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.


“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?


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.


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”

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.


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.


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


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:


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

makeup monday: two-face transformation

One of the coolest part about having a geeky circle of friends is collaborating with them and bringing clever ideas to life. This Halloween, when my friend Brian Salisbury decided he wanted to dress up as Two-Face, I was immediately excited and enthusiastically accepted the challenge.

We started by sticking a nice, straight strip of tape down the center of Brian’s face. He shaved off all the facial hair on the left side prior to my arrival. I then used scar putty from a costume store to begin creating freeform texture and “burns” directly on the skin. I liberally applied liquid latex all over that half of the face with a brush, right on top of the scar putty. This helped not only seal the scars in place, but also created more texture and some really great subtle transitions between the real skin and putty skin.


Brian’s favorite incarnation of Harvey Dent is the Batman: The Animated Series version, so I knew right away I wanted to integrate a blue tint to make him look a bit more cartoony, as opposed to a thoroughly realistic burned face effect. (Thankfully, I had some leftover blue metallic FX makeup from the previous weekend’s Mystique makeover!)


Once all the latex was dry, I used a combination of reds, browns, and black to paint the “skin”, accentuating areas prone to highlights and shadows. Once I was satisfied with the dimension, I gently sponged on the metallic blue, after which I accented the eyes with black liner and did final touch-ups. The tape was removed, and a crisp edge remained.


Brian stitched together two coat halves, one tweed and one black, for his costume. I used white cream makeup to frost his hair for a more natural salt-and-pepper effect rather than a solid coat of hair spray paint. (I actually DID intend to use hair spray paint, but accidentally purchased white silly string instead, so we improvised. It looks much better the way it is than it would’ve if that had gone as planned. Happy accident!)

Here we are together at a Halloween party later that night:


I’m super proud of how this turned out, and I can’t wait to do more elaborate makeup work. The human face is quickly becoming one of my most preferred canvases.

P.S. Check out Brian’s blog and podcast, you guys! OneOfUs.Net is a community for nerds of all kinds, and is run by some truly talented dudes. Geeks of the world, unite!

evil dead: the musical is bloody awesome!

The weekend is upon us, and if you’re into musical theater, campy horror films, or any combination thereof, you won’t want to miss what’s playing in town through Sunday. Evil Dead: The Musical runs in Austin from September 17-21, then heads to Chicago for the next stop on its current North American tour. With fall around the corner, what better way to get in the mood for (possibly my favorite holiday) Halloween?

I got to see the show on opening night, and it was everything I’d hoped it would be! Truly an entertaining comedy with a talented cast. There are some clever nods to both Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi, as well as many expertly executed popular quotes, making this show a really fun one for pop culture enthusiasts.

evil dead: the musical

Born in Toronto to a small performing arts group in 2003, Evil Dead: The Musical was an instant hit across Canada. In November, 2006, Evil Dead made its Off-Broadway debut in New York City where it was praised by both fans and critics alike. The cast album from the show debuted at #4 on the Billboard Show Charts.

You can catch the show this weekend at the Long Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are available online.



fan art friday: I think it likes you.


One of my favorite artists, Jim Ferguson, (yes, I’ve been bragging about his work here quite a bit, I know.) has just released an awesome new Abyss/Adventure Time crossover illustration, officially licensed by Cartoon Network!

There’s a very limited run of numbered prints (only 45 made), each 11×5 and signed. You can snag one online.

Wishing you all an epic weekend!

geeking out: marvel vs dc


The ladies of This Creative Life are pretty geeky, and the idea of a Marvel vs DC post was sure to be tough on us. Jen is way into DC. When I asked her “Marvel vs DC?” she responded “Ooh, that’s a tough question. While I’m a die-hard Batfan, and love JLA and Teen Titans, I hate what DC is doing socially these days. I’ve also always loved the X-Men and Avengers, and my latest new comic book haul was exclusively Marvel: Inhumans, Avengers, Capt. Marvel.”

I grew up on DC, for the longest time I could be quoted as saying “Superman is my favorite because he’s not human, but he helps the human race” something very similar to that is on my old MySpace page. Ha! I also grew up on Batman. Posters in my bedroom when I was in grade school until early Middle School were of Michael Jackson, Batman, and The Joker. Middle School was when I started getting into Spiderman and the Marvel universe. I went to the Dark Knight midnight release sick as can be. I had NO business being out, I was shivering sick, but there was no way I was going to miss the midnight release.

Last night I watched Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which for those of you that don’t know, the story lines on the tv show are tied in with the Marvel movie franchise, which is pretty cool. After seeing Winter Soldier I couldn’t wait to see Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to see how they were going to follow up that mind-blowing story line. I was actually pretty fussy during Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. because I did not have any clue what was going on (in a good way). Sorry, I can’t say too much without giving out spoilers. Let me just say, if you’re really into the Marvel films, you should be watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Jen and I went back and forth quite a bit, and to be honest, we love both Marvel and DC. So, I tried to narrow it down to May 2016, midnight release, will you be at Batman or Captain America 3? Jen said “Batman, most likely. But I would feel differently if it were Green Lantern or just Superman. I love what Marvel Studios is doing, but Batman is one of my only can’t-miss-a-premier characters. I’m gonna see the Winter Soldier this week, though. Maybe that will shift my enthusiasm a bit.”

Thinking about making a choice that night (over 2 years early!) I was soooo torn. Then I remembered Ben Affleck is the new Batman, and Jesse Eisenberg is playing Lex Luthor, that made me decide that if they both stick to releases on the same day, I will be seeing Captain America 3. Jen said “I’m trying to be open-minded about it. I hated the idea of Heath Ledger as the Joker when I first heard that news, and he proved me wrong. I also had higher hopes for Val Kilmer back in the day than what he delivered. So, I’m not stoked about the casting, but can’t knock it til I see it.” Great points, Jen! Funny enough, I had no faith in Chris Evans playing Captain America (and I LOVE Chris Evans), I just didn’t think he was that great of an actor. He totally showed he was so much more than I thought, and now I love him even more.

Do you prefer DC to Marvel, or are you like us, and love them both? We’d love to continue the discussion…

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