makeup monday: tribute + transformation

The recent death of creative legend and pop-culture icon David Bowie has sparked a beautiful wave of fan art inspired by his body of work and his persona. His impact across several decades of prolific artistic endeavors has no doubt been a catalyst for growth and transformation in people all over the world.

I was fortunate enough to be part of one such collaborative tribute with a small, talented team of Austin-based artists last week, each of whom have been influenced in both work and life by David Bowie, and I am so stoked to show off what we’ve created in the star’s honor.

Photographer Naomi Loghry of Loghry Photography shot the images and coordinated the session. Model, actress, cosplayer, and all-around artistic whirlwind Jennifer Lynn Larsen (Mayhem’s Muse) was the subject. I provided makeup and assisted with hair styling to help bring the looks to life. Our vision was to recreate a few of actress Tilda Swinton’s many Bowie-inspired portraits.

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“For this project,” says model Jen Larsen, “I drew inspiration and mood from one of this generations GREATEST muses-David Bowie himself. A gentleman who knew intimately that act is only limited by our perception, and believed that we should always make statements which help those around us feel more comfortable in their own skins. No matter gender, sexuality, or station in life, art and music speak to us all. All are obtainable.”

Of course, Bowie was well known as a chameleon who regularly reinvented himself. This means there are a plethora of options for style and direction, but I think this one is a perfect fit for Larsen’s physical look, as well as her personal philosophies.

Jen goes on to explain, “This collaboration is done in the style of Tilda Swinton and her iconic tribute to Bowie. She has an amazing ability to transform herself from concept to concept, which is an ability I have always attempted to manifest in my work. It is her chameleon-Esque ability to blend into her setting which drew her to Bowie, and in turn inspired me to reach inside for a more powerful, androgynous self.

It is when we throw caution and boundaries to the wind that we discover our true potential. When we look deep inside and let go of pre-conceived notions and limitations, we are free to be exactly who we dream. We will always dream. We will always Strive for the Highest.”

I think we totally captured that power with this photo set, don’t you?

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When asked about her overall motivation for the collaboration, Jen told me the following: “It has always been important to me to have artistic freedom. To be able to work with people who have beautiful creative freedom, and to trust each other enough to let their muses fly free. Creating art that makes people feel inspired and empowered has always been one of my highest ambitions as a creator.”

Loghry, our masterful photographer, is also thrilled with the outcome. “This was such an inspiring session and I couldn’t be happier with the results! The makeup and hair; Jen’s amazing posing, all resulted in 100% success in creating Tilda and Bowie’s lovechild character.”

I agree completely!

To achieve the bright blues in two of the makeup looks, I used Kat Von D’s Synth eyeshadow, blended with Skulls and Lyric, all from the Mi Vida Loca palette. For the third, darker look, I transitioned to a smokier eye by smudging Dark Wave on the upper eyelid just above the lash line, and blending with Hyperballad, both from the same eyeshadow palette.

We kept Jen’s skin and lips pale, and used concealer to minimize her eyebrow color in a couple of the looks.

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All wardrobe came from the model’s personal collection.

While we’re certainly not alone in our sadness over the loss of this incredibly talented human being, it’s amazing to see the outpouring of residual art being made, and it’s healing to take part in some of that as a participant. I hope you love these photos as much as we do!

“So I turned myself to face me but I’ve never caught a glimpse of how the others must see the faker… Turn and face the strange. Don’t want to be a richer man. Just gonna have to be a different man.” -David Bowie, “Changes”

music monday: fancy footwork

Some days call for music you can dance to. My Chromeo Pandora playlist is one of my faves when I want some music I can dance to, but can also work to. You may or may not know I’m a huge fan of the Step Up franchise. That movie changed my association with this song, because I’ve now seen those movies more than I’ve seen Chromeo live. Good thing I’m a fan of both! I hope this fave jam of mine puts you in an upbeat mood. XO -renée

music monday: windfall

Today was full of a bad “case of the Mondays” for too many of my friends. Recently this song came on the radio while I was at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar HQ working, and my heart just melted. I could not concentrate on anything other than the song, and remembering what it felt like driving with the windows down jamming out to this in my car when it came out. This song always fills me with love and hope, and a swoony feeling. I hope it does the same for you.

meet my TARDIS

TARDIS front
This is my new car TARDIS. When they first came back I looked at them, but didn’t get one because I was the one always driving my friends around and I needed a car that would be easy for that. This time around I could be more selfish in what I was looking for in a car. My dream car is a car I already owned, which was a VW cabrio. I loved that car. They don’t make them anymore. I was looking for something small, with good gas mileage, bluetooth, and ideally a convertible. This car was close enough with a sunroof. How could I pass up this cute car in almost a TARDIS blue?!? With that in mind, this is what came next….

Wobbly Keys
The keychain was originally a pendant I ordered awhile back, but it was too big for my taste. I now had the perfect use for it! And for the big finally….

