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End of Year Show: Preperation

9 Jun

Over the past week I have been working on my end of year show piece. I’m working in a group with some of the really great girls in my year so I’m excited to see the final results on Thursday.

My role within the group was to design the facial makeup and create the gill and spine prosthetics – I also collaborated with Shona on some of the details of her body-paint role. We all discussed what each of us had worked on and brought our ideas together to create a final plan we were all happy with, updating each other regularly with our progress on our Facebook group.

Today I am in Uni, creating the PlasSil moulds. I was originally going to create 3D transfers using Pro-bondo however I have realised this won’t really work as I need to use the moulds to make several pieces. So I’m going to use liquid latex. I hate using liquid latex for prosthetics; alas, needs must. I’ve been speaking to Grace McComisky about how she creates her pieces as I need to work on more substantial materials for my appliances! (PS. Anyone want to give me some make-up work so I can earn the money to BUY these materials – much appreciate 😉 )

Onwards!

First Layer of PlatSil

First Layer of PlatSil

 

Russian Travels

14 Mar

Quite a few people have asked me “How was Russia?!” since I got back.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate people’s interest, particularly those who worried for my return, but seriously, it’s impossible to cram so many personal emotions and experiences into a few sentences. It’s impossible to compile them into a daylong lecture. So, you end up with the reply “It was great, I never wanted to leave. Thanks” Which is both untrue and insincere. To be honest I don’t want to tell you my experiences unless you REALLY want to know. They are mine, they are special, and they have changed me as a person.

Moscow (Net Image)

Moscow (Net Image)

Before I start, I want to make it very clear this was my experience of Russia. Another being may have a completely different involvement and present entirely different opinions and information. A couple of the images are taken from the net, as the photos I’m expecting haven’t arrived yet. I didn’t take many for myself; if I’d have taken a picture of all the wonderful things I saw, I wouldn’t have seen anything!

So, as a foreigner in Russia, I was usually asked three questions by absolutely everyone (you learn to rehearse the most speedy and efficient answers to these questions very quickly.). The first one is: “So, why did you come to Russia?” Usually followed with “Are you crazy?!”. I suppose the answer is yes, by most people’s reckoning, I am crazy. I came to Russia because I decided to; I had an overwhelming feeling there was something there I needed to experience. Plus I find the Russian language absolutely beautiful. I knew nothing about Russia except stereotypes. So, ‘illogically’ and ‘irrationally’ I packed my bags and booked my flights. Why change a personality trait of a lifetime? It hasn’t failed me yet.

Moscow Department Stores

Moscow Department Stores

On to the stereotypes, that’s another of the top three questions you will be asked. I most commonly filled this gap with the expected responses people wanted to hear that others had of them (Russians don’t smile, they drink vodka all the time, the are self-centred, wear fur, they are tall and beautiful, rude etc.). However, I would go on to say these statements were not true to such an extent; what we see is a different cultural communication and understanding – not a universal definition of a being. For instance; just because in one place something is seen as discourteous, does not mean it is to all.

The third question is “So what do you do?” 90% of Russians I tell my trade…

  1. Do not understand or
  2. If the do understand, question if this is my hobby or real job. It’s my real job. Promise.

I find this question and response interesting and within it found the biggest cultural gap between England and Russia. I certainly found I bonded with those who understood and respected my work much easier; they tended to be more open people. In my experience it seems an artistic career isn’t quite so common in Russia, despite the quantity of artistic education available in the form of exhibitions, museums and more. Which leads me on to my next topic.

In Russia, of the people I met, I found that most are very educated about their own country. They know about their art, politics, literature and history. They aim to speak English well and see how knowledge is beneficial to their development. On average I would say they are more in knowledge of their own country than an Englishperson is of theirs. But perhaps I’ve just been attracting this kind of person. Either way it has inspired me to learn and develop my own understanding of the world around me in greater detail.

St Basil's

St Basil’s

 

Another question many people will ask you if visiting both St. P and Moscow is – which do you like better? It seems there is some rivalry. Honestly I couldn’t say; I thought I liked Moscow more due to the busy vibe and grittier atmosphere – the whole place just seems to have more active energy to it. However, I can see myself settling in Saint Petersburg much easier, perhaps because it’s incredibly European and therefore seems more familiar.

