a bit more it said that  full facial prosthetics were not allowed. I toyed with the idea of trimming the  lizard prosthetic down but I didn't want to destroy such a cool piece. That said  I also had a furrowed brow prosthetic also from Woochie. From there I decided we  would do a vampire in the vein of the lost boys and or buffy. With the theme  being classic horror, it doesn't get much more classic than vampires. I threw  the idea out to the team, asking how we were going to dress our vampire  especially since I knew they were judging on costuming.

Just to get things rolling I threw out some ideas  to the team; Victorian, Punk Rock Lost Boys Style, Modern and Classy like the  Vampires in Underworld, or Maybe Elizabeth Bathory with no costume but bathed in  blood. Without much hesitation our Model chose Bathory. I knew doing a pretty  much nude character would be a risk for a couple reasons. Firstly I knew they  were judging costuming and we would have none. Secondly I knew it meant a lot  more makeup to do and skin to cover. I like the idea of the challenge of doing a  full body makeup so we decided to just go for it.

About two weeks from the competition I got a  message from our model saying she had to back out. This created a  problem for several reasons. I then had to find a model that was willing to  travel with us, be put in monster makeup, be willing to be pretty much nude and  have little to no tattoos. Luckily we were able to find Halle Brandt from  Nashville. She fit the criteria and look for what we had planned and she was  down for anything. Standing at 5'9 I knew once we had heals and tall wig styled  by Matthew Tyldsley that she would be an imposing presence.

Unfortunately I read the itinerary wrong and  instead of leaving at 6am which was already early we would have to leave at 3am.  Halle having driven from Nashville the day before slept in the back seat  while Mary kept me awake. The competition was at the Mansfield Reformatory which  is a historic old prison that is now shut down. It is also where they filmed  Shawshank Redemption. The building was amazing and so cool to be in. We quickly  hauled in our gear and got set up.

Photo by Russ Lytle

Photo by Russ Lytle

When we tested our airbrushes I had a minor heart  attack because my compressor wasn't working. Having a compressor go down on me before I  thought it had happened again and while I had a spare it wasn't as good. Turns  out there was no power, for anyone. With it being such an old building the  breaker wasn't built to power all those air compressors and hair dryers at once.  We waited over and hour and a half not knowing when they were going to call for  us to start. While it was stressful it gave us an opportunity to meet and talk  with our fellow artists which was nice. When they finally called for us to start  we were more than ready to go.

 Photo by Russ Lytle

 Photo by Russ Lytle

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With only and hour and forty five minutes Mary  and I decided I would focus on the face and chest while she did the hands and  the rest. They let us put in our contacts before the time started for sanitation reasons and they were the perfect look for this. I wanted her to look scary but also beautiful. about forty minutes in  the fire alarm went off and our MC started calling for us to vacate. Luckily  someone came in and stopped us and we were able to continue. Mary did a great  job on the hands and once we got everything mottled out we were able to start on  contouring and highlights.

Photo: Russ Lytle

Photo: Russ Lytle

Two days before the competition I was asked to write a bio for our character. I thought it was for the other contestants to read and I didn't really want anyone to know what we were doing so I made it super long, thinking it would turn people off from reading it. With Bathory being an actual historic figure I also wanted it to read like a wiki article. Little did I know that the MC, "Crazy Bob" would be reading them off during the time we all had for makeup. Sorry about that Bob, below is what he had to read.

 Photo: Russ Lytle

 Photo: Russ Lytle

Countess Elizabeth Báthory

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(August 7th 1560 – Present Day) is a Hungarian noblewoman and “serial killer” from the noble family of Báthory. She has been labeled by Guinness World Records as the most prolific female murderer. The highest number of victims cited during Báthory's trial was 650. Despite the evidence against Elizabeth, her family's influence kept her from facing trial. She was imprisoned in December 1610 within Čachtice Castle in Upper Hungary (now Slovakia) and held in solitary confinement in a windowless room until what was thought to be her death four years later.

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The stories of her sadistic serial murders are verified by the testimony of more than 300 witnesses and survivors as well as physical evidence and the presence of horribly mutilated dead, dying, and imprisoned girls found at the time of her arrest. Stories describing her vampire-like tendencies (most famously the tale that she bathed in the blood of virgins to retain her youth) were recorded years after her death. Some insist she inspired Bram Stoker's Dracula though there is no evidence to support this hypothesis. Nicknames and literary epithets attributed to her include “The Blood Countess” and “Countess Dracula”.

 Photo: Russ Lytle

 Photo: Russ Lytle

Elizabeth had a couple of loyal followers, Anna Pap and Borbala Vadas, whom believed the tales of her being a vampire and the women exhumed Báthory’s body weeks after her death. These women desired to become vampires after having heard the remarkable stories of Báthory’s ritual involving bathing in virgin blood to maintain a beautiful youth look. However, the women knew they couldn’t do this without guidance of an existing vampire. Pap and Vadas believed that she died from being starved of blood and took it upon themselves to revive Báthory. According to Pap’s diary, the two placed the body in a tub and poured in the blood of 4 virgins allowing the body to soak in hopes of reviving their beloved noblewoman. After a day or so, fear of being caught for the murder of four women overpowered their wants to bring Báthory back to the world of the living and they fled Upper Hungary. Soon after, Anna Pap was found dead by authorities having been drained of all blood with 2 puncture wounds on her inner thigh. Borbala Vadas was never seen or heard from again. Authorities never found the body of Elizabeth Báthory and kept it secret to not scare the public.

 Photo: Russ Lytle

 Photo: Russ Lytle

Elizabeth Báthory is alive (undead) and well. Though still feeding and bathing in the blood of her victims, she has maintained a low profile. To mask her murders she often times mimics serial killers such as Fritz Haarmann, Tsutomu Miyazaki, Richard Chase, and Andrei Chikatilo to name a few. She rarely, if ever, uses her fangs as to not give proof to vampire existence. She has been known to leave behind bodies from time to time with the trademark puncture wounds on the inner thighs. Many cold cases of gruesome murders and missing persons can be attributed to her. With virgins being harder to come by in our society she often times settles for “spoiled” flesh which has brought out a more vampiric look and tendencies in her. She still seeks out virgins so the innocent should beware. Vampires are real and Countess Elizabeth Báthory is the mother of all.

 Photo by Russ Lytle

 Photo by Russ Lytle

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When they called for twenty minutes left I had to  start on the pretty aspect of the makeup in the eyes, highlights, lips and  adding gold flake for some over the top beauty. Mary took iced gold shimmer  powder and dusted her body with it to give her some glints. with 10 minutes left  we started applying blood but at the same time we were struggling with not  covering up our hard work. That said with it being Elizabeth Bathory, covering  her in blood was needed. Then we topped it all off with some awesome jewelry and  our wig.  

 Photos by Russ Lytle

 Photos by Russ Lytle

I usually like to give the people involved with projects I write blogs about a chance to weigh in on their experience. Since it was Halle's first time doing something like this I definitely wanted to know what she thought. When I asked all she had to say was, "I can’t think of what I’d say for the blog other than that it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever gotten to do." I will take that as a good thing.

 Photo by Russ Lytle

 Photo by Russ Lytle

Some people had done a lot of big costuming incorporating lights and other things. We took a huge risk and just focused on makeup. We knew it would be an uphill battle and that we wouldn't place and we were right. There were three judges, two f which were makeup artists and one was a layman. While we didn't win the two makeup artists judges gave us near perfect scores which I considered a win. We met a lot of cool people and got to do a makeup and character we were all very proud of. We hope to do more of these and create more characters.

Photo: Russ Lytle

Photo: Russ Lytle

Kingdom by the Sea

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Almost 4 years ago in  February 2015 we started Filming on "Loss Prevention" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SX3nagLvQj0)  with ThoughtFly Films. It  was to be a fun action movie with some tongue in cheek comedy elements. I was  part of the makeup department as well as being an extra in quite a few scenes.  We were all doing different actor's makeups every day, and we had photos of all of  the actors to maintain continuity. We weren't doing anything crazy but I still  wanted someone that when I watched the movie I knew in any given scene I did  their makeup. When I saw Lauren Virginia Albert I knew I wanted her to be the  actress that I did makeup on every day.  Lauren said "I first met Matt on the set of a movie we filmed 4 years ago. He exclusively did my makeup and I like to think we formed an unspoken bond over the course of the shoot."

Lauren has a very pretty and had unique features. I  was lucky enough to have her sit in my chair the first day and we hit it off. I  suppose we worked out an unspoken understanding and everyday she came and waited  for my chair and or I angled to do her makeup.

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The makeup was fairly simple as she was the female action lead of the film. With her face I knew I  wanted to do more makeups on her but with her living in Los Angeles and just in  town for filming I didn't know how that would be possible. Her and I kept in  touch over the years and talked about doing her makeup someday for a photoshoot  when she came to town to visit family. This past holiday our schedules finally  lined up and we were able to put something together.

The plan was always to do some  kind of Avant-Garde or beauty look on her. However with all the body paints I have done  recently her interests started to lean more that way. With only having a month  to plan and so much going on around that time of year we started talking ideas  and pieces of mine she liked. She really liked the "Lenore" body paint I did with  Rebecca Bien and Danny Alexander based on the Edgar Allan Poe poem, "The Raven" (You can read that blog here http://mattgoodlettmakeup.com/blog/2017/3/6/lenore ).  Come to find out Lauren was also a huge fan on Poe with her favorite poem being  "Annabel Lee".

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"Matt and I share a mutual love for Edgar Allen Poe. I knew he had done a body paint inspired by “The Raven,”  so we decided to go a similar route and do one inspired by my favorite Poe poem, Annabel Lee.  Annabel Lee was the first poem I ever came to love so I was more than thrilled to be the canvas for such a beautiful piece of poetry. It’s a harrowing tale of love gained, and in true Poe fashion, love lost.  It’s the only poem I have ever memorized and has been ingrained in my brain since I first read it when I was 8 years old.  So in a sense it’s been a near 20 year journey for me, to be able to physically express and be a visual for a poem that has always been so close to my heart." Said Lauren

That said the imagery with Annabel Lee is not as easy to work  into a body paint as "The Raven". I am not a fan of painting the images of  people on to people so painting Annabel Lee as a human with her "narrating lover" was not an option for me.

