September 16th, 2014
As one of the world’s best known bodypainters, Pashur continues to inspire artists across the genre. So how does a lad from Memphis, Tennessee end up ruling the world of body art? Warpaint chats to the man himself to find out….
WP: How did you become a bodypainter? What initially inspired you?
P: I was doing freelance illustration work in Nashville, TN at the time and wanted to do something different; art on more of an epic scale. My friend lined up a pregnant model and I bodypainted her as a cyborg incubating a cyborg baby in a glass casing, calling it Motherboard and from then on I was instantly hooked. I used the images to pitch magazines for commercial work, and it really impressed my potential clients.
WP: Were you professionally trained? If so, where?
P: I have a 4 year Graphic Arts degree from Memphis College of Art and because of my graphic arts education influence, my body paintings usually have a commercial, editorial approach. I still use my graphics skills when designing my flyers, newsletters, books and body paint product packaging so it certainly wasn’t wasted and to this day influences me as an artist.
WP: Who are your clients?
P: Most clients want high end work, but done quickly. I do a lot of conventions and promotional work due to my quick quality approach, not to mention I like their budgets. In fact, I have done a bit of everything: TV, art shows, music videos, fashion shows, biker events. I love to travel, so I also do a lot of bodypainting at resorts and workshops in other countries.
WP: How do you create a piece of work? Could you quickly take us through from initial brief to final piece?
P: Half of the time I make it up on the spot, freestyling and going with the flow, based on the way the model looks, her hair style and colour, her eyes, breast shape and contours. The other half is way more planned. I start by coming up with the initial concept, will create a sketch to work out making the design the best it can be. What will make it different and stand out? After the client approves the sketch, I find a model that fits the bill. I go through my supplies making sure I have the right tools and products to get the job completed, then start making props if I need to – headpieces, covering for private parts, fake ray guns that sort of thing.
WP: What has been your favourite piece of work and why?
P: I like them all for different reasons, they are all my babies, so to speak. I like one because it looks cool, another because of the message it sends out, another due to the challenges overcome to create it. Mainly though, I like creating clever innovative designs that have a wow factor.
WP: What are you working on at the moment?
P: What am I NOT working on is an easier question to answer! At the moment it is busy season with paid projects for clients. Due to Halloween, I am painting lots of horror themes, especially zombies. In the past few days I have wrapped up a movie project where I painted a simple cut on an actor’s nose and some Day of the Dead Skulls, a biker event, a club event and networking at a special FX convention.
My next project is in Las Vegas painting some couture vampires to promote a new video game coming out, then I have a horror fashion show and after that Zombie Prom, both in Los Angeles. I will be painting zombies for both events. Two days later, I will be in Seattle for a horror convention, so I want to create three amazing images that are well rounded for my time spent there. One piece will really show off my skills that will amaze the crowd. There will be several horror movie celebrities there, so I will do one piece to get photographed with one of the celebrities for social media photo ops. I will do a third piece that focuses on what the horror fan attendees would want to see.
Then there’s a Zombie Fashion Show and a Zombie Bike Ride. Around 7000 people ride down a street on bicycles as zombies. I thankfully, will only be painting about 10 of them.
Fantasy Fest follows, so I will be body painting on the tropical island of Key West. This will be a week of quick custom paintings. A few days later, I have some models I am painting for a Halloween party, then a Day of the Dead event coming up. Then I wrap up the month by body painting some cosplay characters for Stan Lee’s Comikaze convention. I have several workshops in between these gigs that bridge the gaps between projects.
WP: What are your kit essentials and why?
P: My kit is pretty standard – lots of Aquacolor cakes, sponges and brushes. I do have a few favourites though, in particular Kryolan’s Aquacolor in Pink R22 and also the Kryolan Fresh Scratch is always in my kit. It looks like real drying blood so it is a nice addition to any zombies. Their Bruise Wheel is perfect for painting 100 zombies and 100 other uses and I also like the Bruise Gel from Charles Fox. My favorite airbrush colors are EBA’s Vibe, Airline by Chameleon and E-Flow by Wolfe FX. Wolfe FX makes the best black and white aquacolor in my opinion and Glimmer Body Art is my favorite cosmetic glitter. As far as brushes go I love the Loew Cornell #10 Filbert Brush and Loew Cornell (795 series) #3, #4, and #5 they’re always in my kit.
WP: You’ve worked for all sorts of clients and worked in all sorts of aspects of the industry – is there a type of job or project you would still really like to try your hand at?
P: Absolutely, I always try new things; sometimes it doesn’t work, but you never know until you try. With great risk comes great reward. I plan to go for the World Record one day. I need to get off my butt and plan it. Special FX is fascinating to me, I think you should always broaden your knowledge and skills and this area seems a natural progression for me.
WP: What is your biggest challenge as a bodypaint artist?
P: Undoubtedly it’s trying to persuade clients to pay, when others are doing jobs for free. When people do jobs for free or very little, it hurts the entire industry. It does not help create a demand for our artistic services.
WP: Do you have any advice for people hoping to become a professional bodypainter?
P: Yes, charge for it. Know your worth. Stop doing it for a chump change or free. Also, stop being lazy. Get off your butt and go for it. I am going to follow my own advice right now and go kick some body paint ass!!!
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