My TARDIS
(license plate hidden for privacy concerns)

When I did roller derby my derby name was Bad Wolf. I chose that name because it’s a cool storyline from Doctor Who, and the story arc covered more than one Doctor. I’ve also always wanted to be the Doctor. I’m getting closer, no? 😉

cloud view from the sunroof
The view from the sunroof on the way home. I think this car suits me perfectly, and I’m loving the zip-zoom of it.

art scene: nerd alert!

Austin Nerd Cave Showcase is back, and better than ever! Join us Sunday, May 17th, for a one-day spotlight on geeky local artists, plus a whole lotta fun. Renée and I will both be there with our nerdiest art, accessories, and gifts.

The event takes place at Spider House Ballroom from 1pm – 6pm, and is packed full of things to see and hear, including, but not limited to an art exhibition, a live nerdcore hip-hop showcase, an arcade tournament, live podcast, and lots of live art being created all the while.

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Featured artists:
Matthew McCoy
Shane Campos
Jennifer Cunningham
Jeremy The Artist
Paulo Hernandez
Francisco Salinas
ShoNuff Studios
Mariano Castro
Robo Roku
Strange Kids Club
Lou Pons
Chepo Peña

Live painting by Tom Britton

These bronze dice, created by Matthew McCoy, will be on display for the first time at this weekend’s event! Awesome, right? He’s got work in a variety of media, but the metal sculptural pieces always stand out and look amazing.

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Live musical performances by:
The Millipede
Bad Barry
Damp Heat
D.J. R.O.C.K.M.A.N.
Johnny HackNSlash

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Live Podcast with Straight Outta Austin!

Arcade Tournament hosted by The Austin Toy Museum

Rad Batman illustration by Jeremy The Artist, one of many new works he’ll be showing on Sunday:

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RSVP for the event, share with your friends, and like our Nerd Cave page on Facebook for updates and announcements!)

makeup monday: movies and models

It’s been quite some time since my last makeup post, and I thought this would be the perfect way to jump back into sharing my adventures in cosmetic artistry: a bold, creative photo set on which I collaborated with some truly talented new friends! After recently getting involved in a group designed to promote sisterhood and body positivity, founded by an amazing Austin-based photographer and model, I was inspired by one member’s idea to recreate something inspired by this Pink Floyd body art poster:

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We chose to go with a cinema theme, and designated six models. Lauren, who donned a black wig to coordinate with her V for Vendetta piece, worked hard to help iron out all the details, as she and I planned the shoot together over the course of about a month. For most of us, the day of the shoot was our first time meeting face-to-face (though we’d become acquainted online throughout the planning phase via group messaging). All in all, everyone seemed to have a blast and we’ve already begun brainstorming our next collaborative venture together! I painted three of the models, and another rad local body painter—Andrew Brietzke, who works alongside girlfriend Shade Du Bois creating impressive FX makeup and glam looks—painted the other three. Here is the final image of our group pose:

Photo by Arielle Lewis
(Models, from left: Lauren, Kate, Dannie, Corey, Mickey, Whitney)

Professional photos were shot by local photographer Arielle Lewis. (Holy cow, you guys. Check out her ongoing watercolor face paint series, a collaboration with immensely talented FX artist Anthony Paul Gonzales. Seriously.) Kate Kubala, on whom I painted the Batman Returns piece, also did all of our models’ hair and glamour makeup. Here’s her individual shot. Dark, mysterious, and moody…just like Batman!

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My other two pieces paid tribute to The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Godzilla Kontra Hedora (Godzilla vs. Smog Monster, specifically the Polish movie poster design). For the Rocky Horror look, I added red glitter to the lips, though it’s difficult to see in photos.

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To complement the colors found in the Godzilla art, I slightly tinted Mickey’s blonde hair yellow. This one was my first completed painting of the day, and I’m eager to paint more swirly smoky body art in the future because it was way fun to execute.

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Arielle did an incredible job of capturing and editing our respective efforts, and I’m thrilled with how it turned out. Andrew and I each spent about two hours per model, and ended up painting for a total of nearly seven hours. His style is much more colorful and reminiscent of watercolor paintings than mine is, which we took advantage of when pairing Corey’s fiery red hair with his Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas art. Each model’s hair and accessories were styled with attention to the feel of her unique back piece.

I used primarily Mehron and Wolfe FX water-based paints, with a combination of makeup brushes and artist’s paintbrushes. For some of the larger areas on Dannie’s time warp, I used white cream makeup for quick coverage. Black felt eyeliner pens were my go-to product for drawing out the sharp edges and fine lines.

We tried to keep the BTS documentation to a minimum, to make sure the final reveal was a big surprise, but Mickey snapped this really great selfie while I was painting her, and I couldn’t help but share. It’s easily one of my favorite action shots, and adequately evokes the overall mood of a productive and exciting day’s work with these guys.

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What do you think, friends? I hope this inspires you to get out there and meet some awesome new people in your own respective communities with which to make magic!



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