First rough sketch.

First rough sketch.

Most people when reading the poem would assume that his love Annabel Lee had died. I am not saying they are wrong and in fact given Poe's own history they are correct. Most say it was based on Poe's wife Virginia who died two years prior to him writing it. That said I read it a bit differently. I read it as more an unrequited love. As he sees it her family took her away and made her love for him go cold. In my interpretation he has built up all of these monuments to her in his mind and the perfect kingdom by the sea he writes about is not an actual kingdom at all. I see the kingdom as him and as he seas what their perfect relationship could have been.

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I knew I needed a castle as my  center piece. I didn't want it to be this bright beautiful castle that you would  expect in this kingdom by the sea. For inspiration I looked to the Castle Gray Skull for color and scope. I made the windows in the castle glowing orange as if  he was leaving the lights on for her to find her way back to him. The coffin  shaped hole represents the hole she left in him as she floats above the  castle/him as this idealistic angel with her halo of gold the way he has built her up in his  mind. I painted the clouds above the castle and the sky getting darker as it got  closer to Lauren's jawline. The sun and moon on her shoulders were inspired by  the Ouija Board but represent that she is on his mind day and night. Below the  castle we have the charred earth of hell to not only represent the demons he  speaks of in the poem but also where his foundation lies. On Lauren's arms I  painted the representation of choppy waves for the sea. In my interpretation with  her leaving him I didn't see the waters being calm. Lauren is also wearing  Primal Colored Lenses (https://us.primalcontactlenses.com/) in "Supernatural" To give her  an other worldly idealistic look. Since the narrator sees her as dead to him I paled out her face to give her a slight corpse look while still keeping her pretty.

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Doing a second Poe body paint I  knew I wanted to make it a series. Lucky for me Danny Alexander (https://dannyalexanderphoto.com/) who shot the first Poe body  paint agreed to shoot this one to maintain the same style. To maintain  consistency I had Lauren hold the same chrome skull as in the "Lenore" body  paint which could not have been achieved without Danny. I am so happy with how this body paint came out and how it works as a  companion piece to the previous Poe based body paint. That being said to me two body paints doesn't constitute a series and Danny has been amazing enough to  agree to photograph a third Poe body paint. Stay tuned in the coming months for,  "the Tell-Take Heart" which is my favorite piece by Poe. I will let Lauren wrap this up, "This makeup project has truly been 4 years in the making and I’m so grateful we finally found the time to collaborate, especially now that we live on opposite coasts."

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Here is a fun bonus image of Danny trying a really cool lighting technique  

Here is a fun bonus image of Danny trying a really cool lighting technique  

Tattoo Gone

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One of my best friend's  Kelsey moved away over 2 years ago. Anytime she comes to  town I try to take every opportunity to hang out with her. On this particular  trip she was doing makeup for a photoshoot with our good friend Danny Alexander  and model Amanda Terry, among others. Knowing everyone onset I was able to tag along and hang  out. I am lucky to work with Danny all the time and I have worked with Amanda a  good handful of times. it was a great group of people and were able to talk  about past projects and things we wanted to do in the future. With the down time  that you usually experience on photo-shoots it was good to have like minded  people to chat with. Amanda who is heavily tattooed  said she wanted to do a photoshoot where all of her tattoos were covered up. I  jokingly told Amanda to invest in a good turtle neck.

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I have done tattoo cover up makeups for weddings  but nothing as extensive as Amanda's tattoos. The first tattoo  cover-up I did was for a client named Sierra Thompson. Sierra is a beautiful woman and there was really nothing wrong with her tattoo but she was unhappy with  it showing in her brides maid dress. With her dress being dark I knew alcohol  based makeup would be the way to go. Once alcohol makeup is dry you don't have  to worry about transfer. I first covered her black tattoo in a light brown  alcohol airbrush paint from EBA Performance makeup (http://www.europeanbodyart.com/professional-makeup/) to  neutralize the dark ink. I then used their alcohol based SKT Light to Dark  Encore Palette. I used a chip brush switching between dark and light colors as I  flicked the makeup on her back building up a natural blend and breaking up the skin tone. I felt painting it  all one color would look fake and it would be too obvious something was being hidden. Her  arms and chest weren't getting makeup so to make the skin over her tattoo all  one tone and flat would have looked off. 

Sierra Thompson in her Bride’s Maids dress before and afters

Sierra Thompson in her Bride’s Maids dress before and afters

After talking a bit more with Amanda it became clear this was  something she really wanted to do. I thought that this could be a good way to  market tattoo cover ups for weddings. If I could cover up Amanda's tattoos I  could cover up any bride's spring break tattoo mistakes. Amanda then roped Danny into shooting it so then the planning began. We knew we wanted to do a good  before and after photo in pretty much the same lighting. The plan was to do a  simple but edgy before makeup to show off Amanda's tattoos. Then I would do a very  soft and warm beauty makeup suitable for a bride. The makeups were one thing  but the tattoo cover up was going to be a challenge, more so than I had realized.

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I learned a lesson on this makeup, a lesson I  already knew but had reinforced. I learned that if there is something you need  that is imperative to the makeup you need to make sure you have it with you. The  SKT palette I use for tattoo cover ups that I mentioned early was nowhere to be  found. I forgot that I had let someone use it months prior and never gotten it  back. With all of the encore palettes I have I picked one that had the closest  colors I needed to achieve the cover up. While the Joel Harlow Signature FX Contour Palette had several of the  colors I use I was missing a lot of the darker tones and had nothing really with  red or yellow undertones. I ended up airbrushing on some red with some yellows and bone  white which has yellow underdone to give me a closer base to work with. It took  a lot for layering but I was able to get to where we needed to be to cover the  tattoos. I then threw on some gold highlighter to give her a nice glow.

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Working with the wrong materials I am super happy  with how it all came out. Danny did an amazing job capturing her image. Take  away the fact that it was an extreme tattoo cover up it was a very simple  looking clean beauty makeup. Danny was able to make something so simple look  almost extra ordinary. It was very strange seeing Amanda with no tattoos. It was rewarding seeing Amanda's astonished face when she kept looking in the mirror and I am glad I took on the  challenge.

The Nirvana Project

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I ran into friend and model Kassandra Johnson at Sephora of all places over Christmas break. She moved away a few years ago so I haven't seen her in a while but it reminded me of a project we did back in the summer on 2015. I never wrote a blog about it because I didn't even have a website at the time, let alone a blog. That said, this was the first passion project I put together. I was in a mood that summer and wanted to pay tribute to one of my favorite bands.

Nirvana was the first band that made me interested in music that I felt any kind of connection to. I knew I wanted the photos to have a certain look so I reached out to my good friend and photographer Rebecca Rose. Lucky for me she was into the idea so we started planning. We looked through a lot of different reference photos for ideas and settings. We quickly came to the conclusion that these would all need to be separate photo shoots. Doing it all in one day with the different settings and different models would just be to much not to mention a scheduling nightmare. We wanted to take our time so over the summer we made the Nirvana Project

I am big on authenticity which you will see more of especially when it comes to Heart Shaped Box. For Lithium Though I knew I wanted a real straight jacket. Luckily I had a friend that knew a magician named Tricky Ricky that did an escape routine with a real straight jacket that he somehow procured from a mental institution. knowing that we were going to be covering her figure with the jacket I picked a model with great legs. Alicia Carper who I had not met before was cast for this shoot. Alicia was such a trooper letting our hair stylist Pamela Ann cut her bangs in a very choppy and frantic fashion. Alicia also has great lips and eye which is funny because given the subject matter we smeared her lipstick and gave her a pair of sunglasses that Kurt Cobain was famous for wearing. At her feet are pill capsules filled with gold glitter with one side painted black. I knew given how we were shooting the images that the pills would not show up but I knew they were there.

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Lithium:

I'm so happy because today
I've found my friends
They're in my head
I'm so ugly, but that's okay, 'cause so are you
We've broken our mirrors
Sunday morning is everyday for all I care
And I'm not scared
Light my candles in a daze
'Cause I've found god
Hey, hey, hey

I'm so lonely but that's okay I shaved my head
And I'm not sad
And just maybe I'm to blame for all I've heard
But I'm not sure
I'm so excited, I can't wait to meet you there
But I don't care
I'm so horny but that's okay
My will is good
Hey, hey, hey

I like it, I'm not gonna crack
I miss you, I'm not gonna crack
I love you, I'm not gonna crack
I killed you, I'm not gonna crack

I like it, I'm not gonna crack
I miss you, I'm not gonna crack
I love you, I'm not gonna crack
I killed you, I'm not gonna crack

I'm…

I'm so happy 'cause today
I've found my friends,
They're in my head
I'm so ugly, that's okay, 'cause so are you,
Broke our mirrors
Sunday morning is everyday for all I care,
And I'm not scared
Light my candles in a daze
'Cause I've found god

Yeah, yeah,
Yeah, yeah,
Yeah, yeah,
Yeah, yeah,
Yeah, yeah,
Yeah, yeah, yeah

I like it, I'm not gonna crack
I miss you, I'm not gonna crack
I love you, I'm not gonna crack
I killed you, I'm not gonna crack

I like it, I'm not gonna crack
I miss you, I'm not gonna crack
I love you, I'm not gonna crack
I killed you, I'm not gonna crack

Pamela Ann and I putting the finishing touches on Alicia as Rebecca looks on.

Pamela Ann and I putting the finishing touches on Alicia as Rebecca looks on.

