Halloween 2015 — Face Painting Gallery

#transformationsny

Some of the designs I explored during Halloween season. We had been doing Halloween-themed events from the start of October, and it kinda crept up on me. After the first weekend I took some time to make sketches for faces using the cartooning/animating techniques I’ve been experimenting with for my StoryFaces  performances, and trying to use the mouth and nose in more playful ways.

 

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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.

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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

What Is A StoryFace?

 

StoryFaces_Video-playTitle1

See the new video: What is a StoryFace?

 

 I am a painter and a storyteller, and this is how I tell my stories.
Learn more at http://agostinoarts.com/StoryFaces
Christopher Agostino’s StoryFaces

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In 2013, Christopher Agostino’s StoryFaces was featured in the opening presentation of the National StoryTelling Conference

“What you do is amazing…I have heard person after person say they loved what you do and found it to be a true highlight of the whole conference….You are the epitome of professionalism and class which makes our jobs so much easier and truly enjoyable. It is truly my honor to have been able to help show you off.”

— Karin Hensley, Director of Operations, National Storytelling Network

 

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Mythic Faces at the Hudson River Museum

by Christopher Agostino  agostinoarts.com #transformationsny #mythicfaces

This past Sunday, June 29, I was back at the Hudson River Museum for Family Day, and I was invited by the organizers to take my inspiration for the faces from a wonderful current exhibit, “Mandy Greer:The Ecstatic Moment” (June 7-Sept.14). From the museum website:

Mandy Greer. Every Moment Lost is Lost Forever, 2013         Photo: Andrea Kurtz

Mandy Greer. Every Moment Lost is Lost Forever, 2013         Photo: Andrea Kurtz

“Seattle-based artist Mandy Greer installs a fantasy world awash in color, laced with glittering chandeliers, and alive with sumptuous birds and enigmatic figures draped in costume in her first New York solo exhibition. In The Ecstatic Moment at the Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, June 7 to September 14, 2014, she draws her inspiration from ancient myths and fairy tales and from the mundane and magical  moments of everyday life.”

The scale of her installations transforms parts of the museum into otherworldly landscapes peopled by fantastically costumed creatures, along with photographs of people wearing the costumes in ritualistic settings, often with their faces painted. spiritdancer_figure_hrm_140629cc_agostinoartsUpon seeing the exhibit, I set myself the task of painting the faces of the museum visitors as if they would be inhabiting these costumes and landscapes, in some cases making mask-like designs as if they were enacting rituals like the scenes in the photos and in other cases taking a figurative approach to create personas related to the myth and folklore as well as the thematic description of the different sections of the exhibit (i.e. “Celestial”, and “Earth and Forest”). Hey, if you’re painting faces in an art museum, why not try to paint them like they belong there.

 

 

learn more about the exhibit at: http://www.hrm.org/exhibits.html and Video: Mandy Greer: The Ecstatic Moment

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