Face Painting Gallery — Yoga For Children Book – faces by Lorraine

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See a video on the making of the book: Making the book: Yoga For Children

The Locust

The Locust

In June 2012, Lorraine participated in the making of a book, painting faces of students participated in the Yoga program at the Girls Preparatory Charter School of the Bronx. Her assignment included designing faces to match the various poses, including some unusual animal poses such as The Locust and The Firefly. The book takes a playful approach to Yoga for kids, so Lorraine followed suit with a whimsical design style.

Learn, Play, Practice: Yoga for Children

by Patricia Buraschi with Beth Maderal

in collaboration with Girls Preparatory Charter School of the Bronx and Om International Yoga Health Society founded by Smriti Chakravarti

Painted Faces by Lorraine Zeller-Agostino

Photography by Toto Cullen

 from the author:

The Turtle

The Turtle

LEARN, PLAY, PRACTICE: YOGA FOR CHILDREN is for children, parents, and teachers interested in exploring Yoga in a mindful manner.  This book, written in a playful way, introduces children to the postures, the breathing and the alignment of Yoga. Through the introduction of these concepts, children will become  aware of positive traits in their own personalities, will develop a sense of mindfulness to those around them, and will build an emotional foundation that allows them to manage challenge-filled events. LEARN, PLAY, PRACTICE: YOGA FOR CHILDREN encourages children, with guidance from a parent or teacher, to develop their own Yoga routine.  We hope this book inspires both the children and adults who use it to further explore and practice Yoga.  We know from our own study and practice of it that there are endless rewards awaiting those who commit to the journey.  Sales from this book support the Yoga program at Girls Preparatory Charter School of the Bronx in New York and Om International Yoga Health Society, Smriti Chackravarti’s Yoga center in Varanasi, India. Thank you. We are grateful for your support!

website:  www.LearnPlayPracticeYoga.com     USA E-store    Europe retail orders

To learn more about our programs and performances:  http://www.agostinoarts.com

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BodyStory Video Experiment 1 — Peacock and the Sun Goddess

BodyStory Video Experiment 1 — Peacock and the Sun Goddess

The Peacock and the Sun Goddess BodyStory was an experiment for a class presentation at the Face and Body Art International Convention in 2012 (FABAIC). For my class on storytelling I tried out a new idea (new for me - see below) of taking the methods I use for telling a story via facepainting onto a painted body — using a fully painted body in choreographed movements to accompany my narrative. I had done this with several performers and much assistance to perform the story Li Chi Slays the Dragon as part of our Bodies Alive! production at FABAIC 2008, but that felt more like a theatre piece and this was meant to stay closer to the stylistic quality of storytelling.

The Peacock and the Sun Goddess BodyStory was conceived and presented as a live performance. As the concept seems well designed for video I took the fotos and video we’d made as documentation and created this video in iMovie. (The wonderful music is Indian Fever by David Starfire, which I found on the album “Six Degrees Free Indian Music Sampler” on Amazon. The model was a non-professional, so I’ll withhold her name) The next step in the video experiment will be to create a BodyStory design specifically for video, and explore what is possible without the design limitations inherent in a live performance.

See the BodyStories Page to learn more about other BodyStory projects, including “Is This the First Story?” based on an 18,000 year old cave painting.

To be clear, nothing in art is ever truly new—especially in an art form as ancient as bodypainting. In saying that these experiments feel “new for me” I’m not saying that I’ve invented something here. Aboriginal Australian bodypainting may go back 40,000 years in a continuous line and in some cases, particularly in the context of ritual initiations, their bodyart tells complex mythological tales (to name just one precedent). Nothing is new.

To learn more about our programs and performances:  http://www.agostinoarts.com

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Painted Bodies: Africa — Video of Carol Beckwith & Angela Fisher

Wodaabe men decorated for the Geerewol celebration, making themselves attractive so that a woman might select them for courtship

Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher have been learning about and photographing the traditional cultures of Africa for 30 years, and have published several books of their work, including a seminal text on the subject: African Ceremonies (Abrams, 1999).

In September 2012 they came out with a book focusing more specifically on bodyart traditions:  Painted Bodies: African Body Painting, Tattoos and Scarification  (find it on amazon) and I received a link (via Craig Tracy) to a National Geographic Live! video of these two remarkable ethnologists talking about this new book and their journeys to these remote African cultures to create such a record of vanishing traditions.

VIDEO:   National Geographic Live! – Carol Beckwith & Angela Fisher: Painted Bodies of Africa


Girls of the Surma people, Ethiopia. In the video, Carol and Angela discuss how fragile such traditions are. Omo River cultures such as the Surma and Karo are going through drastic changes this year, as a new dam on the river will do away with the annual flooding that their way of life has depended on.


To learn more about our programs and performances:  http://www.agostinoarts.com

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Face Painting Gallery — Lion King school production

Face Painting for a school production of The Lion King, by Lorraine Agostino and Jennifer Wade

We participated in a number of special face painting projects this past year, including providing the makeup for a school’s production of The Lion King in March 2012. My wife Lorraine did the painting with Jennifer Wade. There were 60 students in the show, and they had a limited amount of time to paint them, which tends to be the norm for school productions. Previously we had done face painting at Field Days for this school of students with special educational needs, and have seen that some of them are uncomfortable with the tactical experience of having their faces painted. For the school production, however, the students were really enthusiastic about being transformed into their animal characters by the makeup. They did the show for the school during the day, then Lorraine and Jennifer had the chance to see how it looked and make some design adjustments for the evening show for parents — and some of the school staff got painted as well.