For “Pennyroyal Tea” we actually had to reshoot it which worked out better. To Rebecca's credit she wasn't happy with the lighting so we decided to reshoot it. In the original shoot the model was sitting which made sense per the song lyrics but visually with the other images we decided it would be better to have her standing. Alexxandria Richter was our model and she agreed to come back in for the reshoot. In the song he talks about anemia so I gave Alexx a nasty bruise on her leg. Tea generally has steam so I wanted it to have a surreal look to it so we used dry ice so the "steam" would flow down instead of up. given the anemia I used fake blood instead of tea knowing it would show up on the tea bag. With the way the dry ice bubbled it splattered blood specks all over her hand and arm creating a really cool effect. I gave her a very dark smoky eye and dark burgundy lip with some hard contour to give her a darker look. We even used my great grandmother’s antique tea set.

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Pennyroyal Tea:

I'm on my time with everyone
I have very bad posture

Sit and drink Pennyroyal Tea
Distill the life that's inside of me
Sit and drink Pennyroyal Tea
I'm anemic royalty

Give me a Leonard Cohen afterworld
So I can sigh eternally
I'm so tired I can't sleep
I'm a liar and a thief

Sit and drink Pennyroyal Tea
I'm anemic royalty

I'm on…

I'm on warm milk and laxatives
Cherry-flavored antacids

Dry Ice in Fake Blood

Dry Ice in Fake Blood

Sit and drink Pennyroyal Tea
Distill the life that's inside of me
Sit and drink Pennyroyal Tea
I'm anemic royalty

a selfie of Rebecca, Alexx and I

a selfie of Rebecca, Alexx and I

Heart Shaped Box was the first image we imagined and shot. The lyrics are strange and all over the place so I picked and chose what I wanted and what I felt would portray the song. Since it was no where near Valentine's Day we couldn't find a heart shaped box anywhere. Rebecca actually made the heart shaped box for the shoot. I bought a bunch of night crawlers to fill the box with to represent the worms eating away at decay after death. Kassandra did great with the worms and we found out that they would ball up on themselves so she kept having to mix the worms up to cover the bottom of the box. I gave her a really clean beauty look using a lot of golds so that the black "cancer" crawling up her arm would appear that much more sinister. Kassandra agreed to go full nude to display the vulnerability we need for the look. After the shoot we released the earth worms into Rebecca’s garden

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Heart-Shaped Box:

She eyes me like a Pisces when I am weak
I've been locked inside your heart-shaped box for weeks
I've been drawn into your magnetar pit trap trap
I wish I could eat your cancer when you turn black

Hey!
Wait!
I've got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice
Hey!
Wait!
I've got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice
Hey!
Wait!
I've got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice, your advice

Meat-eating orchids forgive no one just yet
Cut myself on angel hair and baby's breath
Broken hymen of your Highness, I'm left back
Throw down your umbilical noose so I can climb right back

Hey!
Wait!
I've got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice
Hey!
Wait!
I've got a new complaint
Forever in…

Hey!
Wait!
I've got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice
Hey!
Wait!
I've got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice
Hey!
Wait!
I've got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice, your advice

She eyes me like a Pisces when I am weak
I've been locked inside your heart-shaped box for weeks
I've been drawn into your magnetar pit trap trap
I wish I could eat your cancer when you turn black

Earth Worms for the Heart Shaped Box

Earth Worms for the Heart Shaped Box

Hey!
Wait!
I've got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice
Hey!
Wait!
I've got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice
Hey!
Wait!
I've got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice, your advice, your advice, your advice

Kassandra, Myself and Rebecca filling pretty good after the first shoot of the project. 

Kassandra, Myself and Rebecca filling pretty good after the first shoot of the project. 

It is really interesting to revisit old shoots but this one holds a special place in my heart. It was amazing getting to colobarte so much with Rebecca which made us become very close friends and understand each other better. This is now over three years ago so of course I look back and see things I would do differently now. These photos are a moment in time though, like the music they are based on, like the things I was feeling and the colabortion of the summer on 2015 and I am still proud of them.

Holiday Treats: Team Demon Fabulous Makup Challenge

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"Success is never owned, it is rented and rent is due everyday" -Rory Vaden

 

Our makeup team at the Devil's Attic, (http://thedevilsattic.com) "Team Demon Fabulous" won several awards this past haunt season. That being said I do not want us to rest on a laurels and fall behind on our skills. I read the above quote on some silly Instagram post but it really rang true to me. Makeup challenges are a good way to keep skills up and test our creativity beyond horror based makeups. We have done challenges in the past so I thought it was time to do another. I opened up the challenge to all members of the makeup team, past and present.

 The makeup challenge we came up with was Holiday Treats. No rules other than a due date were handed out which gave everyone over three weeks. Artists could do anything as long as it was inspired by holiday treats in some way. For anyone that has seen or followed my work I don't really ever do bright and cheery things, not even in beauty makeup. At least doing bright and cheery things is not what I am known for. I could have turned the holiday theme on it's ear and made it something dark but I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted my makeup to screamed "Christmas"!

 The idea I came up with was a gingerbread person and peppermint with a day of the dead twist. Adding in some day of the dead elements I thought would live'en it up a bit, pardon the pun. I had to be careful not to go to far into "Day of the Dead" and loose the look of the Holidays. Doing more of a beauty eye and a more circular shape to the nose would keep it from going to far in the direction of a skull. After sketching it out I was able to see how to execute this look.

Rough Sketch of my Makeup

Rough Sketch of my Makeup

(artist portions)

Before I get to my makeup I first want to showcase the amazing makeups of Team Demon Fabulous. Kelsey Eisenhut had been with me since the beginning when I first started on the makeup team. When I took over the makeup team in 2015 she quickly became my right hand.  I was sad to see her leave when she had to move to Indianapolis after the 2016 season. She is still a member of the team and she never shies away from a challenge.

Here is what Kelsey had to say, " When we were issued the challenge of Christmas Treats I was so excited and immediately a thousand ideas started dancing around in my head, not unlike sugar plums.

Often I find that my main problem when designing a makeup is too many ideas, making it hard to create continuity and cohesion in the look. In this particular situation I was able to find a solution that allowed me to use as many different ideas as I wanted because what is more open concept and eclectic than a gingerbread man.

I knew there was a possibility that another artist would pick the same theme so I wanted to make sure I made it my own by bringing in not only makeup but also 3d crafted elements as seen in the gum drop buttons and candy cane bow. I also wanted to make sure I brought in enough different candy elements to make it recognizable without overcrowding the canvas.

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I was lucky enough to find a photographer that was willing to photograph my look, the wonderful David McKenna and the final product is something I hope Santa would be proud of!" Kelsey also used a pair of Primal Colored Contact Lenses in "Lizard King" to make her look pop.

Photo: David McKenna  Model and Makeup: Kelsey Eisenhut  

Photo: David McKenna

Model and Makeup: Kelsey Eisenhut  

Photo: David McKenna  Model and Makeup: Kelsey Eisenhut

Photo: David McKenna

Model and Makeup: Kelsey Eisenhut

Phoebe Conrad was with Team Demon Fabulous for the last two years. She was the youngest person we've ever had on the makeup team and was a great addition. Phoebe was always eager to help out when needed and kept the haunt in healthy snacks. She is leaving us to go to Cinema Makeup School and to live in Los Angeles.

We wish Phoebe all the luck out in California and this is what she had to say about her makeups,  "My 2018 holiday makeup challenge submissions are Crisp Kringle and Reba Ribbon! Inspired by the classic holiday candies Crisp Kringle chocolate bar and hand made ribbon candy. Two of my favourites growing up!

Model: Alicia Carper  Photo and Makeup: Phoebe Conrad  

Model: Alicia Carper

Photo and Makeup: Phoebe Conrad  

Model: Kyle Howell   Photo and Makeup: Phoebe Conrad

Model: Kyle Howell 

Photo and Makeup: Phoebe Conrad

Lauren Bradley was with us for the 2016 season. She was such an asset to the team and we were all upset to see her go. She always added a bit of her own flare to her makeups and her snarkiness always added a nice dry sense of humor to the team dynamic. We were all sad when she left. 

Lauren doesn't usually like to talk about the makeups she does but had this to say, "I’m closing at work and I literally have no time to write why I did what I did in a nice manner but I chose the sugar plum fairy for obvious reasons. My team was fantastic. I made the bodysuit with rhinestones, holographic glitter, and puffy acrylic paints. I got glitter all over Clay and Alex's house and I felt pretty bad about it but they didn’t seem to care. I made the sugar plums with some recipe I found online. They were pretty cute and tasted like apple pie, but unfortunately contained no plums because I didn’t have any and was on a time crunch. They also had edible glitter, so that’s neat I guess. Andrea also let me borrow her bioglitz for the eye makeup and I’m in love. Enjoy."

Photo: Andrea Gabriel   Model: Alex Hepfinger  Makeup and Costuming: Lauren Bradley  

Photo: Andrea Gabriel 

Model: Alex Hepfinger

Makeup and Costuming: Lauren Bradley  

 Photo: Andrea Gabriel   Model: Alex Hepfinger  Makeup and Costuming: Lauren Bradley

 Photo: Andrea Gabriel

Model: Alex Hepfinger

Makeup and Costuming: Lauren Bradley

I have wanted to work with Kesley Moorefield as a photographer for sometime now. I have done her makeup as a model but her beauty photography is some of the best I have seen so I was excited when she agreed to shoot this look. Kesley brought in model Kerragan Fleming for this look. I started off by painting Kerragan's face brown in the shape of a half skull. I then airbrushed in some highlights and lowlights and adding a light dusting of metallic gold airbrush paint to give that golden brown look. After doing the eye makeup I still felt it needed some shimmer so I added a lot of gold and bronze highlighter. I then roughed in some white around the border of the gingerbread to mimic icing then topping it with iridescent highlight to give that sugary look.