When I first arrived at Moscow I won’t deny, I was slightly dazed. Whilst learning Cyrillic was helpful, seeing every sign written in it is another thing and quite intense at first. If I hadn’t have tried to learn it before arriving I would have probably never reached my hostel in Kitay-Gorod. Moscow is lined in a layer of dirt, it’s probably the dirtiest place I’ve ever been and the sky hung thick with fog (don’t make the mistake I did, in taking a white coat). The cars are two tone (fine evasion though hiding number plates I was told, since they have started bringing in parking tickets) and they walls are grey. Despite all this, lights twinkled through and inspired a feeling of wonder in me, with an atmosphere that gave me vitality.

Kitay-Gorod (Net Image)

Kitay-Gorod (Net Image)

Many of the main buildings are tall and striking, with a definite feel of power – they have a sort of Harry Potter/Ministry of Defence Vs. evil Disney lair kind of feel, though this makes them no less attractive. The town is always busy and humming full of a variety of people. I was regularly told that Moscow is extremely international; I’m pretty sure they’ve all never seen London.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (One of the Seven Sisters)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (One of the Seven Sisters) (Net Image)

I visited all the tourist attractions, tablet at the ready if I wanted to find a companion or a place to visit. The Kremlin buildings, department stores, cathedrals and museums are all beautiful, both inside and out, you can tell a lot of care has gone into the production of these buildings. I think the most awesome pieces of art I saw were in the Kremlin Armoury; the carriages they have there are incredible, straight out of a fairy-tale.

I could have watched the  Kremlin guard change repeatedly.

I could have watched the Kremlin guard change repeatedly. (Net Image)

One thing you MUST do if travelling to Moscow is take an afternoon to visit the spectacular underground stations, each is charming in its own right.  Check out more images here: http://www.beeflowers.com/moscowmetro/index.htm

Moscow Metro (Net Image)

Moscow Metro (Net Image)

I think my favourite part of seeing Moscow as with any travelling I have done, is seeing the city from a resident’s point of view, including their take on the tourist parts; they always have stimulating and relative information to contribute to my learning. I also visited the hospital, university art lectures, a school play, local markets, parks, a theatre press showing, a variety of homes and hostels and many café, bar and club gems. The list goes on. Despite the seemingly dreary appearance at this time of year, I felt a constant electric buzz in my body, something that left me the moment I stepped off the train and into Saint Petersburg; I’m still trying to understand what this meant.

I travelled to St. P on the sleeper train with two friends I met in Moscow. On arrival I felt everything was just so big, the buildings are broad and long, making me feel doll sized. The city seemed absent of people, as if there were not enough to fill it – far removed from the hum of Moscow.

Vodka Fuelled.

Vodka Fuelled.

We wandered the city, walking through the fortress and along the embankments, attending the “Black Days” Couchsufing events throughout the weekend. Sunday night at the karaoke was a brilliant laugh; I woke up Monday with one of the biggest headaches of my life; don’t mix Vodka and Brandy in your evening.

Wandering the Embankments

Wandering the Embankments

Karaoke Night

Karaoke Night

In the early hours on Monday morning I had been subject to some attempted sketchy behaviour (though no fault of my wonderful host), so I moved on quickly to stay with my next host family. From Tuesday I finally started my own adventure of Saint Petersburg (whilst it was lovely to have such nice friends around at the weekend, Russian speaking dominates (obviously) so you tend to get cut out of the organisation and route planning which is usually what adjusts your mind to the new environment).

unnamed-1

Nevsky Prospekt

I get bored of people calling Saint Petersburg beautiful, it’s stating the obvious – everyone says it; “Oh, the architecture!” “Oh, the rivers!” and yes, it is beautiful, amazingly so. However, I felt there was more to be seen, a depth I wasn’t experiencing simply walking around Nevsky Prospekt and in and out of cathedrals and museums. So I spent a lot of time either on my own drawing and writing, or speaking with companions I had met through couch surfing whilst walking and eating pancakes.

St. Isaac’s Cathedral

Walking the Backstreets

Walking the Backstreets

Beautiful Colours.

Beautiful Colours.

I spent Friday in Immigration and the Police Station getting my migration slip, though the day ended much better than it started as I had met Yulia (an absolute angel) that morning and spent the evening in several bars talking with new and lovely friends. I left Russia on the Sunday, having done my first teaching class. I will be back next year to live in St. P for a year, teaching English.

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Sunset.

Reflections.

Reflections.

Travelling instilled in my something I already knew: possessions are inanimate and in my opinion, distract from living life. We become too comfortable in our surroundings and do not feel comfortable without our things. Home should be wherever we are happy and safe, no matter what we carry with us. Trekking round with a (just about hand luggage size) rucksack, I realised how little I really need have to live my life, and how if ever without that extra bit of makeup or the perfect shoes, you are still able to put yourself across perfectly well, those who do not see past this are shallow and not worth speaking to anyway. I also realised you don’t need to wash your clothes as often as you think. I wore the same pair of jeans for 3 weeks and washed them twice – usually, I wash them after every wearing. So often we place too much importance on the insignificant. I’m working on getting rid of my possessions and clothes, along with superficial wants and needs. I spend too much time splitting my energy and not enough time focussing it.

