|Hellraiser inspired peeled skin demon photo shoot
Artistic collaboration with Sarah Smith
So this is the first time I've written a blog. Like, ever. So don't expect much! But at least I get to start with a pretty damn awesome project - the Horrify Me collaboration with artist Sarah Smith and models Debbie Tolley and Sarah-Jayne Pearson.
I first met Sarah and Debbie at the Bram Stoker Film Festival in Whitby back in 2014. I attended with my horror photography and they were part of the then-UK Body Painting League (which has now changed into the Midlands Bodypaint Project).
Debbie came for a shoot at my studio soon after, which was epic, messy, gory, and pretty disgusting. But we had fun.
It was on my mind to do a body paint collaboration with Sarah for some time and eventually I suggested a Hellraiser "peeled body" theme.
Sarah painted Debbie in full anatomically accurate muscle forms. While she was busy on this, I began work on model Sarah in a similar theme but I went for a more "horror movie" fantasy version, with chunks of dead skin nailed to the peeled body and bandages over the skinned face. It was pretty grim!
I'm no painter, and my work was based on my usual technique of glue and latex with the paint being used to add colour and texture. But watching Sarah work was mesmerizing. Body painting is a fascinating art form and ever since I first met the body painters I have been enchanted by this unusual and bold method of exhibition. Using a live human as a blank canvas leads the artists into some truly bizarre and beautiful creative places.
As Sarah worked on the painting, those anatomical shapes and forms started to look good enough to educate.
Meanwhile, my own rather morbid and more demonic creation was coming along nicely. My model, Sarah (sorry I was working with two Sarahs so try and keep up) was incredibly patient and accommodating as I attacked her lovely feminine form with horrible liquid rubber and glue.
Sarah endured a far less elegant process than Debbie as I stuck brass screws to her, glued rotten teeth to her lips, wrecked all her neck skin, and bandaged her face up. All the while Debbie was being hand-painted with the cold fine mist of Sarah's airbrush.
The final stage was applying the gore effect, something Horrify Me is now renowned for. Sarah (the painter) very graciously let me free to splatter her beautiful work of art with my red gory mess to give it that just-peeled shimmer. The results blew all of our minds!
People liked these photos across the social networks. They picked up a LOT of love and even Clive Barker himself shared it and expressed his approval on Facebook! WOW! Right?
I said people like these photos. What I should have said was that MOST people liked these photos. MOST people appreciated the artistry, the hard work, the passion for the genre, the lighting and photography. MOST people. For a few people, these images were a bit much and they were constantly attacked by anonymous offended individuals who only saw nipples. Horrific, harmful, dangerous, corrupting female nipples. IMAGE REPORTED FOR NUDITY! IMAGE REPORTED FOR GRAPHIC VIOLENCE! Over and over and over. Trust me folks, it gets fucking boring.
Here's our little behind the scenes video from this amazing shoot. If you love fine art, and horror, then you'll enjoy this little video.
Thanks for reading folks. Keep loving horror :)