Photographer and documentarian Kory Easterman asked me a while ago if I would be a part of his body paint documentary. He is making the documentary to showcase talent in our region (Kentucky/Indiana/Ohio). Most of the body painting I have done outside of competition has been more of the abstract avant-garde type. Being part of a body paint documentary I knew that style wouldn't fly. While I like how beautiful it can be in it's simplicity, more is usually expected of body painters.
I never declined but only having done more traditional body paints in competition with guidelines I had no idea what to do given free reign. I was scrolling through Instagram and came across a body paint of a skeleton in a tuxedo dancing with a beautiful woman by an artist named Georgina Ryland (@gearginaryland). It was so dark, beautiful and haunting. The way it was painted made me think of Edgar Allan Poe and my love of Ravens.
With that my mind was racing. I started sketching a few ideas. The first of which had the arms covered in pages from a book and the whole abdomen was a gradient graveyard. I sat on that for a while and began chatting with my friend Amanda Danielson with Velvet Rose Vintage who was going to make the head piece. She smartly suggested feathers on the abdomen. To me that was perfect. It was like the wings of the raven which represents death, embracing the grave of Lenore. The weakest point to me though was the arms.
With the wings of the Raven/Death engulfing Lenore I found it fitting that the Model's arms represent a graveyard. After I got it all sketched out I was becoming more and more excited. I had found the perfect model to be my Lenore. Only problem was where to do it. I knew my studio at the Devil's Attic (www.thedevilsattic.com) would be a nice setup and fitting for the macabre. Plus, it just feels like home for me but it has no heater. In early march the weather was a nice and crisp but the basement of a haunted house retained the cold.
I placed space heaters everywhere around my model (one can be seen in the above photo). Our haunt owner Jason, bundled up in his winter coat and knit cap who was there working on a new room even brought us down a propane heater. It looked like a jet engine blowing a blue flame. I had a little glass container of water placed of top of a space heater to use in activating my water activated cake makeups. It was so cold that steam would come off of my brush after dipping it in the hot water. I gotta say, our model was quite the trooper all through out.
I knew if I was going to put this much time, effort and love into something as well as our model's time an Amanda's amazing head piece I wanted and equally awesome picture. Kory would be getting some great footage for his documentary but I wanted a photo. I asked my good friend and amazing photographer Danny Alexander to come photographer it for me.
Lucky for me he said yes and we have this amazing image above to show for it. My girlfriend Tia came along to hang out and watch. As it turned out she was needed. Tia stood in for lighting while I was painting and did a ton of other stuff to help out. I can look at this piece and see areas for improvement on my part. With that said I am very happy with what we were able to pull off. After doing this I actually want to do more body paints and not just for competition sake.
Photographer: Danny Alexander http://www.dannypa.com/
Head Piece: Amanda Danielson https://www.facebook.com/Velvet-Rose-Vintage-281424868648765/
Assistant and BTS: Shatia Rogers
I would also like to thank my sponsors at Crown Brush www.crownbrush.com and Wonderband Systems www.wonderbandsystems.com