So what else did I learn? I really learnt the importance of kindness. Kind people make the world spin. So much can be achieved thanks to the kindness of one person. I found this quality in all of my hosts, and especially of a particularly special Russian girl who without I may have crumbled. She helped me out when I lost my migration card – explaining how to get to immigration properly, coming out of hours to take me to the police station to help me fix everything, housing me for free in the hostel she worked at, introducing me to her friends and her favourite bars, calling me when I cried and laughing with me when I smiled.  I have been speaking to her since I got back and I am sure we will remain firm friends always.  Almost every single person I met showed kindness towards me in some way (besides the few I frustrated because I couldn’t understand). Without this I am sure my experiences whilst travelling would have meant much less, or at least been much harder.

Alisa

Alisa

Nina

Nina

ff

My little present from Julia!

I wrote a diary almost every day I was in Russia, I think this was partially due to being on my own, and being able to trust myself with my thoughts and opinions on what I was experiencing, finding satisfaction in divulging information to someone that would understand. I went through a full spectrum of emotion whilst travelling; extreme excitement, terror and fear, love, bitter loneliness, boredom, exhilaration… but most of all, I felt content at being alive and opening myself to embracing these emotions, dealing with them on my own and with the help of pretty much complete strangers. Travelling has given me strength, as a person to walk alone in the world and realise everything that surrounds you is temporary and changing. Nothing really matters so long as you can adapt to your surroundings and find faith in humanity.

If you want to know more, just ask.

unnamed-2

Bonfire Night/Media & Postiche Progression.

7 Nov

This week it was Bonfire night!

I have fond memories of attending bonfire night celebrations when I was younger. I think it’s something to do with fire and a undertone of anarchy – plus the mixture of cold blasts and red hot heat across your face. I always enjoy watching firework displays, the bigger the better. They’re even more spectacular when choreographed, sending you into trance, like a deer in headlights.

Standard Firework Picture.

Standard Firework Picture.

Each year, Leeds University Circus Society do some fire performance, although this year I didn’t feel quite confident enough, it’s been a couple of years since I played with fire. Next bonfire night I will be performing for sure, perhaps in London!

In work related news, I have been progressing with my media and PDP work, I’m trying really hard to not allow the amount of work I have to do stress me out and keep to the thought that so long as I’m doing some kind of work, I’m moving forwards. I’ve been creating mood boards, drawings and tonight I did some mini makeup practice for my task three character.

Using Lara as my model, as she it up north (or in the North of England as I was corrected today) for the weekend, I set to work on an initial test piece for the Task Three makeup. This makeup will be for an acrobat character, starring in a film piece. There is much more I would like to do with this, with some added complexities to stretch my skills. I didn’t touch the skin and instead focused on the eye design. I like it, but I feel there is something missing – fake eyelashes for a start. More research and experimentation to be done.

L1

L2

I also created V for Vendetta makeup on Bonfire night, but as I had just missed the daylight and I was in a rush to get to piano/boxing (and didn’t fancy going with makeup on), I didn’t manage to get a worthy enough picture. I have also been totally failing with my 30 days of Sci-Fi, this time of year is so busy; I’ve decided to save that for January when everything slows down. I will however be still trying to do daily makeups to encourage my creative flow and not get too enslaved by academic work.

FESTIVAL SEASON 2013

21 Aug

TO BE COMPLETED

So last time I posted about a festival it didn’t get finished, so I’ve combined Glastonbury into this one, and moved all that I wrote about Isle of wight up here too. To save time, trouble and effort I am going to write about all my summer fun in one action packed post.

So, this summer I have worked at:

Isle of Wight Festival: 13th-16th June (Isle of Wight)
Glastonbury: 26-30 June (Somerset)
Kendal Calling: 26-28 July (Lake Districkt)
Boomtown Fair: 8-11 August (Hampshire)
Beacons: 16-18 August (Skipton)
Shambala: 22-25 August (Northamptonshire)

I was planning on doing Outlook and Dimensions in Croatia but sadly my passport will not be returned on time! So lets go with the magic I did experience…

Isle of Wight Festival: 13th-16th June (Isle of Wight)

I attended Isle of wight festival with the Tattoosh crew, a spray art company based in London.

