Coming October 25: The Amazing Face Show at Centenary Stage Company

from the Centenary Stage Company website:

The Amazing Face

The Amazing Face

Oct. 25, Sat. 2pm-LITTLE THEATRE The Amazing Face Show features a special selection of fun and surprising StoryFaces! This innovative performance art brings stories to life on the faces of the audience — exciting and scary tales from around the world and original stories to delight audience members of any age. You will be amazed! This is a very different kind of a show, a one-of-a-kind performance to inspire and delight any audience. Audience volunteers are brought on stage and face painted to illustrate the stories, fully engaging the audience with a skillful spoken word performance combined with unique visual art. The amazing face painting captivates the audience while they listen to traditional folktales and original stories, from funny to scary to moving.

Go Here:  For Tickets and More Information

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 See the video — The Amazing Face Video

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learn about all we do at: agostinoarts.com

The Eye of the Demon — a StoryFaces Performance

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a story cycle of Japanese adventure tales

for adults and brave family audiences

samurai vs. demons, ’nuff said

Medieval Japanese legends mixed up with Kabuki theatre and Kuniyoshi prints, Emaki scrolls and Onmiyoji, on top of a childhood of Kurasawa films and Marvel comics.

 ——————  The Stories  ————–

It begins with The Legend of the Haunted Bridge… A soldier brags how he’s never seen anything that frightened him, so the Governor orders him to cross the bridge and find out what the demon that haunts it looks like, “because a man must live up to his words, no matter how foolish they are.” It was the perfect ghost story for a face painting storyteller — perfect because it described the face I’d need to paint to tell it, the face of the demon. It’s a tale I’ve told for many years, and it’s led me on into the thrilling world of samurai.

Raiko vs. the Goblin Earth Spider is a Samurai-Superhero Adventure™, featuring a young Watanabe No Tsuna, the samurai that took care of that demon at the bridge, fighting armies of demons, an evil Spider Woman and a giant spider named Tsuchi-gumo, all at the side of Minamoto no Yorimitsu (aka “Raiko”), the first of the legendary samurai.

Part 3: The Princess Ibaraki and the Tale of the Drunken Demon — The Drunken Demon is a classic tale I saw on an emaki storytelling scroll. It includes the same Raiko and Tsuna defeating the demon, and one of the Drunken Demon’s henchmen escapes to to haunt a bridge. To bring the tales back around together I borrowed a character from the movie Onmyoji, a princess who turns into a demon.

           The Eye of the Demon is a full length StoryFaces performance for adults, with a family friendly version as well. It features retellings of tales from a thousand years ago about Japanese demons (which are more like monsters or ghosts than like devils) and the samurai who fight them, along with personal stories of my discovery of these tales and the art they’ve inspired, and the way this connects to the superhero comics I grew up on.

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By Kuniyoshi. My favorite Japanese printmaker depicted Raiko vs. the Spider several times

——————  The Sources  —————-

My original source for the haunted bridge tale was a story called “The Bridge” in the book Japanese Tales (Royal L. Tyler; Pantheon; 1987), and have since found related and extended versions of this type of tale online. I first came across Raiko vs. the Spider in Short and Shivery: 30 Chilling Tales (Rober San Souci, Doubleday, 1987). When I saw this tale show up again in a print by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861) in an exhibit at the Japan Society I began to understand the role medieval samurai legends have had in Japanese art and entertainment. For me, these tales are to be enjoyed as much through the illustrations, prints and other visual art they engender as through any text. The images drive the stories.

From a scroll by Kaiho Yuchiku (1654-1728) – The Drunken Demon surrounded by a bevy of ladies

onmyoji_jpgI first met  The Drunken Demon on an emaki at the exhibit Storytelling In Japanese Art at the Met, and again it was visual art driving me deeper into a story to tell. In addition to Raiko and Tsuna, the tale also included a wizard, Abe no Seimei, who I knew from a favorite movie of mine, Onmiyoji. In that movie, he has to solve the mysterious appearance of a namanari,  a living woman who turns into a demon — and I made a place for her in my tale as well.

Ibaraki Demon fleeing with her arm

Ibaraki Demon fleeing with her arm

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The Arm of the Demon

Another illustration in the exhibit was of the Ibaraki Demon stealing her arm back, and finding out just what that was all about led me into the classic tale of Watanabe no Tsuna and his battle with a demon on a bridge — adding a potential new piece to the puzzle. The iconic image of Tsuna cutting the demon’s arm off  has been frequently illustrated by Japanese artists, and led me to another face for my tale.

Emaki are handscrolls that tell such tales through illustration and text, kind of like comic books, and you unroll them as you read them so the images go across your vision as the story progresses, kind of like movies. Finding a way to understand these stories as comic books and superhero movies gives me my own way in. The word “samurai”, to me, means Toshiro Mifune in the Kurasawa films I first saw as a kid. Seeing Kwaidan (1964) really chilled me, and seeing how Ping Chong recreated such a visually complex movie as a live performance with puppets (at the New Victory Theatre) was a major influence on my developing StoryFaces technique.

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Angry Ocean, Waterfall Tears ©2011 Christopher Agostino

To get a feel for this imagery and work out how I can get these images onto a face in a story, my exploration of these tales also included bodypaintings using imagery from Kuniyoshi and other printmakers, one of which was a full re-working of the  Ibaraki Demon tale, but I changed the name to “Irabaki” to indicate it wasn’t the traditional tale I’d found — though now that I’ve seen how many strange and wonderful versions there are for these legends I’m more comfortable taking my own path through to telling them while keeping their names intact.

Painted for Kryolan Professional Makeup at IMATS New York

The Irabaki Demon — a BodyStory — Painted for Kryolan Professional Makeup at IMATS New York

learn about all we do at:  agostinoarts.com  See the video: What Is A StoryFace?

Related articles

What Is A StoryFace?

 

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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

 

learn about all we do at: agostinoarts.com

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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

Learn about all we do at: agostinoarts.com

Science On Your Face — World Science Festival 2014

Transformations_GridLOGO-Science

We were back at one of our favorite New York events this past weekend: The Ultimate Science Street Fair of the World Science Festival. I mean, where else would you ever get the opportunity to turn someone into a Higgs Boson? Or a Bunson Burner? For an adventurous artist like me, this is facepainting at it’s most fun. Here are some of my favorite faces from this year’s event:

This year the festival was focusing on robotics, weather and astronomy. I’m enough of a science geek that I love collecting the stories and images for new science faces each year.

learn more about all we do at: agostinoarts.com

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