Samhain Jane

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I find inspiration everywhere. Usually I get ideas from music which leaves things wide open for me when it comes to creating a makeup. Sometimes I am inspired by the artwork of others though which can be fun when paying homage without out recreating it exactly. I can’t remember who posted it on Instagram but it was a cool line drawing on a pretty but creepy girl. The color pallet was limited and it looked like maybe they used water colors and the for the lines ink. I am a fan of creepy girls and limited pallets so I had to check out more of this artists work. Believe it or not but for a long time I fought against embracing the spookier side of beauty make for fear it would alienate. That said I have recently felt I have been watering my work down to be more palatable, and didn’t realize in doing so I may have been watering myself down.

Some of Justin O’Neal’s Art

Some of Justin O’Neal’s Art

The artist that caught my eye is Justin O’Neal (http://justinonealart.com/ - @justinonealart ) and before I knew it I had scrolled through all of his work. His art is amazing, macabre, simple and has an eerie beauty. They scream Halloween and horror but in an almost story book way. I came across two of his pieces that stood out to me because they were a different color pallet than the rest. Like me, I see O’Neal use a lot of black and red but in these two pieces he used Black and Orange. When I saw them I knew I wanted to translate them somehow into makeups.

Inspiration art by Justin O’Neal

Inspiration art by Justin O’Neal

The first photographer I thought of was Tate Chmielewski. Tate is a great photographer and like me has a love for all things creepy so I knew he would be the guy. In both drawings the subjects appear to be brunette to black hair. I didn’t want to copy the artwork exactly and I wanted to bring in more of that orange feel. Ali Garey is a model I have wanted to work with for a while. She has such a unique face and jawline. With her fiery red hair I knew she’d be perfect. I hadn’t seen her ever do anything spooky in her portfolio so I thought for sure she would turn this project down. I thought I would go ahead and ask and at least give her the opportunity to say “no”. I guess it was more a case that she had never been asked to do anything ghoulish before because she agreed without hesitation.

For the second model I wanted to stick closer to the art and have a dark haired model. With her strong features I knew Blessing Selby would be great. I have worked with Blessing before and knew she’d be game for weird stuff and her facial features were perfect. Blessing is also just awesome to work with and have in studio.

 I do a lot of makeup shoots where we are only shooting head and bare shoulders. After casting the models and thinking I had everything in place I was working on another photo shoot with photographer Steve Squall and the amazing model Lauren Hughes. We were also working with stylist, Tia Kinser and the idea struck me. Tia and I get along well and have a lot of the same taste. It struck me that it may be good to have a stylist on this shoot. At first Tia didn’t think there was enough for her to style on a beauty shoot. That said by the end of the shoot we were working on she was already showing me ideas which were perfect. She picked up on the vibe immediately as I knew she would.

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We decided to do two looks on both models with the first being the more subdued version.  Basically I would be doing alternating Orange/Black eyes with the opposite color on the lips. Tia had this awesome Wednesday Adams style dress with Planchette and Black Cat pins she had put on the collar for Ali to wear. With the Orange shadow on Ali’s eye her natural blue eyes popped.

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For Blessing’s first look Tia had this really cool pentagram bra top for blessing to wear which looked so fitting and cool on her. I did a heavy, sharp black shadowed eye lined in the same orange I had used on her lips. With Ali in the Wednesday dress looking like a Witch from “Sabrina” and Blessing in the Pentagram it looked like she was the demon that Ali was summoning which played perfectly into the second looks.

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For the second look we wanted to really push things a bit. For the piece that inspired Blessing’s look the girl’s head is severed and is dripping with orange blood. I didn’t want to do a severed head but still wanted that feel so I dripped the orange down her throat.  Not in this drawing but in several of O’Neal’s pieces the foreheads appear painted which I thought would look cool with the inverted cross and the flames raising from the eyes.   To mimic the eyes Primal ( https://us.primalcontactlenses.com/ ) had sent me a pair of their Jurassic II-903 lenses. They looked really red in the packaging but once we got them in her eyes they were the perfect shade of orange. Since I dripped paint down her neck Tia couldn’t really put her in any clothes or anything. Inspired by the drawing Tia did bring these awesome pair of horns that she had gotten at a renaissance fair. 