Photo: Kesley Moorefield  Model: Kerragan Fleming

Photo: Kesley Moorefield

Model: Kerragan Fleming

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To give the makeup and extra ordinary look I cut out the teeth and peppermints on her cheeks from glitter card stock. The peppermint design on her lower jaw and neck probably took the longest getting the lines all straight measuring it out using my knuckles for spacing. I then hit the white with silver metallic airbrush paint and the red with a metallic lilac to highlight it. EBA Performance makeup (http://www.europeanbodyart.com) makes a ton of really great metallic airbrush paints if you are in the market. I capped off the bottom of the peppermint with a spider web like scoop pattern to subtly bring in the traditional spider webs used in day of the dead designs. The finishing touches were an awesome green wig courtesy of Lauren Bradley and red out X-Ray lenses from Primal Contact Lenses (https://us.primalcontactlenses.com/) to mimic the look of red hot candies and maybe add a slight bit of creepiness. I even added some gold flake for a bit of holiday flare.

Photo: Kesley Moorefield  Model: Kerragan Fleming

Photo: Kesley Moorefield

Model: Kerragan Fleming

I am supper happy with the way my makeup came out and the amazing job Kesley did. Team Demon fabulous also turned in some amazing work and I am super proud of them. Going forward into 2019 I am excited to hopefully keep these challenges going, keeping brushes in our hand and pushing our creativity. I am looking forward to the challenges the 2019 season will bring us and meeting those challenges with this amazing team of artists head on. We don't own our success but we have signed the lease and are ready to make payments!

 

Happy Holidays to All!

Matt Goodlett

SFX Makeup Manager, Team Demon Fabulous

Lucifer

 "All photos by Danny Alexander unless otherwise stated"

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As people who work in a  haunted attraction we don't really get to celebrate Halloween or even have time  to plan out a costume. Back in 2015 the Monster Bash was started. Monster Bash  is a big party that happens about two weeks after Halloween where all of the  haunted attractions in the region are invited to come celebrate Halloween  and the haunt season. A lot of people dress up for this party since they don't  get to dress up during the season in a costume of their choosing. With it being  a Halloween party for people that work in the Halloween industry you can only  imagine some of the costumes and makeup you see.

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I have never been interested in dressing up for  Monster Bash. I always looked at it as a opportunity to network with other  makeup artists to talk shop and thought that showing my face was better suited  for such things. As much as I love everything Halloween I find wearing most  costumes and makeup to be uncomfortable. This year for whatever reason I felt  the need to dress up. Our Makeup team at the Devil's Attic (http://thedevilsattic.com) is called Team Demon Fabulous. It  was a no brainer that we all go as demons. This would all give us the  opportunity to do our own style of makeup.

With their being many different demons none of us  had to really look the same, it could all be our own design. The one unifying  feature we would all have was our demon's sigil on our foreheads. I chose the  demon Lucifer. Through a little bit of research I found that Lucifer was the  demon of pride. I started looking at inspiration photos and drawing ideas from a  lot of different places. Not that there is anything wrong with red demons but  not only had I already done one months ago but our Devil at the haunt is red and  I didn't want to appear that I was trying to take his throne.

I had seen trailers for the new Fantastic Beasts  movie and was really inspired by the look of Johnny Depp's character  "Grindelwald". His silvery white hair was striking and I knew that was something  I wanted my demon to have. I knew a spray in color would look terrible and  probably flake off all over my black clothes. I also knew finding a wig that  color and length would be extremely difficult. To achieve what I wanted I was  going to have to bleach my hair. My hair is not the darkest shade of brown but  it took two rounds of bleach and a blue toner to knock the yellow down to get  the desired silvery grey color.

Promo Photo of Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Promo Photo of Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

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I let the new color of my hair dictate the color  tones of my demon makeup.  Using EBA Performance Makeup Endura airbrush paint  (http://www.europeanbodyart.com) I based myself in pale blues  and lavender which got me in the right pallet for the look. I contoured with a  darker purple. To really bring in the silver look I added an iridescent high  lighter to heighten my features. It doesn't really show up in photos but I also  used a shimmery purple eye shadow on my upper lid. I then smudged in just a bit  of red shadow on the lower outer corned of my eyes to not only give my eyes a  slightly irritated look but to bring out the lime green in my mostly black  "Storm" lenses from Primal Contact Lenses (https://us.primalcontactlenses.co).  This pale look to me  gave to idea of being burned so long in hell to have all of the color like when  charcoal turns white. Also it made since to be pale as Lucifer is known as "the Light Bringer".


I don't feel that all demon's need horns. That  being said I do feel like the demon Lucifer needs horns. After looking at a lot  of store bought horns I couldn't find any that really grabbed my attention. I  didn't want a coned horn I wanted something a bit more organic and gnarled  looking, almost like an antler. I posted something on Facebook looking for  different places I hadn't thought of to look for horns. Richard Teachout with  Asylum Props offered to let me come out to their studio and make my own.

I have applied prosthetic appliances before but I had never made my own so I  was excited to learn a new skill. With this being my first sculpt I am glad it  was something small and organic looking. They aren't perfect but they didn't  need to be. I was happy how my horns came out.

 

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photo of Wes Borland 

photo of Wes Borland 

With Lucifer being the demon of pride I wanted  him to have some type of "war paint" as I called it. Not so much to go to war  but to basically show off. Guitarist Wes Borland was my inspiration for this  facet of the makeup. Just because I don't like Limp Bizkit doesn't make him any  less of an amazing guitarist and the looks he would wear to perform were amazing. They  were sometimes simple in design but bold enough to change the look and shape of  his face. Creating that illusion is what I wanted. I didn't want a lot of  prosthetics on my face for comfort reasons but I wanted people to do a double take not  knowing it was me at first. Blacking out the bottom of jaw with very straight  lines and wearing all black seemed to achieve this. I also used a product called  lip tar to make it look as if tar was dripping from my mouth. This gave the  exact effect I wanted.

As far as costuming went I knew  I wanted to be comfortable. Being a jeans and t-shirt kinda guy I had the idea  of an updated street wear druid look. I wore black boots, pants and a t-shirt.  Now this is pretty much what I wear everyday so it wasn't anything special. To  bring the look into more of that druid feel I add a black infinity scarf and a  long black hooded open cardigan thing. The scarf elongated the black makeup down  into the costuming and with the hood up in all black my bottom jaw all but  disappeared in some lights. It doesn't sound like much of a costume but  with the makeup and vision I had it was very effective and more importantly  comfortable.

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I was very pleased with the  way my demon came out and as a team we really "showed up". Rebecca  Rhodes looked beautifully demonic in her Lilith demon makeup. Rebecca was able  to go with me and sculpt her own horns as well and they came out great. The  amazing Danny Alexander was nice enough to come photograph our makeups before  the party and did this really cool effect where he had us look away and then  into the light creating a ghosting image. Unfortunately Mary Proctor showed up  later and was not able to get photos with us but her Abyss demon was  awesome. Mary even made her own teeth which completely changed the shape of her  face. Portia Greene is kind of an honorary member of our team and while her halo  didn't workout her archangel looked gorgeous. Due to having oral surgery Phoebe  Conrad was not able to participate in the makeups but I would have loved to have  seen what she came up with. As Phoebe leaves us to go to Cinema Makeup School I  am excited to see all of the things she creates in the future. Maybe one of her  creations away at school will be a demon, we will see.

Rebecca Rhodes as Lillith

Rebecca Rhodes as Lillith

Selfie of Mary Proctor’s Abyss Demon on herself

Selfie of Mary Proctor’s Abyss Demon on herself

Portia Greene as an Archangel 

Portia Greene as an Archangel 

the Squad

the Squad

Our team was also able to secure a few  awards for our haunt as well. With Lauren Perry as our seamstress we took home  the Highest Rated Costuming award. We also snagged Best Makeup for the team and  my Egyptian Godess/Priestess Makeup won us the Best Character Makeup. We were also the only haunt to get a 10 out of 10 for anything which happened to be costuming and makeup from Body Bag Reviews! I am very  happy with our 2018 season and am ready for the changes and challenges that the  2019 season will bring.   

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Van Gogh

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“I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.” -Vincent Van Gogh

I met Rebecca Rhodes years ago. We had met on a Facebook makeup group and became fast friends. Back then I hadn’t really done that many body paints and certainly would not have called myself a body painter but it was something that interested me. At the time I was doing a lot more fashion editorial and avant-garde looks. I don’t know that I would call myself a body painter now even, but I love challenging myself. Speaking of challenging myself around the time Rebecca and I met I was gearing up for a body paint competition so it became one of our topics of conversation. We talked about doing body paint together someday with her as my model. That led into, what would I paint. I stupidly asked what she would want to have painted on her body and without much hesitation she said “Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh.

Van Gogh has been an inspiration to me since I was little. In the art room of my grade school we had a replica of starry night painted on one of our walls that was done by past students and art teachers. I used to stare at that mural all day.

Years later I got to see starry night in person and I remember sitting in the MOMA staring at the painting in complete awe. It was beautiful and precise yet so haphazardly painted it was amazing. So when I met Matt a few years ago and he told me that he was interested in body paint I told him I wanted to be painted like Van Gogh's masterpiece.” –Rebecca Rhodes

When I am asked who my favorite artist is I can never name just one. Even though I have so many I draw inspiration from I  always say three names; Andy Warhol, Norman Rockwell and Vincent Van Gogh. They are all very different artists but I like them all. When Rebecca mentioned “Starry Night”, on the outside I confidently said yes but inside it scared the hell out of me. “Starry Night” is one of the most famous and recognizable paintings in history, which is a master-work by one the greatest artists to ever hold a paintbrush. The idea of having to paint that on a curved body was scary enough. Then add in a heavy time constraint seeing as how you can’t have a model stand for days on end sounded daunting. I remained confident outwardly and put the idea on the back burner.

