What do you see?
A body painted monument to the endurance and strength and traditions of the First Nations of the Pacific Northwest.
This was a BIG project! So many people were involved, but all credit for inspiration and motivation goes to a wonderful artist and good friend Magna, of Catz Faces, Abbotsford.
Brecky Lulani Bihary from Seattle, accomplished artist from Contour FX face painting fame came on board to paint.
And so did I.
Our models were the flexible and patient crew of acro yoga enthusiasts from the Whistler Acro Community.
And we had Jason Hamper of Sight to See photography, and Sandra McMartin capturing the event too.
So what goes into a project like this? And what did I learn from the experience?
A multi-person paint takes a lot of planning.
* Research into the tradition and designs of the art: coming up with a concept.
* Coordinating dates and times with a LOT of different people on different schedules, giving driving directions, loading overnight supplies in and out.
* Setting up a venue, including structural help - there's a table, a step stool, a big box and a ladder hidden behind those models, and a mirror so they can line themselves up better in front.
* Preparing the painting space with drop cloths, tables for paints, chairs, cushions, heaters to keep semi-naked models warm, snacks, drinks, music...
* Making and bringing props and stencils- Magna made the awesome outspread Eagle Wings and helmet.
* Practising poses and lay-outs with the models the night before: figuring out how long they can hold these challenging poses!
* Creating the pose, and quickly sketching out the lines and shapes whilst the acrobats are in position.
* Returning right-side up, colour matching paints, and blocking in colours. Quick checks to make sure we're matching, painting in the right areas, etc.
* Testing how it looks, and finally, after HOURS, pulling it all together for the photographers, who have also been setting up backdrops, lighting, testing out angles and poses, all for the perfect shot!
It's a whole lot of work, but a whole lot of fun too, and I loved being a part of it.
Having done multi-person body paintings before, I usually move quickly and certainly through each stage of the painting.
It was a different experience to be part of a multi-person body painting that was someone else's concept. My goal in this was to help support Magna realize her vision. In the process, there's a lot of give and take to work together to make that happen: good communication is essential!
Luckily Magna's strong sense of what she wanted, combined with her organized and cheerful personality made this a fun project. Brecky also worked quickly and beautifully! The models were full of patience and good humour.
Although we had hoped to shoot this outside, the weather did not cooperate, and it was raining heavily when we finished. The photographers adapted to shooting inside, in rather crowded conditions with poorer light than hoped for.
But I think the final image speaks for itself, and in the end, I think we can all be pleased with what we pulled off together!
I learned so much about how to work with other artists through this collaborative project, and am so grateful for the experience!