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Ali’s second look wasn’t as out there as Blessings but it still left us some room to play. Tia actually made this amazing bat wing collar for her to wear. After I added a heavy orange blush on her cheeks and the tip of her nose I topped all of the orange with a tangerine Ben Nye Lumiere powder. This gave all of the orange a nice luminescence. I then drew an X on one cheek and little bats to elevate the look a bit. To really make her look like the drawing Primal sent us their Subzero – 933 Lenses. It was a shame covering up her beautiful blue eyes but the lenses looked so cool and her eyes almost seemed to glow. The lenses really helped complete the look.

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I am so happy with the way these images turned out. Tate killed it as I knew he would. I know I say it every time but I am so lucky to be able to work with such talented people. It still blows me away that I am able to work with people at their level and that they were all my first choices. I think we were able to do our own think and still maintain the ideas that the original artwork was trying to convey. I hope that Justin O’Neal sees these and loves them as much as we do. If you like these go to his Etsy and buy a print! 

"I think being able to inspire other artists, even if they don’t necessarily work in the same medium, is one of the most rewarding things about doing artwork." -Artist, Justin ONeal

( https://www.etsy.com/shop/JustinONealArt )

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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

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

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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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Building the Look

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I wanted to talk a bit about building a look. To me it reminds me a bit of the phrase “cleaning top to bottom”. The reason you clean top to bottom is so when you clean things higher up it knocks the dirt down to the floor. If you swept first and then dusted and or wiped down your counter more times than not you will end up having to sweep again. I know it’s a strange way to think about building a makeup look but in my head I guess it kind of works. When building you generally work your way up from clean and simple and ending on a more dramatic look. This way you don’t have to strip off a makeup to build another, pretty simple right? I guess I look at the complete reapplication of the makeup like going back and sweeping the floor a second time.

Photographer Ahmad Merhi just moved to Louisville Kentucky from Massachusetts. We talked a bit about working together and started brain storming ideas. One of the ideas Ahmad mentioned was a drippy foundation makeup. I have seen a ton of them being done on Instagram so I knew I wanted to go in a different direction. Not only that but I kind of already did one a couple years back with dripping the foundation color down a throat tattoo giving the illusion of her face melting. We talked about it a bit and I started getting the idea that he wasn’t hung up on dripping foundation but just dripping. Once that was settled I asked him if he had a model in mind.

Model Abbie Purdie and I had been doing a lot of shoots together and we work really well with each other. Ahmad had seen our work and when he met me the first time he also met Abbie. Ahmad asked me if I could get Abbie to be our model and without much hesitation she agreed. He and I had already talked a bit about a dramatic drippy makeup concept but Abbie wanted to know if we could do some more fashion type shots before we went crazy with the makeup. I was totally into it because I knew I could build the makeup and give use more bang for our buck.

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Looking at the inspiration that Abbie provided I knew a dramatic smoky eye and simple lip would be the way to go. Abbie has beautiful piercing blue eyes so I knew using gold for the drippy portion of the makeup would be perfect to make her eyes pop even more. I could then extend the black from her smoky eye using the same eye shadow. I wanted to give the gold something to stand out against so I used the same black eye shadow on other areas of her face as well as her neck and coloar bone. Then before I started applying the gold I added a bit of glitter on the black areas to give it a little extra pop. The Glitter had a bit of blue fleck in it to bring in the color of Abbie's eyes a little bit more.

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Ahmad changed up the background and the lighting to give it a darker and more dramatic feel. With the makeup built upon and the back drop and lighting changed it looked lik two completely different photo shoots. Ahmad did a killer job handling both concepts in such a short amount of time. I am so glad Abbie suggested to do the other look and that Ahmad was totallu game for it. The change over took no time at all and the results were vast. Building a look can also be something as simple as going from day to night makeup by just adding a little more drama to the eyes and a bolder lip.