Since then Rebecca and I have become very close and have a great working relationship. We have also done quite a few body paints together since we talked about the Starry Night years ago. Not to say Starry Night hadn’t been brought up over the years, mainly by her but we never planned it out. This time of year I am working at the Devil’s Attic ( http://thedevilsattic.com ) as the Makeup SFX manager where Rebecca is also doing makeup with our two other amazing artists Mary Proctor and Phoebe Conrad. I love our team and we have become a family. I enjoy doing the makeups at the haunt and we all try to put as much of a personal signature on the characters as we can. Throughout the week I miss my creative outlet so I told Rebecca I wanted to do body paint but I didn’t really have any ideas. “Well, we never did do Starry Night” She said.

It took three years of talking about it but we finally decided that it was time.” –Rebecca Rhodes

“I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.” -Vincent Van Gogh

I knew Starry Night would come back around and I also knew I couldn’t back away from it any longer so I agreed. Rebecca is a great makeup artist herself so I suggested we collaborate. I would do the body paint and she would do the face makeup. Our mutual friend Danny Alexander also agreed to photograph the body paint. I knew he was the guy to capture this look. I have recently been doing a lot of super hero body paints which consist of very hard and graphic lines. With “super suits” there is not a lot of room for artistic interpretation. Everything has to be very tight and precise and lots of airbrushing details. With Van Gogh as scary as it was I thought it may be nice to do something a bit more loosely and free form. Me being the idiot I am I spouted off, “Why not do “Starry Night” on the front, “Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette” on the back, and the “Sunflowers” on the butt and back of legs?”

“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” -Vincent Van Gogh

As we got closer to the day I was seriously reconsidering my idea of doing three paintings on one body in one day. She said she could and was willing to stand that long but I did not want to do that to her. The Skull is one of my favorite Van Gogh Pieces but I was willing to sacrifice it for the sake of time. I merely suggested the sunflowers because I thought they would fit well. Starting painting at noon knowing our amazing photographer and friend Danny ( https://dannyalexanderphoto.com/ ) would be there at 4pm. That gave us 4 hours not only for the body paint, but for the beauty makeup as well. I really wanted to do the Smoking Skull but only if I had enough time.

Of Course Van Gogh never used an airbrush so I knew I wasn’t going to be using that. Not only that, but his paintings are known for their very heavy and chunky brush strokes. I wouldn’t be able to get my paint as thick as his because body paint has a tendency to crack if you get it too heavy. Using nothing but airbrush at the haunt (which I love) I knew using nothing but brush strokes would be a nice break.

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“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” -Vincent Van Gogh

I started by blocking out a light blue for the sky. It looks to me like he started with a darker color and layered on top. I had a feeling starting with black or something darker may cause the paint to mix and get muddy. I knew I would later be using different darker blues and black to build up depth so I knew the lighter base would give the look I wanted. I was going to go color by color. Starting with the lighter colors for the most part and working my way up to the darks. “Starry Night” is a horizontal painting, so I knew going in that I was going to have to change some things working on a slender vertical body. I decided to omit the houses and buildings in the village. When I think of “Starry Night” I can’t recall ever thinking about the buildings. I knew I couldn’t hit every detail so I decided to put my efforts into areas that would make it as recognizable as possible. Color by color it started to come together, and a lot faster than I expected.

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“If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” -Vincent Van Gogh

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I was very happy with the way that Starry Night turned out and given the time I thought I would give “Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette” a shot on Rebecca’s back. In Rebecca’s words, “We decided that we would also add a second painting done by Van Gogh in order to make the most of the experience. The Skull Smoking a Burning Cigarette was a painting I hadn’t been super familiar with but I saw it and knew it was perfect.” I didn’t have the correct color pallet but I thought I could get pretty close and if it looked terrible we just wouldn’t photograph it. Same as before I started with the lighter colors and worked my way up. I blobbed the basic shape of the Skull on first. I wanted it to take up most of her back. In doing so I didn’t leave myself a lot of room to do the sternum and ribs. Normally the last color I paint is black because it will cover anything but putting in the pops of white highlight at the end was the way to go with this piece. I tried to add in some of the paintings imperfections too because they are some of the things I love about it: Imperfections like the stray brush stroke on the back of the skull, and how the paint is a bit fuzzy on the top of the head. I spatter painted on some yellow to give the idea of some of the bare canvas showing through.

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Danny as always was able to photograph the pieces and Rebecca’s makeup and makes us look good. My “Starry Night” is not perfect but I think when people see it they will know exactly what it is. Rebecca’s beauty makeup matches the painting and over all feel of the body paint perfectly while still staying within her own style.

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My version of “Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette” is far From perfect. Luckily it’s not one of Van Gogh’s more famous pieces or the mistake would be more apparent. Looking at it now I wish I would have taken the sternum and rib cage down on her butt. One of my favorite things about the Van Gogh version though as I stated before are the imperfections and how it looks a little unfinished. It was one of his earlier pieces and just has an awesome raw feel to it. I hope I was able to capture that vibe.  Van Gogh’s Original painting aside I really like my skull.

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While standing for hours isn’t my favorite thing it was so worth it. Matt did a beautiful job and I was so happy with it.
 

Danny also did a fantastic job when it came time to bringing these photos to life. The way he helped me to pose brought out the shape of the paint beautifully and I’m so happy he was willing to shoot this. 

All in all I’m so happy I finally got to do this and I’m really happy I got to be a part of the creative process.” –Rebecca Rhodes

I am so happy we were finally able to do this painting. It’s always good working with Rebecca and the fact that we were able to collaborate made it that much better. I cannot thank Danny enough for always coming through and making me look good. I love the way this turned out and couldn’t be more proud. Until Next time!

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“One must work and dare if one really wants to live.” -Vincent Van Gogh

Spider-Woman

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This past February my buddy Katya Estes and I went to an art and fashion show. She is a model but neither of us were there to work the show. We were there just to have a good time and a good time we had. The drinks were overpriced but our tickets were free so we felt that offset our cost enough to get a decent buzz. The trouble is that Katya is an amazing model and when one of the designers found out she was there they wanted her to walk in the show. Mind you this was after both of us already had several drinks. The other problem was all of the makeup artists were all done doing makeup and wanted to enjoy the show themselves. A makeup artist by the name of Kayla Maxey let me work out of her kit. At the time the makeup looked good to me but I was more than a few drinks in. Looking at the photos the next day I was a bit embarrassed. Luckily Katya can make anything look good.

There are very few people I would let work out of my makeup kit, especially unsupervised so I was very appreciative to Kayla and we have kept in touch. It turns out Kayla is also a model. After seeing some of her work I asked if she would ever be interested in body paint. It’s always a strange question to ask someone but she seemed to be excited about the idea. All I had to do then was figure out what to paint. I really enjoyed doing my Spider-Gwen, and Venom body paints so sticking to the Spider-Verse seemed the way to go.

Spider-Gwen:  Photo: Alexandra Lee Brumley  Model: Melanie Smith  Wig: Matthew Tyldsley    Venom:  Photo: Danny Alexander  Model: Rebecca Rhodes

Spider-Gwen:

Photo: Alexandra Lee Brumley

Model: Melanie Smith

Wig: Matthew Tyldsley

Venom:

Photo: Danny Alexander

Model: Rebecca Rhodes

I knew I didn’t want to do the traditional Spider-Man suit or and of it's derivatives. Spider-Girl's suit is way to similar to the red and blue webbed Peter Parker Spidey suit. Turns out there are a lot of characters in the Spider-Verse but the one I kept going back to was Spider-Woman. Her suit is bold in color with its Red and Yellow/Gold color scheme. The over all design however was a bit simplistic which is why I couldn’t settle on it. The comic book design just looked too easy and flat which felt pointless to do as a body paint. It looks good in the comics but as a body paint it did nothing for me.

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Then it struck me how Miguel Mercado ( @merkymerx on Instagram ) did the Spider-Gwen suit design I ended up painting. He is amazing and I love his work and how he reimagines the characters. Not to mention he’s just an amazing artist. If Norman Rockwell painted comic book characters they would look like Miguel Mercado’s work. After looking through his work I didn’t see a Spider-Woman suit. I sent him a message asking if maybe I over looked it. He sent me a design that I hadn’t seen anywhere else and it was badass! I showed it to Kayla and she agreed.

Miguel Mercado’s Design

Miguel Mercado’s Design

In the original design she wears a mask that only covers her eyes and forehead. The mask has the traditional Spider suit eyes with the addition of a triangle in between them. Miguel’s design had her in Aviator Goggles which made sense seeing as how she’s not a webslinger. She actually has flaps under her arms she uses to glide or fly. I looked all over for goggles to see if there was a way I could modify them. Everything I was finding looked a bit too steam punk. I decided I would paint the triangle on her forehead and do a beauty makeup on her eyes that brought in colors of the suit.

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As I said before Spider-Woman has underarm flaps. I tried to think of ways to do it but they would only look good with her arms outstretched otherwise I couldn’t think of a way to not make it not look sloppy in other poses. Instead of painting the yellow portions of the suit yellow I decided to go with a very yellow gold to stay away from the green undertones of most gold but also not use rose gold which wouldn’t contrast as strongly against the red. I was then able to high light and low light the gold to make it look raised a bit.

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There were a lot of linear panels on the suit which were fun to work out in different shades of red. I then went in and added some high lights to give the high points a bit of a shine. No super suit would be complete without some texturing either. Using my favorite hexagon stencil I popped in some mesh texturing. When I finished the body paint I gave Kayla’s body a light dusting of gold shimmer powder to bring it all together. Miguel’s design even had some pink trim to really make things pop. Given the symmetry super suits have they are always fun to paint and look great if you can get it right. I was really happy with how this one turned out. Danny Alexander did an amazing job as usual capturing the body paint just right. As I said before, Spider-Woman doesn’t shoot webs but she actually shoots these green blasts from her hands which Danny actually added in post. Danny always makes me look good and I couldn’t be happier with how they came out!

