October 23rd, 2014
Now held every two years in the Birmingham area and organised by Rosie of Rainbow Faces Ltd, the UK Face & Body Painting Convention 2014 is the oldest face painting gathering in the UK, now with balloon twisters and some body art too. Paintopia’s Cat Finlayson reports for us.
Aside from being able to book pre- and post- Convention classes with many of the instructors, attendees lined up every morning to try to put their names down for the busy list of workshops and demos which ran all day. Evenings held were competitions and challenges, and the judging of the postal competitions. It was lovely to meet the large contingent of non-UK artists who attended, and everyone made an effort for the Under the Sea themed banquet on Saturday.
This year’s instructors included Olga Meleca with her stunningly detailed animal etc designs. One lucky mum-to-be had her bump painted and was shown a trick of preserving the actual art on a clean damp linen napkin to be framed.
Dutch Bihary was fresh from being on the first TV series of Skin Wars. His beautiful cartoony illustrations wowed everyone, and I adored the sea witch body he created for Sunday night’s competition. Jenny and I judged the Instructors’ Face Painting comp and picked him as the winner – I don’t know his style well enough to have recognised it, but it did stand out beautifully.
Double World Champion and all-round lovely guy Matteo Arfanotti added 3-D creatures to his teaching repertoire and on Saturday created a sea-siren body in his un- mistakable style.
Margi Kanter amused everyone showing how to animate nose-centred face designs, and Jenny Saunders’ colourful fairy creations were stunning too.
Carl Fyffe was new to me but not others, a stunning Henna artist who I may have tempted to the Dark Side of freehand glitter tattoos. He has now posted some first goes at using face and body paint which are depressingly amazing for a beginner.
Erica Norman and Debra Mills’ students sported inspiring delicate, flowery artwork easily transferable to everyday bookings.
Nik Langridge of Body Factory had an extremely over-subscribed speed painting class, and I was delighted that I had a chance to talk to so many about model respect and good practice at the Beginner’s Guide to BodyPainting that I ran.
Vince Loudon gave a highly appreciated FX Clinic (the discussions on fake glass and blood were slightly disturbing to overhear), and many more classes covered all aspect of the industry from basic skills to business strategies from Sherill Church.
The retail room was buzzing, with stands from Charles Fox, Illusion Magazine, Cameleon Paints UK, the Face Painting Shop, Funtime Faces and others selling all sorts to the visitors. Things mentioned by instructors quickly sold out as did several new products, such as the Cameleon Time Tattoo kits of liquid semi-permanent body tattoo paint.
Kids had their own arts and crafts classes – and cinema – adding to the colourful creative atmosphere of this event.