The students and staff had made headpiece masks like the Julie Taymor Broadway production, and Lorraine worked within that same style with makeup designs related to African body art to support the masks rather than take focus from them. In a brief video, Julie Taymor explains that her use of masks above the head (rather than over the face) allow both the animal and the human (the actor) to be perceived at the same time, a visual equivalent to the way animals are anthropomorphized in folktales.

VIDEO:  Julie Taymor Talks About The Costume Design For The Lion King … 

Her use of the mask above the head evokes, for me, the ceremonial lion’s mane headdresses of Maasai men, and she uses a red makeup pattern for the lion characters also evocative of the Maasai.

Maasai warrior, traditionally wearing the manes of lions he had killed during his warrior age phase, arriving for ritual passage into elderhood, accompanied by girlfriends

learn more about our school programs at agostinoarts.com

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Transformations — About the Company

About the Company

— adapted from Transformations! The Story behind the Painted Faces by Christopher Agostino – revised 12/12/12

The first face I painted was in 1976, as a young actor asked to help turn hundreds of my fellow high school students into clowns for a bicentennial parade. By the next summer, the members of our theater troupe had opened a facepainting concession at Adventureland Amusement Park on Long Island, NY. I haven’t stopped painting faces since. (Why would I? It’s too much fun).

In the eighties I began to look at facepainting differently — as an art. The art of transformation. In 1983 I was in LA,  painting faces and bodies at Venice Beach. I joined with another performer and visual artist, Jennifer Green, to promote facepainting to museums and art shows as well as the usual gigs. Jenn’s approach to a face was very different from mine. On the same day that I painted a classic Chinese Opera design on her as a logo for our fledgeling company, she turned me into abstract art.

When I returned to New York, I got a gig painting faces in the window of Unique Clothing right on Broadway in Greenwich Village and worked there on and off through the mid- ‘80s. It was facepainting as public entertainment. As was the case at both the amusement park and Venice Beach, I was painting more adults and teens than kids. I worked on ways to blend my theatrical approach and the Chinese Opera imagery with the punk styles people were wearing on the streets.

The extensive event industry in New York let me move from street fairs, where people paid for each face, to being hired for private parties and corporate events. Sometimes I’d be able to bring along another artist who painted full faces, but most often there would be other freelance facepainters on these gigs with their own styles or just doing cheek art.

As the work became more steady and the events larger, I wanted to always work with a group of artists who approached this art like I did, to present facepainting as more than a cute diversion for little kids. That led in the ‘90s to the formation of the company, Transformations Facepainting, and that was when facepainting really became fun.

Finding a facepainting home like the Bronx Zoo has allowed us to develop and maintain a company of very experienced artists. The members of Transformations Facepainting, over the years, have included: Dennis Pettas, Roberta Halpern,  Jennifer Wade, Miguel Cossio, Laura Metzinger, Michele Carlo,  Angela Izrailova, Miko and Claudia Reese, Jin Young Park, Danny Gosnell, Naoko Oshima,  Margery Gosnell-Qua,  Maria Pirone, Sigfrido Aguilar, Janet Izzo, Denise Lord,  Nirupama Kumar, Christine Gregory, Zak Brown, Lizi Costache, Regina Russo, Phil Zirkuli, Britt Lower, Colleen Gallagher, Deborah Berkson, Abigail Weg. Our website and promotional materials are full of my snapshots of the faces that I paint — their work is vastly under-represented in proportion to their contribution to the success of our company.

The artists who find their way into our company tend to stay with us. It’s so much fun and we like each other.

Before I had an organized troupe, I had friends to paint with. I’d get canvas painters I knew, like Wanda Boudreaux, to try facepainting. Wanda’s from New Orleans, so we also got a chance to paint down there for Mardi Gras, and I have always felt that I learned as much from artists like Wanda as they learned from me. Some of the other artists I’ve painted with along the way include Kate Cain Madsen (who began like me back at Adventureland), Teddy Goldman, Anne Farmer, Diane Epstein, Suzanne Haring and her sisters, Jodi Levitan, Susan-Rachel Condon, Luanne Dietrich, Erica Borillo,  and Therese Schorn. Some of these artists were with me as I first began to discover what I wanted to do with a face.

A facepainter is an artist who entertains, and entertainers get into the most interesting places. One day we may be painting at a party in the inner recesses of the New York Stock Exchange and the next day we’re painting an endless line of kids in the Bronx for the NYC Parks Department. One summer, Transformations was hired by the Nature Conservancy for the Long Island Beach Festival. It was a wonderful event, right on the beach at Smiths Point Park. I got to tell stories and talk about nature and facepainting to the crowd strolling through the tent, and we got a chance to dip our toes in the ocean afterwards. This is a wonderful business.

Usually for such events I’ll give the artists a theme and maybe some source images like masks or sea life photos and they will invent their own faces. This time I tried something different. I gave to the three artists working with me (Naoko, Marge and Miguel), a set of 70 sea life faces I had sketched out for an earlier project at the New York Aquarium and asked them for that day to use my designs rather than their own. We told the crowd we were painting not to worry about what they wanted to be, that everyone would be surprised with a different sea life face.

As these three accomplished artists, who I have worked beside for years, began painting my face designs each took their own approach, brought their own style and vision, and none of the faces looked like I’d painted them. What a pleasure it was to work beside them.

For such artists to believe me when I tell them what I think is possible in this unconventional medium; for them to let me give them certain rules for painting on certain days; for colleagues to let me set a course for their creativity — this is all a very unexpected consequence of my decision to be a facepainter. To have a company of artists who want to do what I do amazes me.

to learn about all our programs: agostinoarts.com
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