Ahmad, Abbie and myself

Ahmad, Abbie and myself

Matt Goodlett Makeup 2018

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I have been going through some personal life changes here recently and not seeing things as I once did. 2017 was a tough year and I am glad to move past it and work on the future. I was questioning a lot about myself as well as the people around me. I know the “New Year” is nothing more than a continuation of time and dates are just a man-made construct but it is hard not to look at it as some kind of marker. I figured it was as good a time as any to look at 2018 as a rebuilding year. It was time to look at myself and figure out what I wanted, why I haven’t achieved it and how to change things in my life to make it happen.

I wanted to do something to symbolically signal not only to myself but everyone else that this was a change. I know it is not a big deal to some but to me my hair has always been a big deal. “I put on a few pounds, at least I have good hair”, “I have a fever blister, at least I have good hair”, “Why did I wear this stupid shirt, at least I have good hair.”, These are the things I would tell myself. When I was in middle school I would carry a collapsible brush in my pocket. Even younger than that my mom would talk me into getting haircuts by telling me I was going to get a “Ponch haircut”. Ponch was my favorite TV character from CHiPs. So as far back as I remember my hair has been important to me.

I am by no means saying my hair is the best but I like it. I’m also not saying that it may be a huge deal from the outside looking in, it’s just hair and it will grow. Everything in life is relative and I understand that. I have buzzed my hair before but it was always for something specific, like charity, or even a Halloween costume and I could explain my reasoning. This time the only way I could explain shaving my head in the middle of winter was that I needed to do something drastic. I knew I would regret it once it was done but that was part of the growth I guess in a strange way.

I felt this called for a new headshot of sorts. My good friend and photographer Danny Alexander had posted an image of a new lighting setup he was working on. If you are a Star Wars fan the lighting may look familiar. It looked amazing and I thought it would be a great way to capture this look I had in my head. I asked if he would be interested in taking my new headshot. I was excited when he said he would because I knew it would make me looker cooler than I actually am. Being a makeup artist I knew I had to do some kind of a makeup on myself. I landed on this idea because to me it signified breaking free of the darkness and trying to let your true colors show.

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I don’t like change but change is the only certainty in life so you better get use it. Change is scary but it has to happen and whether you like it or not it’s going to. If things are stagnant sometimes you need to do something drastic in order to jump start your change. You have to be able to adapt and keep moving. Change is nothing more than growth.

Days of the Dead SFX Makeup Challenge

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I like doing things that challenge me as an artist. I feel like every challenge is a lesson. Win or lose you should learn something. I cannot remember how I came across it but I saw Days of the Dead was doing a Special Effects makeup challenge. Days of the Dead (DOTD) is a horror convention. I had never been before but I was extremely interested. I contacted the promoter Chris Blair, of the SFX Makeup Challenge and it turned out there was no entry fee. With that said you had to submit a portfolio and they would pick the best four artists to compete. I submitted my portfolio and hoped for the best.

Photo By Jeri Mize

Photo By Jeri Mize

Weeks later Chris Blair contacted me and let me know I was one of the four artists that made the cut. That’s when the anxiety kicked in. There is a good and bad thing about this competition and they are both the same thing. No matter how much money and equipment you have or don’t have doesn’t matter. The playing field is evened with one box. Every artist gets one box full of odds and ends you could find around your house and that’s it. The kicker is you have no idea what you have until you are on stage and the hour timer starts. Only then can you open your box which is the bad thing. Well not bad I guess, Just extremely challenging. I liked to go into a competition having a plan. Everyone gets the same items in their box that Chris lovingly calls his box of fuckery. The competition is described as Face Off meets the cooking show Chopped.

