Days of the Dead Horror Convention ( https://www.daysofthedead.com/louisville/ is always fun but this time around was a bit special for several reasons. I was able to do a makeup for Haunters Against Hate, share this crazy convention with my girlfriend Lauren Hughes, and compete in the SFX competition against three other amazing makeup artists. All while representing the Devil's Attic ( http://thedevilsattic.com/darknessfalls/ ). With that said, let's get into it.
Paul Lanner of Haunters Against Hate ( https://www.hauntersagainsthate.com/ ) had received a message from a father about his son Chase who was being bullied at school. Paul being the awesome guy that he is sent him a "Haunters Against Hate; Book of Haunters". Chase was so excited and posed for a picture with the book opened to the page my photo that Donovan Cole shot was on which I thought was pretty cool. Seeing him happy and holding the book opened to a photo of me made me happy.
Paul later reached out to me asking what I would need in order for me recreate the makeup I had done on myself for the book on Chase. Apparently Chase and his family were coming to Louisville frok Chicago for the Days of the Dead Convention and Paul wanted to make it a memorable experience. As a kid that was bullied myself. I moved around a lot as a kid and was in 11 different schools by the time I graduated high school. Constantly being the new kid and being into art made me easy prey. I know how it feels to be bullied so I couldn't say yes fast enough. I told Paul to get me a set of horns to fit his head and we'd make it happen.
A couple of days before the convention Paul messaged me saying that somehow the horns he had ordered were misplaced or had possibly been thrown away on accident. I knew I couldn’t make Chase my mini me Lucifer without horns. I quickly messaged my good friends at Woochie ( https://www.woochie.com/ ) and told them the story. Normally it takes a bit longer to get foam prosthetics shipped out because they don’t just keep a ton of stock laying around. Not to say they aren’t fast but a 24 hour turn around is unheard of. They rushed me out a pair of awesome horns for Chase that would fit his head. Huge thanks to Woochie for coming in clutch.
When we arrived at the convention Lauren and I went straight to the Haunters Against Hate (HAH) booth to get set up. Chase was there with his book in hand so I could sign my photo for him. It’s a bit strange for me to sign or “autograph” but I was more than happy to do it. Chase was dressed in a black suit, white shirt and black tie to match what I was wearing in the photo. Once I got the horns stuck on his head the paint job was pretty simple, especially since Chase sat like a champ. Lauren being an awesome photographer was gracious enough to take photos of the whole experience. Since Chase was too young for contacts Lauren was nice enough to edit in my eyes from my photo wearing primal contacts. Once I was done I thought it was only fitting that chase sign my book which I will treasure.
Chase’s family entered him in the costume contest later that day which gave Lauren and I time to walk the convention floor a bit before his contest. We got to see some pretty cool stuff and meet a lot of cool people. It was awesome to have Lauren there to share the convention with and she seemed to enjoy it. When it came time we went up to watch the costume contest. There were a lot of great costumes in the contest but Chase was able to come out on top.
After Chase’s big win it was time to get geared up for the SFX competition. My good friend and fellow makeup artist Kelsey had showed up at this point to hang out and support. Primal ( https://primalcontactlenses.com/ ) had sent me an awesome pair of their Ghost lenses for Lauren to wear during the competition. Lauren had never worn contacts before though so Kelsey and I who are use to wearing them and have applied them to others tried to get them in to no avail. I knew they would look cool but I also know how frustrating it can be for the person getting the contacts put in. I know the first time I put in contacts it took me a good 40 minutes. Putting your finger let alone a foreign object in your eye can stimulate a strong involuntary urge to clamp your eye shut. It didn’t take me long to get use to it though. Lauren was determined though and finally was able to get them in last minute and they looked fantastic. (side note; the next day Lauren put the contacts back in with no issue)
The other artists I was competing with were Jessie Seitz, Lisa Duval and Draven Marie. All of them are very talented so needless to say I was a bit anxious. We were all given a mystery box of items that Chris Blair the host lovingly refers to as “the Box of Fuckery”. I can’t say too much of what is in the box even though it changes with every competition. That said, imagine you emptied out 4 identical junk draws and threw some Wal-Mart Halloween makeup in a box and there you have it, the Box of Fuckery.
I took what looked like a full face evil clown prosthetic from the box and cut off the bottom half to use the brow piece. With what Lauren was wearing my goal was to create a badass alien. We were all allowed to bring one single tool/item so using my double ended Crown foundation blending brush I brought from home I was able to blend the clumpy cream makeup. I was a bit worried because I could tell the latex I used to blend the prosthetic edges wasn't drying and I couldn't paint the forhead area until it set up. Luckily Lauren kept me calm and with 15 minutes left I was able to paint and blend out the prosthetic with the cream makeup. Completing the look with some war paint and a match stick from the box hanging between her lips to look a bit like Stallone in the movie Cobra I was done.
Looking around at the other makeups I wasn’t sure where I placed. They started with fourth place and worked there way up to first. It was a tense few minutes which I felt Chris kind of drew out on purpose. Who am I kidding he dubbed the mystery box “the Box of Fuckery”, of course he drew it on purpose. Chris was finally down to me and one other artist for first and second place. When he announced her as second place putting me at first I tried to hold it in but I was relieved and excited. I could not have done it without Lauren as my model.
All in all it was a very good weekend. It meant so much to me to be able to do a makeup for such a deserving guy and see how happy it made him and his family and then to see him win the costume contest was the cherry on top. Then to compete in a SFX competition with someone very important to me which would have been enough but then to win was amazing. I want to thank Paul Lanner of Haunters Against Hate for arranging such an amazing experience not only for Chase but for me. As a kid that was bullied myself it was very moving to be able to give what I could and see it received so well. Also thanks to Chris Blair for giving me a shot at redemption. This was a competition that I came in second two years ago so it was nice to finally get the win.