Li Chi Slays the Dragon — from Bodies Alive!

 

 

See the video: Li Chi Slays the Dragon from Bodies Alive! 

An ancient Chinese legend brought to life on painted bodies.

LIChiSlaysTheDragon-2015_BodiesAlive_title1

Li Chi Slays the Dragon is one of the stories I tell most frequently. Mostly as a StoryFace, illustrating the tale on the face of one volunteer as I tell it, but, once upon a time, I had the chance to expand the story onto a cast of performers as a tale told with painted bodies. This video is from that performance at the Face and Body Art International Convention in 2008, as part of the Bodies Alive! show we presented there. I was joined in the painting by Christina Davison, Sara Glasgow, and Jennifer Wade, with help from some volunteers, and in performance by Blair Woodward, Cully Firmin, Rebecca Reil and Chloe Agostino. See my StoryFace version of Li Chi live at PIFA. Learn about the Bodies Alive Show. Learn about BodyStories.

My specific inspiration for how to take a legend like this and turn it into a sequence of images on painted bodies came from a puppet show I saw at the New Victory Theatre by Ping Chong, adapting to the stage Japanese ghost stories from the classic movie Kwaidan. Ping Chong’s stage design re-created a cinematic style, varying the size of the puppets and the perspective of the settings he placed them in to do closeups, or long shots or tracking shots, to tell the story sequentially — like in a movie.

The development process included sketches of the body designs which I scanned and then moved around in photoshop to create a rough storyboard, plus some color and design tests done in the course of my regular facepainting gigs. To help the performers understand the visuals that their painted bodies would create on stage, I sketched the designs onto T-shirts for them to wear during rehearsals. Included here are the studio photos taken at FABAIC by Rich Johnson, plus some of the other images created during the process, and since.

learn about all that we do at: agostinoarts.com

Related articles

Hero Tales! myths and legends

A special StoryFaces show featuring myths and legends — the original character building programs — to help us to become the hero in our own lives:

My favorite stories to tell to children are traditional hero tales, especially those that feature young or small protagonists, like Li Chi Slays the Dragon, the 2,000 year old tale from China about a brave maiden that saves her village, or Punia and the King

of the Sharks, a Hawaiian tale about a boy who battles a shark. The reason Punia is so brave is because he is small — which is a wonderful encouragement to give to kids, that even the small can be heroes, as in Aesop’s Fable The Lion and the Mouse. The origin tale of The Monkey King could be the plot of a modern superhero movie, with a misfit character that gains great powers and has to learn responsibility. In The Amazing Face, my original story, we see an audience member’s inner hero come to life on their own face. Adventure tales about heroes were the original character building programs and motivational speeches, passed down through generations to inspire listeners to reach for the stars and become the hero in their own lives.

from “Monkey King, Yo!”

Hero Tales! includes some of my favorite hero and adventure stories, presenting these traditional tales in the context of our comic book superhero movie culture. A wide variety of tales are available to suit the age range of your audience, including samurai adventure tales for older students.

 

Workshops — two related workshop programs are available: My Amazing StoryFace writing workshop and Creating Your Personal Superhero mask design workshop. See StoryFaces — Mask Arts Programs for descriptions and teacher’s guides.

 StoryFaces shows are a surprising combination of storytelling and visual arts that fully engages the entire audience.  

See the video: What Is A StoryFace?

Always new stories. Always exciting. As much fun for adults as for kids.

Learn about all we do at:  agostinoarts.com

Art On Your Face — Gallery

matisse_purpledress1_artface_text_150328-master-r

 

Henri Matisse The Cut-Outs — Transformations Gallery

Matisse - The Circus, 1947

Matisse – The Circus, 1947

Matisse — Jazz

It is easy to be inspired by Matisse. Seeing Henri Matisse the Cut-Outs exhibit at MOMA, the exuberance of color, the freedom of forms — you want to be able to paint like that. The later rooms with the wall-sized works, and especially the photographs of how his studio was so full of this art as he created it — you want to live in rooms like that. I walked out of the exhibit wanting to play with color, to hold it in my hand and create pure forms with it as he did. Even if you don’t like Matisse, you have to be inspired by the absolute passion he had for creating art, so undeniable that it that led him to invent a new way to make art when he could no longer paint. MatisseCat_6g-fhd4--040727_agostinoartsChapter 10 of my book is titled “Matisse’s Cat”, in reference to the inspiration I draw from these struggles of great artists to find a way to satisfy that passion, and Matisse particularly because he spoke of the struggle, and left us evidence of his explorations and battles with line and form and color. I was writing about my own struggles to develop new cat face designs, particularly one based on a statue at the Bronx Zoo of a puma coming down a cliff, and in this iteration I had simplified the puma shape so much that it reminded me of a Matisse cut-out, and that encouraged me to loosen my hold on the realistic image and pursue it’s essence instead. This is the encouragement I take from Matisse: aim for the essential.

Matisse — Blue Dancer

We paint faces mostly with pure color. You might do blending in the sponge work, but then the imagery on top is usually solid colors with minimal shading — so the Cut-Outs relate directly. In adapting the Cut-Out figures to a face you have the additional playfulness of trying to fit his forms to the shapes of the face, which becomes an exercise in the fundamental skill of placing a flat image over the curves of the face. And I do mean “exercise” — I learn more about painting faces when I try to imitate the Cut-Outs.

Matisse - The Rumanian Blouse 1940

The Rumanian Blouse 1940

Matisse_RoumanianBlouse_artface_140920_agostinoartsMatisse’s painted portraits also adapt well, as he worked often with flat areas of pure color and precise linework. Strong colors and clean linework make for effective faces.

 

 

Face Gallery (Body Paintings below) ——————————————

at FABAIC 2011

at FABAIC 2011

Matisse-Icarus 2011

Matisse-Icarus 2011

Matisse-Icarus 2011

Matisse-Icarus 2011

Matisse Remix 2008

Matisse Remix 2008

Portrait of the Artist's Wife, 1912

Portrait of the Artist’s Wife, 1912

Red Fish 1911

Red Fish 1911

Matisse Remix 2008

Matisse Remix 2008

Matisse Remix 2008

Matisse Remix 2008

Matisse Inspired bodypainting by Raphealle Fieldhouse

Matisse Inspired bodypainting by Raphealle Fieldhouse

Dia De Los Muertos — Face Painting Gallery

The Day of the Dead — Faces by Christopher Agostino  10/30/2014 – updated 2015  #transformationsny

DiaDeLosMuertos_Mex_SkullFlowers_agostinoartsMy introduction to this Mexican fusion of death and beauty came via the mummies of Guanajuato when I was there as a student in the 80s. In 2001 I had the opportunity to return to Guanajuato as part of the Festival International Cervantino, painting faces in the street as one of a number of international performance artists. A few days after the festival ended, just before I had to leave, the center of the town was filled with stalls of the artisans creating items for the coming Dia De los Muertos. I bought this mask, and felt really great when the woman who sold it recognized me as a fellow artist for the facepainting I’d done in those plazas the week before.

Posada_LaCatrinaI approach the Day of the Dead as a celebration of the presence of death within life, and the continuation of life within death through the love we retain for those who have passed.  I want to retain stark images of death in the faces I paint, and for inspiration I look less to the current sugar skull style and more to traditional imagery such as Posada’s La Catrina and Mexican skeleton figurines.

Most of these photographs are from Dia De Los Metros events at the Hudson River Museum in 2014 and 2015.  Learn about all we do at: agostinoarts.com

learn about all we do at: agostinoarts.com

Related Posts: