I had the great fortune to have worked on one of the coolest photo/video shoots ever! Makeup and effects artist, Sheryl Straub shared a dream she had. She explained that it had to do with blacklight or ultraviolet light art. Basically she wanted to do her own take on Marie Antoinette with a mix of body makeup and costuming. You’ll see the amazing photos, read her interview and learn about the collaborative and gallery show that it ultimately launched.
This is my interview with Sheryl.
CR: Tell me about yourself and the work that you do as an artist.
SS: I’m a freelance artist specializing in makeup and special effects for the haunted attraction industry. I am also a paper Mache sculptor and mask-maker. Most of my artwork is “haunt art”. It’s a little creepy, a little gory, a little whimsical and a little sad.
CR: What type of media do you dabble in?
SS: I’m a little all over the place. I’ve worked in film and TV, but prefer theater and live events. The blacklight body painting photoshoots with fellow Noir Art artists have been amazing and I’d like to continue to focus on the blacklight art for a while.
CR: What inspires you to create?
SS: It’s really random. I get a lot of concepts from dreams and nightmares. Sometimes, I’ll just happen to see or hear something unusual and my imagination starts to go wild. And you know, honestly, sometimes budget drives the creation and I need to find a way to work with what we have access to.
CR: How did you come up with the concept Marie Antoinette blacklight session?
SS: I always thought Marie Antoinette would work great visually in a haunted attraction and the story is appropriately tragic. It just made sense to do it as a photo shoot everybody loved the idea from the get-go. Originally, I intended a darker, gorier beheaded Marie in the shoot. But there was something very surrealistically beautiful and innocent about this young Marie floating on flowers. Ironically, the one prop we were all excited about [was] an actual magician’s guillotine [but] did not get used in the shoot.
CR: Why the combination of blacklights and Marie Antoinette?
SS: Because it could be done.
CR: Give me details about the great makeup?
SS: Really simple, but time-consuming. For the stockings and gloves, we just airbrushed neon paint over lace, then added hand painted dots.
CR: How did the costume come to be?
SS: I made the skirt from a really cool brocade shower curtain my mom had given me and covered an existing corset with the leftover fabric. The skirt was a tad too short, so I used window screen mesh to add length [and] then sewed the flowers to the mesh.
CR: Would you share what you did to the flowers?
SS: They were gently disassembled, hand-painted with blacklight paint, gently reassembled and attached to the mesh. Again, [it was] very easy work but super time-consuming.
CR: Describe how the session went?
SS: Awesome experience! The model, photographers, videographer, and make-up assistants all did such an amazing job! Unless you do this kind of work, you have no idea just how much blood, sweat and tears go into such a project. This was sort of a test shoot and I am glad it was a success.
CR: Did it go according to your plan?
SS: Nothing ever goes 100% according to plan, but there were no disasters. We had more happy accidents than problems. For instance, the model had just gotten her nails done and we found out French manicures glow under blacklight.
CR: Were there any challenges dealing with blacklights?
SS: Mixing paint and makeup for blacklight is challenging because the colors do not always read the same under blacklight as under natural light. So, all the mixing and painting was done under blacklight, usually during nighttime hours, this included hand-painting all the fabric and all the flowers, plus the wig. I had to take frequent breaks to let my eyes rest and my eyes would be killing me after an all-nighter. The blacklights also posed some interesting rigging challenges for the photographers as well as exposure settings, etc. We were literally using a friend’s backyard patio light for the higher wattage.
CR: What did you enjoy the most about the blacklight session?
SS: Was a fun shoot! I enjoyed the collaboration with everyone else involved and am looking forward to our first LIVE art event.
CR: Did you learn anything from the session?
SS: Yes, especially from a planning perspective. Also, no matter what happens, have fun with it!
CR: What’s next for you?
SS: I’d like to write and direct an art-house horror film.
On Wednesday, May 22nd Proof Bar and Lounge along with Noir Art (an ongoing dynamic art collaborative) are proud to present: “Lumière Noir: A Higher Frequency” a cutting-edge multimedia event featuring ultraviolet or “blacklight” art. Bold and bright photography printed on brushed aluminum of will adorn the walls of the venue and will be available for purchase. During the show, guests will be treated to live video projections and a demonstration of a live body-painting presented in a fun, party-like atmosphere. With some audience participation in the creative process, together we will complete a beautiful, surreal, living, breathing work of art.
The group of artists: Brian Rouze, Cindy Rouze, David Moyle and Sheryl Straub will also be on hand for a second performance on Saturday, June 1st. The fine art photography will be on display at Proof through June 24th and the public is welcome to view the art until then.
Noir Art took a recent popular approach by going to Kickstarter to obtain funding for this project. See their link to learn more or to help support this project: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cindyrouze/lumiere-noir-a-higher-frequency.
This incredible FREE event will be presented from 6:30pm-9:00pm on May 22nd & June 1st at Proof Bar and Lounge located at 215 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, CA.