It was great to learn how the airbrushes worked and have time to fine tune my stencil work, plus the guys i was working with were lovely.

I don’t rate the festival majorly, but my highlight was getting to see Hackney Colliery Band live, I love those guys – their version of Africa makes me cry with happiness every time with the memories those notes bring. The other fantastic edition to my experience was seeing Tankus the Henge play again. I’d seen Tankus once before back in Leeds and actually bought their CD, so I thought it worth going to have another listen! We ended up drinking after hours with them and visiting a nice lake on the last morning – this pretty much saved the festival for me, it was so much fun.

MUA: Victoria Stansfield

MUA: Victoria Stansfield

MUA: Victoria Stansfield

MUA: Victoria Stansfield

Working Hard! :)

Working Hard! 🙂

MUA: Victoria Stansfield

MUA: Victoria Stansfield

The I.O.W Tattoosh Stall

The I.O.W Tattoosh Stall

MUA: Victoria Stansfield

MUA: Victoria Stansfield

MUA: Victoria Stansfield

MUA: Victoria Stansfield

MUA: Victoria Stansfield

MUA: Victoria Stansfield

Glastonbury: 26-30 June (Somerset)

This was my first Glastonbury and I’ve gotta say i loved it – the size was nowhere near as intimidating as i thought it would be (although i didn’t really go to any of the main stage arenas!). Again I worked with Tattoosh however I found their work model did not really fit me so sadly this was the last time I would work with them.

I still got to do some awesome makeup though! The picture below is backstage of the Hell stage in Shangri-la, body painting Delia (Happy Slap Boutique) for a Slamboree performance.

I spent most of my time in Shangri-la and the Commons and got to see lots of amazing sights thanks to some special friends! I cant wait to go back next year, hopefully working more in performance and paint and working less hours so I can see more of the festival! It’s going to be awesome!

Body painting Delia for the Slamboree performance on the Hell stage at Glasto.

Backstage body painting Delia for the Slamboree performance on the Hell stage at Glasto.

Kendal Calling: 26-28 July (Lake Districkt)

This was my first festival of two with Happy Slap Boutique

Murphy and I getting serious professional. Photographer: Michael Marks https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Murphy and I getting serious professional.
Photographer: Michael Marks
https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks
https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks
https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks
https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Lizzie West

Photographer: Lizzie West

Photographer: Michael Marks https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks
https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Dressing up is fun :)

Dressing up is fun 🙂

Photographer: Michael Marks https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks
https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks
https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks
https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks
https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Boomtown Fair: 8-11 August (Hampshire)

This was the second festival i did as part of Happy Slap Boutique

Photographer: Michael Marks https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks
https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks
https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks
https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks
https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

 

Photographer: Michael Marks https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks
https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks
https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks
https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks
https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks
https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

 

Photographer: Lizzie West

Photographer: Lizzie West

Photographer: Michael Marks https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks
https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

Photographer: Michael Marks
https://www.facebook.com/michaelsmarks

 

Beacons: 16-18 August (Skipton)

I chose to do Beacons this year as I wanted to try my hand at something slightly new, and gain a wider knowledge of work  surrounding my own field.  I worked with Eye of the Storm, a stage management company run by some friends. I was originally meant to do Outlook and Dimensions festival with them – however due to needing to renew my passport and not being able to get it back in time, i had to give it a miss this year.

So at Beacons I assisted in managing the Red Bull stage, this was loads of fun and I liked putting my people management skills to use and to practice. My stage manager was really helpful and I managed to learn much more about how a sound engineer works with their equipment. I also got a nice lesson from my friend Dan (Happy Slap Boutique) who was managing the neighboring stage.

My highlight of this festival has to be watching Bonobo from the pit, it was so, so beautiful and the light show was gorgeous. I hope to be working with Eye of the Storm much more next year!

Shambala: 22-25 August (Northamptonshire)

Shambala was my final festival of this year – I have been offered places at Bestival and Over the Moon but I think thats it for me now – I need to get back in ‘real life’ mode so I can get the second year of my makeup course finished!

Shambala is such a beautiful festivals, the atmosphere is so calm and everyone is so willing to chat and have a good time, there is no ego about this festival, just pure friendly fun. Komodo Clothing stall gave me an entry route in, however i find myself extending beyond my hours. These guys appreciate good workers and good people; not only feeding and clothing them but ensuring payment for work.  They are a fantastic family and I hope to stay intouch with them as not just work partners but true friends.