Photo by Jeri Mize

Photo by Jeri Mize

Chris later told us we could bring one item, but just one. Airbrush was a no go because it’s technically three things; the airbrush, the hose and the compressor. With that said even if I could have brought it there would have been no makeup in the box to use with it more than likely. I also had thought of a Ben Nye color wheel but later found out that multiple colors weren’t allowed. Coming from doing beauty makeup and knowing I was going to bring model and fellow makeup artist Rebecca Rhodes as my subject I would be able to make an attractive monster. I decided to go with my dual sided domed foundation brush from Crown. I didn’t know if there would be any color makeup or anything in the box but if there was this tool would be invaluable. Fast forward through the weeks of trying to plan for something you can’t plan for and second guessing myself. I went back and forth on my one item. I thought of everything from skin adhesives, gel blood, or even just a black Mehron Paradise paint. I always went back to my first instinct with the dual sided brush.

Photo By Jeri Mize

Photo By Jeri Mize

The morning of the competition came and my friend and fellow artist Kelsey and I grabbed some breakfast before we hit the convention. Since the competition wasn’t until 6pm we had plenty of time to look around. There were a ton of awesome vendors and some really cool celebrities ranging from Gary Busey, Bill Mosely, Lisa Marie, Eddie Hudson etc. There was one celebrity that really surprised me. As I was walking around I looked up and there was David Naughton from American Werewolf in London. I was taken aback a bit because before Kelsey and I met up I had watched American Werewolf in London that morning to get me in the mood for the challenge. It has a lot of really cool makeups and the best werewolf transformation scene ever. We talked with him a bit and I told him how I had just watched his movie and that him being here had to be a good sign.

Photo By Jeri Mize

Photo By Jeri Mize

Just before the competition Mr. Blair in his storm trooper suit briefed us a bit. When I say storm trooper suit, I mean a suit with a with a storm trooper pattern not the armor. As he announced the artists they walked out on stage and the anticipation built. I was the last artist called to the stage and saw the box just sitting there on the table mocking me. As the timer started we all tore into our boxes. It was about 90% miscellaneous stuff and 10% makeup. There was everything from Vaseline, school glue, fake fur, glitter glue, tampons, latex, a cheap makeup kit you’d find in the Halloween section at your local grocery store, cherry jello, a prosthetic face, etc. I unpacked my box and it looked like a junk drawer had exploded.

Photo By Jeri Mize

Photo By Jeri Mize

Looking at the given materials I had to make a decision fast. There were a few things that stuck out to me; The prosthetic face, the cheap makeup, the tampons and a few other odds and ends. I quickly decided I would do a Lost Boys and the Craft crossover.  I ripped off the top part of the prosthetic face to give her a furrowed brow. This was before I realized there was a pair of school scissors in the box. Not that I could have made the edge much cleaner had I cut it. I then shredded one of the tampons to use with the latex to blend the edges as best I could. Once that was on it was on to painting which is where my one tool came in handy. The makeup given was terrible but I was able to make it work basing her out in white and then contouring with reds, purples and black. I made sure to move from light to dark since the only way I had of cleaning color out of my brush was a dry paper towel. I also used a strange glitter gel that was in a ketchup type packet as highlighter.  Once makeup was where I wanted it I mixed some water with the cherry jello and dipped the remaining tampon in to make a kind of tampon lollipop. Since I had no fangs to use the idea was that she got sustenance from bloody tampons. I know it’s gross but it’s a horror convention after all. I stepped back and knew if I kept working on it I would just mess it up so I finished 5-10 minutes early.

Photo By Jeri Mize

Photo By Jeri Mize

I came in second place behind SFX Artist Scott Thieman whose “V” inspired makeup took first place.  Kelsey Eisenhut and Tiffany Age also did impressive makeups given the time and materials. I am very happy with the makeup I did given what I had and I wouldn’t change it. If I am being honest I was upset that I didn’t take first place. That is not to say that Scott didn’t deserve first place because he did. I wasn’t really concerned with the prizes I just wanted to win. Looking back I had a great day at the convention and got to hang out and compete with one of my best friends. The lesson I learned was being happy with what I had done and just trying harder next time. All said and done seeing as how you had to be chosen to be a part of the competition in the first place we were all winners.

Photo By Jeri Mize

Photo By Jeri Mize