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Spider-Gwen

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Sometimes things do not go as planned and you have to play the hand that you are dealt. Months ago I took a meeting with a promoter of sorts. They wanted me to do a makeup exhibition showcasing makeup and body paints by me as part of a bigger convention. I was excited about the venue and the idea but scared at the same time. I was expecting them to want me to curate a show of like-minded artists which I suggested but they only wanted me. The fear was if it wasn’t good it would all be on me, but that was also kind of the fun part. I was going to have to fill a 30 minute runway show with only makeups and body paints by me. It was going to be a lot of work but I thought with the abstract style I sometimes like to work in I could make it work. I was going to call it the “Corvin Arts” which is a surname based on the Latin word Corvus meaning Raven if that gives you an idea of the feel I was going for.

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I don’t like to waste time on these things so I started planning immediately. I cast all of my models and even a stage manager. I wanted a very dark vibe so I was working with a DJ to put music together that would fit the feel I was going for. I even planned on doing a very quick, choreographed and abstract 10 minute body paint as part of the runway show. It was all coming together. I contacted the promoter about advertising for the show since there was a month to go before the event only to find out the date and venue were changing. Not only did the possible dates they were looking at not work for me but things were just to up in the air for me to stay the course. I wished them luck and I pulled out of doing the show. If things were going to go bad I didn’t want my name attached or string along the amazing team I had put together.

Needless to say I was bummed. I messaged my team and told them the show was off. Not only was I embarrassed but I was upset that this vision I had built up in my head may never see the light of day. Luckily they all understood. One of my body paint models, Melanie Smith messaged me outside of our group chat. She knew I was bummed out and had seen on Instagram that I had wanted to do some more super hero type body paints. Comic book character body paints couldn’t have been further from what I was planning for Corvin Arts but still something I wanted to do. The first time I worked with Mel was on a fashion photo-shoot about a year ago and she had mentioned wanting to do a Spider-Man body paint at that time. When I asked her this time what super hero she was thinking of she said “Spider-Gwen”. I honestly had no idea who that character was but upon looking it up I loved the color scheme. Spider-Gwen is the alter ego of Gwen Stacy in an alternate universe where she is bitten by the radioactive spider and not Peter Parker. I had actually done a “bubble gum Vampire/Ghoul” themed body paint on Mel before in close to the same color scheme and even used spider webs.

Photo by Dusty Dunaway

Photo by Dusty Dunaway

We decided to do it on the same date the Corvin Arts show was scheduled. I was excited and I started planning right away. I thought how cool would it be to if I had Alexandra Lee ( https://www.alexandraleestudios.com/ ), the best cosplay photographer around to photograph this body paint. I had wanted to work with Alex for a while so when she said yes I knew we had to make this big. Even though my show was canceled I thought we could make this an event of its own. I decided to stop into the Destination Comics ( http://www.destinationcomics.com/ ). They have a really nice sized room in the back that they use for gaming that I thought would be perfect for painting. When I mentioned the idea to the owner Brian he jumped all over it having seen my Venom body paint with Rebecca Rhodes as the model and Danny Alexander as the photographer ( http://mattgoodlettmakeup.com/blog/2018/5/25/venomiss ). Going from painting such at dark “Spider-Verse” character such as venom to some something as bright as Spider-Gwen was exciting.

Photo by Danny Alexander

Photo by Danny Alexander

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Mel has short brown hair and I knew we would need a wig. I contacted my hair stylist friend and the best wig guy I know Matthew Tyldsley to see if he had something that would work. Mel and Gwen both have blue eyes but I wanted it to be over the top blue like in the comics. Primal ( https://us.primalcontactlenses.com/ ) makes these great blue lenses called “Captain Superhero” that I knew would be perfect which they agreed to send me. While I was at it I thought I’d push my luck  and see if my friends at EBA Performance Makeup ( http://www.europeanbodyart.com/professional-makeup/ ) would be interested in being part of this. They offered to send me some paints and with that I was set.

I started looking around and I was finding different suit designs. They all had spider webbing but none had a spider on them which was kind of a letdown. Don’t get me wrong, there is no spider on her suit in the comics but it just looked a little simple for a body paint. I was lucky enough to come across a design that was drawn by an artist that never appeared in the comics. Miguel Mercado ( IG: @merkymerx ) had done this awesome suit design that included a spider spanning the whole chest and back. Miguel does a lot of really cool alternate superhero designs that add a different element but still stay true to the character. His Spider-Gwen design was way more dynamic looking than any of the designs I had seen. I understood it wasn’t cannon but it looked cool. In his drawing you could tell by the face he had designed this look for Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy character from the Andrew Garfield Spider-Man movie. Matthew Tyldley even cut and styled the wig in accordance with Miguel’s sketch.

Miguel Mercado’s Design

Miguel Mercado’s Design

I started by doing a fairly simple beauty makeup on Mel. I put white in her waterline to not only to give it a more open look but it would complement the blue contacts and make them pop. Before I started the body paint I airbrushed a tan color in alcohol based makeup to cover her tattoos. I knew I would have a hard time covering her tattoos with just white paint, and the water based makeup wouldn’t be able to wipe away alcohol based paint. I had done a Venom body paint as seen above and the spider across the chest on Miguel’s design had some similar forms. That said there was an extra color to consider which doesn’t sound like a big deal but for my sleep deprived brain it turned out to be. I also wasn’t going to paint the hood which also changed a few things. Instead of their being white above the spider like in the drawing I would bring the purple on the neck down onto the chest to the top of the spider since the hood wasn’t there to break up the white to the neck. Black is always the last color I paint because it will cover anything. I wanted to start with the white so I was essentially painting the spider in reverse. For whatever reason painting the negative space spider in white while conforming it to her body and matching it up with the one on the back which was a different spider design altogether confused me more than it should have. Several times I had to wipe things away and re-sketch things. Once I got the white placed it was fairly smooth sailing, not to say it wasn’t time consuming. The purple got an overlay of fluoro pink airbrush paint with a hexagon stencil to give it that super suit texture. Then on top of that went the blue webbing. Each color got a different stencil overlay to create different fabric textures.

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With all of the little details it took longer than I expected but I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. In Mel’s words, “This body paint was an incredible experience to say the least! I was thrilled that Matt wanted to do Spider-Gwen, as I’m a huge Spider-Verse nerd. That and his superheroe work is incredible, so I knew the paint would turn out perfectly. The whole day was just a fun setting, chatting about comics and superheroes. The body paint was stunning and we had the best photographer for the images. I’m always sad to wash off the body paint after modeling them, but this one was especially hard. Matt captured Spider-Gwen perfectly and I think our rendition of her was spot on. It was a blast bringing her character off the pages of comic books and into real life.”

Photo By Alexandra Lee

Photo By Alexandra Lee

Alex again proved that she is the best cosplay photographer in the region. Mel was the perfect Spider-Gwen and Matthew Tyldley matched the wig perfectly. We could not have had a better team for this photo-shoot. I can’t thank the guys at Destination Comics enough for hosting our craziness. We are in talks about doing another comic book character body paint at their shop and I can’t wait! Until then I hope you all enjoy this body paint as much as we do.

Photo By Alexandra Lee

Photo By Alexandra Lee

Disney Villains: TDF Challenge

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Once you are on the Team Demon Fabulous makeup team I will always consider you as a member of the team as long as you leave on good terms. My second year as the makeup manager at The Devil’s Attic ( http://thedevilsattic.com ) was when I felt I started to slip into my groove. It was also when I came up with the name Team Demon Fabulous (TDF) for our makeup team. That same year Lauren Bradley joined our team. She came in as more of a beauty makeup artist but I had seen her do some more avant-garde looks which I loved and I knew she would do well. She far exceeded my expectations. She was only with us the 2016 season and we were sad to see her go.

Lauren came to the team with a makeup challenge. The challenge she laid out was that we would all do Disney Villains. There were really no rules other than that. You could do it straight up like the character or let the character inspire you in any way you wanted. This was a challenge issued to all TDF members, old and current. Unfortunately due to busy summer schedules two of our current member could not participate. That said everyone else was in. Portia Greene even came back for this challenge. Portia was hired early spring of 2017. She did makeup for a few events with us and even when we opened up for one night in June for the Mid-West Haunters bus tour. Unfortunately for us she got another full time job and had to leave before our season started. That all said she is still TDF.

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With all the players in place people started to pick their characters so we didn’t have any overlap. Some were picking more obscure characters I had to look up. That said, no one had picked Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. I have always wanted to do a Maleficent makeup so this was the perfect opportunity.  She kind of embodies the aesthetic I like. I love things that are dark and beautiful and a bit macabre which fit Mal’s look perfectly. Team Demon Fabulous consists of fairly attractive women and then there is me. I figured they were going to be doing makeup on themselves but I knew I could not pull off a Maleficent look, nor did I want to. The first thing I needed was a model. Alex Hepfinger is a model I have used in the past and I knew her face had all the features I needed. Plus she is great to work with and is usually game for my strange ideas.  

The only camera I own is the one on my phone which is a good camera but not for this. Misha Kidwell was awesome enough to offer up his skill and studio to help this Maleficent come to life. Having a great model and photographer I decided it would be good to have an equally awesome hair stylist come in and help. I hadn’t worked with Caleb Yeske in a while but he agreed to come on and do hair. Now with a great team in place I really had to deliver on my end of the deal.

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First up we have Lauren’s look which is only fair since this is her challenge. I am so happy that Lauren wanted to include her haunt family in this challenge. When she first came to the team in 2016 I was worried she wouldn’t get into it. After a really bad injury earlier in the season I was afraid we were going to lose her. Lauren is a perfect example of not judging a book by its cover. She may not look like it but she is a tough badass. That season we had "big bad" male actors dropping like flies for far less injuries yet Lauren never missed a beat. I have never seen the Emperor’s New Groove so I had never heard of Yzma. She ended up doing an Yzma/Kris Jenner hybrid which I thought was hilarious. I had asked everyone to write something about their makeups for this blog and in true Lauren fashion this is what I got, “Hahaha you know I'm not one for sentiment or even offering an explanation for why I do the things I do. It's the element of mystery, confusion, and wtf. Pull the lever, sweetie.”