Photo Shoot: Piers van Looy’s “Contemporary Circus”

13 May

I actually love not being at uni, I have been able to get involved in so many more creative projects!

Today’s work was based around Pier’s photography degree, focussing on contemporary circus of today. I wasn’t able to do much planning as is was very last minute, more of a turn up, on the spot lets get creative and see what happens sort of deal! It was also to be quite time limited which I find hard to do – especially when making things up as I go along!

The first makeup I did was with Rowan, inspired by a dark gypsy look. I would have liked to research this piece more in particular as I feel I could have done something more amazing – but this is pretty standard of any initial, undeveloped piece. I think it turned out well and suited the character. I am getting more more confident at applying bases and eye makeup; having pushed myself to focus on gaining confidence with lips and eyebrows,  I am now returning to the areas I thought I was better at to improve them too!

Whilst this piece was being shot I was out of the room doing Giedrė – I have realised I should have taken 5 minutes to check the making on camera as on having checked afterwards, the cheek colour was coming up to be very contrasting and not quite as smooth as in ‘real life’ this can be easily sorted out with editing but reminded me to always check before the shoot commences.

I wouldn’t usually use these lashes, as I prefer a more natural look – even when using big ones. But this is what we had on the day.

Rowan Thomson - Gypsy inspired makeup.

Rowan Thomson – Gypsy inspired hair & makeup.

The next piece I did was with Giedrė in a more acrobatic/Circ De Soleil style. She reminded me a little of my love, Yolandi Vi$$er – singer in Die Antword who I would LOVE to look like. She was great at posing so I think I’ll be stealing her for some more work if she doesn’t mind!

Again, I would have preferred to have more time planning this image, plus my own head was planning the pictures I’d like to do with her so I was trying to detract away from that and keep to the brief, whilst still creating from inspiration drawn from her face. Excited for (hopefully) my next shoot with her!

Giedrė wanted me to focus more on her forehead area, which pushed me to experiment where I wouldn’t usually work so much on its own. I wanted to keep her eyes very bare as I like this more raw, soft look.

Giedrė Degutytė - Acrobatic/Circ De Soleil inspired hair and makeup.

Giedrė Degutytė – Acrobatic/Circ De Soleil inspired hair and makeup.

PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR FINAL IMAGES! It may be a couple of weeks!

To speak to Piers about photography, please just message him! I’m not sure if he has a website yet, so for now – here is his Facebook!

https://www.facebook.com/messages/513389204

Summer Fun!

11 May

Right, so I have my SFX work to hand in within the next two weeks, and my media piece isn’t into August now – talk about stress relief!

Now my brain isn’t completely frazzled, the creative juices are starting to flow again, (thats right, I’ve remembered I actually love doing makeup again and that it is FUN ART I love to do, yes sir!) and so I’ve been contacting lots of models, photographers, artists, stylists – any create people I can get speaking to really! 

So, I have my lists and they are building big – I started already today with the uUncommon Nonsense Clothing shoot and there are many more to come, please stay posted as I will have many visual delights for your lovely selfs!

Last night, I also attended the Leeds model/mua/photographer social in Leeds with my mua friend Zoe Johnson. It was quite quiet but it was a good laugh and I got some cards out and met some lovely people. Previous to this I met one of my current favourite people, Abbie – also known as Lunar rising. She was fantastic and I can’t wait to get working with her, she came up to the social with us and will be attending a collab shoot on Wednesday for fun and games! Please check out her website:

http://www.lunarrising.com/

SO MANY EXCITING THINGS!

I hope everyone is starting to feel much happier now the sunshine is coming out!

Happy Slap Boutique – Product Play!

8 Apr

Recently I have begun to deal with testing, purchasing and stocking of the products we shall be using for Happy Slap Boutique; helping to arrange our kits for events and festivals.

Today I have been collating a list of our stock and what needs to be found and bought, some of which we will be able to pick up at the IMATS next month! This time we shall be taking a list (along with our personal lists), trying to get a distracted as little as possible by the many beautiful temptations. Following this we begun to compile our magic list.

I am currently stood in the kitchen, melting down an array of beautiful lipsticks into our newly bought (from UMAe!) Makeup Forever clear empty palettes; having just got back from London town. We collected some of our favourite colours from a variety of great brands, including MAC, Illamasqua and Gosh. I was going to take a picture of my lipstick covered arm for you but it has since been wiped away! We have a few more to buy as we are keeping our spaces for the most perfect pigments!

Thats all I have for you for now… sadly I don’t have any pictures to show you but I’ll be having much more fun with testing that I can show you in the future. I’ll keep you updated on some of the brilliant products we shall be using!