 

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Kelsey Eisenhut was one of the first members of Team Demon Fabulous and the only member of the team that was on my team for my first year as manager when we were just “The Monster Squad”. She is also one of my best friends. Kelsey unfortunately moved away to Indianapolis the summer of 2017. With the 2 hour commute we unfortunately lost her to distance. She also happened to pick one of the villains I was not familiar with. Madam Medusa from the Rescuers was perfect for her. I will let Kelsey explain her process in her own words, “When we were issued the Disney Challenge I was excited and nervous all at the same time. On the one hand I love Disney and especially Disney Villains as is evidenced by my full leg sleeve. On the other hand I knew I would be performing this makeup on myself and that made me nervous. All issues of vanity that any person deals with aside, a fact I never talk about as a makeup artist is my terrible peripheral vision. I have a very hard time doing a full face on myself due to my inability to fully see out of the corners of my eyes. I have lived with this face for 29 years now and so I do know my face fairly well but it is still an issue for me. With this fact in mind I try to focus on looks focused more in the middle of my face and less on the sides. I have always loved Madame Medusa from The Rescuers and because I am into the obscure thought it was the perfect choice. Knowing my subject and the issues at hand I chose to do a "young" version of Madame Medusa. This would keep me from having to change the shape of my face with excessive contouring which is one of the things I find hard to see with my limited peripheral vision. I knew by going this route I could focus on her iconic makeup, hair, and jewelry keeping the character recognizable while also working around my downfalls.”

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I have always liked the way Portia Greene’s mind works when it comes to her creative makeups. I sought her out for our makeup team nearly a half year in advance before the season even started when I found out Lauren was leaving us. She has a way of adding beauty and horror together which is the aesthetic I like in our haunt makeups. When she picked the Queen of Hearts from Alice In Wonderland I was very curious to see what direction she would go given that she looks nothing like the character. Here Portia explains the inspiration she took, “I took a lot of liberties with my look. I wanted to create a queen turned war general who gives “No Fucks” now.  I used Latin across her face as a war paint saying Cor Comedenti which means Heart Eater. Since Latin is considered a romantic language I thought it was fitting.”

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Last but not least we have Mary Proctor. I love Mary and I am so glad she is on my team. She wasn’t a makeup artist before asked her for the 2016 season. She had such outside the box way of thinking when it came to her weekend burlesque looks I wanted to see what she could do in the makeup room. She is now my second in command and is constantly surprising me with her talent. Mary picked Cruella Deville from 101 Dalmatians. If you know Mary you know this makes sense. If Mary’s not wearing black,  she’s wearing some kind of animal print. I will let Mary explain her look, “I based my look off of 6ix9ine, Post Malone and just sound cloud rappers in general. I believe that humor plays a very important role in art and I try to represent that what I do when I can. I love taking an idea and turning it on it's ear In a funny way.  I learned a lot through this challenge and had a lot of fun too. Can't wait for more so I can keep learning and having fun with my friends” 

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Back to my makeup look, I knew I had to keep the essence of Maleficent but still make her mine. I didn’t want to do a straight up interpretation. First thing to go was the red lips. I just felt while the red lips are iconic they brought to much life to her face. I wanted to focus more on her extreme cheekbones. I also didn’t want to use stock horns because I didn’t want it to look like the movie. I thought I could just make my own horns. Unfortunately that didn’t work out. I had never made papier-mâché horns or anything for that matter and I really underestimated the difficulty level. It took forever to get them the shape I wanted them but I thought they would work.  Leaving them out to dry the night before the makeup I thought I could just paint them in the morning. With the heavy rains that night I guess there was so much moisture in the air that they just fell like a soufflé. With a whole photo-shoot team in place I didn’t have time to try it again. I ran to a local costume shop. I was hoping they would have ram horns or something so it wouldn’t look so “officially licensed” but they were sold out. The next closest thing they had were gazelle horns but they were too small and had no presence. I ended up having to pick up actual Maleficent horns. To make the officially movie licensed horns more custom I tipped them in gold and dusted the rest of the horns with the same paint outside the studio before we shot. With the paint still drying the store bought horns were then placed on Alex's head backwards. This gave it a more evil aggressive look as oppose the horns being swept back. They may not have been our horns but we made them ours.

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Maleficent also has the glowing yellow eyes in the animated movie. Alex has beautiful blue eyes which not only wouldn’t match the character but would get lost in the purplish, bluish undertones of the grey paint I had mixed from EBA Performance Makeup ( http://www.europeanbodyart.com/ ). I decided to use these awesome amber toned contacts from Primal ( https://us.primalcontactlenses.com/ ) which were called the Piranha II – 920’s. After looking them up they actually do look like Piranha eyes which are strangely beautiful for such an ugly fish. I then cut a cheek stencil so I could give her that super over exaggerated contour. I may have gone a bit overboard with it but so are Maleficent’s cheek bones. While showering the morning of the makeup I got the idea to do this super glittery black skin from the neck down. I thought it would look beautiful and Maleficent is a fairy after all. 

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I really love not only how my makeup turned out but how everyone’s looks came together. I really wish during haunt season I could have 7 makeup stations and have us all just churning out hyper detailed haunt makeups. Don’t get me wrong, we do pretty amazing with a four person team and I am always happy with our haunt looks. A boy can dream though can’t he? We won’t have another challenge until probably after haunt season but I am looking forward to the next one and seeing what everyone creates. I am so lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful creative artists and getting to call them team mates.

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Switch

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I am lucky enough to have partnered with Primal Coloured Contact lenses (https://us.primalcontactlenses.com) as one of their makeup artists. They are an amazing company that makes even more amazing contact lenses. Being in the haunt industry I have worked with and seen a lot of lenses and most of the companies designs tend to overlap. Primal has a lot of really cool original designs and they have sent me a very nice selection of lense. As a makeup artist it is very inspiring to come up with looks for all the different lenses. The possibilities of the looks I can create with them are really endless. Luckily I have a good friend (Danny Alexander https://dannyalexanderphoto.com ) who is also an amazing photographer who is willing to shoot my ideas.

A while back I got a message from Avery Grant wanting to know if I had anything coming up I could use her for. Avery happens to be a twin and Danny and I had worked with her and her sister before. The photo of them Danny captured in my makeup about a year ago is still one of my favorite images I have ever worked on. Avery’s face is beautifully androgynous and unique. I had an idea for something I wanted to do but it would require me shaving her head. Avery already had short hair and when I mentioned it, she was game.

Mallory and Avery Grant

Mallory and Avery Grant

Since Danny has been coming over to my home studio to shoot I thought it might be nice to bring in another model for a second look. That being said I wanted to do something completely different than what I had planned for Avery to give Primal some range and to keep things interesting for myself. I messaged my friend Alicia Carper to see if she would be interested. Having been a haunt actor at the Devil’s Attic ( http://thedevilsattic.com ) where I manage the makeup team I knew she would be no stranger to putting in contacts. Plus her face was perfect for what I had in mind.

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After getting a little lost Alicia showed up to my place first. For her I had picked the Contagion I -924 lenses. They are supposed to represent some kind of a disease I am guessing, given the name but I had other plans. Alicia popped in the lenses and they made her big eyes look even bigger. Having worn costume contacts before I wanted to know how the Primal lenses felt in comparison. According to Alicia the Primal lenses were more comfortable and breathed better than what she had worn in the past. Moving on to the makeup I wanted to make her an angel, but my kind of angel. My concept was that demons and angels are cut from the same cloth but fighting for different things. That said the idea was that they would look alike and the way we envision them is only based on what we have been told. Angels being these pure, glowing porcelain skinned beings. Then on the other hand we see demons as these dark twisted monsters. I wanted to show that everything is about perception so I kept it pretty but added in elements to make it a little unsettling. Alicia made this awesome halo crown that helped solidify the idea. The way the contacts brought the look together could not have made me happier.

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When Avery arrived Danny was already getting some amazing shots of Alicia. The lenses I had picked for Avery were the Walking Dead II-935 lenses. They have a very spotty kind of bloody clot look to them, almost coppery in spots. Again I was going against what the contacts were probably designed for. The forms and shapes in the lenses were very organic so I wanted the makeup look to be very hard lined and avant-garde. The night before the shoot I used my girlfriend Heather Day’s face to do a layout. I had bought a bunch of this glittery poster board and I wanted to cut it into strips to attach to her face and head symmetrically. Heather was nice enough to indulge me by letting me put stencil plastic on her face to sketch out a rough design. That way I could cut the shapes the night before and be ready.

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With the shapes precut, the design in my head, and the contacts ready to go it was time to shave Avery’s head.  It’s not every day a model lets you shave their head so it was a bit nerve racking. With a pile of freshly shorn hair on the floor luckily Avery had a nice shaped head. With that it was time to start makeup. With the reds and ambers in the contacts I went with copper and gold accents to really bring it together. I did a dark blue lip to play against the eyes so that both the lips and the eyes would stand out in different ways. All in all it turned out to be a very cool look.

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As an “artist” I never want to be stuck doing one type of makeup and or limit my inspiration. Just like with anything else everything can be repurposed. Just because a makeup brush says it’s for eyeliner doesn’t mean you can’t use it as a detail brush. Just because and airbrush is used to run makeup through doesn’t mean you can’t just run air through it to push paint around like a water color. Rethink your tools and work outside the box. I am sure the designers of the contacts I used did not have what I intended in mind and that’s ok. Primal has a ton of lenses to draw inspiration from and I can’t wait to do more.

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Venomiss

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As a kid I was always a big Spider-Man fan. When Spider-Man switched to the black suit I didn’t know why because I hadn’t read Secret Wars. I liked comic books but I never really read them in order. I just knew I thought it looked cool and I was not happy when he had to get rid of it. As it turned out the black suit was an alien symbiote that would take over its host. That being said it gave birth to a whole new character. Venom was pretty much a huge hulking evil Spider-Man whose Alter Ego Eddie Brock hated Peter Parker and Spider-Man. The stories where they were fighting with each other were some of my favorites. I really enjoyed when they teamed up together to fight Carnage which was an even more evil version of Venom.

Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics

My friend Rebecca and I went to see Infinity War together for my second time and we were excited to see a Venom trailer. Having body painted Rebecca before she commented that Venom would be cool to paint. She was right but I had seen it done so many times before. I feel like it’s almost a rite of passage as a body painter having admired the body paints years before I even thought about body painting. I have seen some really good Venom body paints and some really bad ones. I think my main concern with doing the body paint was landing in the second category. I never shy away from a challenge so I started planning.

Rebecca said, “I have always loved spider-man. From a very young age I thought Toby Maguire was the end all be all and wished I could be in Mary Jane’s shoes. However, Venom has always been one of my favorite Marvel villains. The visual of the symbiote covering Eddie Brock’s body is harrowing and terrifying but it was so cool I couldn’t not watch it every time I saw it. So when Matt and I went to see Infinity War and we saw the preview for the new Venom movie it was like a part of my childhood was coming to the forefront again. I turned to Matt and said “I wanna do that. Lets body paint Venom.” He agreed and I was pumped.” 

Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics

First thing I did was ask Danny Alexander if he would be willing to photograph it. Lucky for me he is a nerd too and I think was excited to shoot a Venom body paint. With the team in place I started planning in my head. Venom is a pretty well-known character so I wanted to stay true to the original design. I knew with all of Rebecca’s thick hair I didn’t want to mess with a bald cap. I thought we could go for a concept where the Venom symbiote was taking over. Doing this I could leave areas of open skin and add more detailing and interest as the black paint appeared to stretched across bare skin.


Rebecca showed up early the morning of the photo-shoot so that we could get started. I had gotten some Monster Pasties for her to wear to give the black a really smooth super suit look. Monster Pasties are great because not only are they made for body paint but they go on very easy. Rebecca was in the bathroom for way longer than it takes to apply the pasties. When I went to check on her I could see the panic in her face. The way you apply the Monster Pasties is kind of like a temporary tattoo. You peel off the plastic, place the center of the pasty over the nipple while pressing firmly making sure all of the edges are down while dabbing a damp wash cloth to release the pasty from the paper. Just like a temporary tattoo if you try to apply it without removing the plastic, you ruin it. Unfortunately this is what Rebecca had done. Knowing we didn’t have a backup pair we just sat there saying curse words under our breath until she just said we would have to go without. Knowing that Danny was coming and the only other option was to cancel we decided to move forward and start painting.

Rebecca said, The day finally came and I pulled myself out of bed at 8:30 on a Sunday morning in order to get painting in time for some events both Matt and I had later on in the day. Once I got to Matt’s place I got ready and prepped for the paint and one of the main steps in prepping for body paint is putting on the pasties. However, me not being fully awake yet I managed to royally screw up one of the pasties. I felt awful and I knew there was no way I could postpone the makeup and shoot because all of us were just too excited. So I got over myself and went fully topless.” 

Behind the Scenes Selfie

Behind the Scenes Selfie

I knew I just had to position everything so that black paint ended up over her nipples which would make them easier for Danny to edit out in post. The first thing I started painting was the gapping mouth Venom is known for. Not only did I know that would be the most difficult part but I knew it would be the center piece as it goes from just under her nose down to her chest with the tongue snaking around her shoulder. Once the mouth was done sans the black I started making out where the open skin sections would be which would let me know how much of the white spider on the chest was needed. I then airbrushed in a brown drop shadow where the black paint/symbiote would meet the skin. Positioning the legs of the spider was easier than expected. It made sense to keep them on the breast for fear of losing the proper shape and flow if I went below the breast. I placed Venom’s eye around Rebecca’s eye instead of over it. No matter how much paint I used Rebecca’s dark eyelash would have still be been visible in Venom’s solid white eye, while painting black over her eye would make it pretty much disappear.

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Once I got all the white painted on the black was smooth sailing. After doing a couple layers of black for a good overall coverage I started to streak the black over the bare skin to make it look like the symbiote was trying to close the holes over the bare skin. Except for the drop shadow I had hand painted everything up until this point. I broke out my airbrush to do some highlights and low lights. I wanted to add some stretching over the bare skin parts and detailed the edges. Using grey, white, and light blue airbrush paint I went in and highlighted and detailed to give the solid black areas a little more depth. I also airbrushed some black to get rid of the harsh line where the tongue disappeared into the throat.

Rebecca said, “3 hours later I was painted and Danny arrived and we started shooting. The paint looked so amazing and I felt like such a bad-ass all thanks to Matt and Danny”

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The way Danny lit the photos really brought everything to life. Danny also brought an apple box. I didn’t know what he had in mind for it but I was still painting when he showed up so I didn’t question it. When he felt we had a good static shot of the body paint we moved to the apple box. He had Rebecca crouch on the box so he could shoot from slightly below her. Posing for body paint is vulnerable enough so I give props to Rebecca because without hesitation she was able to nail the pose which I knew couldn’t have been comfortable in only a thong. Danny wanted an image he could composite to make it look like she was perched on a rooftop. When I saw the image for the first time it looked like to was ripped from the pages of the comic book

Rebecca and I with Poe the Kitten

Rebecca and I with Poe the Kitten

Rebecca said, I don’t consider myself a model but this has got to be my favorite shoot I’ve ever done. I truly appreciate Matt and all his hard work and I thank Danny Alexander so much for helping us create such a cool concept. He also did wonders with helping me to pose and show off the paint in the best way possible. I’m extremely grateful to be a part of this team and I can’t wait to do more body paint modeling in the future.” 

 

Like I said before, I have seen Venom body paints done so many times before. I am not going to say the one I did is one of the best, not by a long shot. That said I am very happy with the paint I was able to do. Danny and Rebecca really made me look like I knew what I was doing. When it comes to body paints I definitely like creating my own thing and doing something that no one has seen before. That said this is my third comic book character body paint and I really love bringing these heroes and villains to life.

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Refraction

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Before my good friend and photographer Chelsea Marrin moved back to Chicago this past February she asked me if I wanted to do one more photo-shoot. During Chelsea’s short time living in Louisville we became very close. We worked on a lot of fun and some very emotionally charged projects together. It was always interesting seeing the crazy setups she would do. She helped me create art to help me through a tough time and I hope I was able to do the same for her. That all said I couldn’t pass up a final opportunity to work with someone I had become so close to. The only time she had available was a Saturday evening. Turns out that Saturday I already had 2 other makeups to do. The first of which was a beauty shoot. Then from there I had a 30-40 minute drive to my next makeup which was the Hindu Goddess, Kali which was character body paint. Knowing that both of my other photo shoots were all so far out and even sprawling from each other I knew I couldn’t pass up working with my friend one last time. I did makeup on her first photo-shoot in Louisville and I wanted to book end it by working on her last.

Wheels were set in motion so we got to planning. The first model we cast was Abbie Purdie who I had worked with a lot recently and she always does a killer job. Chelsea and I knew we wanted to do something wild. The inspiration photos that Chelsea sent me had these crazy shadows and bugs incorporated into the makeup. She thought it would work best with two models. With Abbie being a Tall blonde I though Leah Goforth who is the same height and brunette would be great and the two would complement each other well.

For the bug element we decided to go with bees. We were short on time so I looked around a few place locally to find realistic looking fake bees. Nothing I could find really matched what we were going for. As it turns out finding dead bees intact in the middle of winter was not easy either. I called around to a few places that had hives to see if they had any that had died of natural causes. They did but they were not in good condition. With legs or wings missing they wouldn’t work for the looks we wanted. We needed them to be pristine. I am sure the models were happy I couldn’t find any dead bugs to work into the makeups but that meant we had to rethink our concept.

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Up until we showed up at the studio we didn’t really know what we were doing. I knew we had a great team with great models and Caleb Yeske doing hair. I like going in with a plan but I knew somehow we would be ok. Chelsea had an idea to use this crazy lens for her camera that can warp images and distort light called a Lens-Baby. Chelsea was also shooting through a separate piece of glass to catch the lights reflecting. It’s a really cool effect but I knew with that on top of the gels she was going to be using the makeup would get lost if I didn’t do something drastic.

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I decided to do the makeups almost as if the models were already in gelled lighting. In regular lighting the makeups looked pretty out there, almost like something you would have seen on Star Trek in the 60’s. I gave Leah a purple tone and Abbie a blue tone. I used all cream based makeups because airbrush would have been a little bit to clean of a transition. I thought they were very pretty but also other worldly. It’s important as a makeup artist to take the lights on a photo shoot into consideration. The makeups were extremely pale and blended down the neck to the chest. I used a really heavy copper to contour and then covered them both to finish the makeups off I used a frosted gold shimmer powder. With all of the lights I knew the shimmer would catch the lights and create a really nice effect. Luckily I have worked with Chelsea enough that she trusted that I had an idea of what I was doing.

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We were all looking at the images as they were being taken and they were looking phenomenal.  With the hair, the lighting setup, the crazy lens, makeup and the amazing models we got some really amazing images. I actually like how in the images you can see where the makeup stops and the skin starts. I think it shows how the lights really effected the overall look of the makeups. After the shoot a few of us went out for drinks. We went to a bar that has some dancing and a lot of neon lights. Abbie didn’t take off her makeup and when we got there I think she was afraid people would think she was nuts. The funny thing is with all of the neon lights in the bar she pretty much looked like how the final images turned out.

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