Bodyssey 2009 in Toronto


This was the third Bodyssey face and body art convention. I was an instructor for the first Bodyssey in 2009 in Toronto but I missed Bodyssey 2010 in Calgary. Then the organizers took a little hiatus until 2016 and really came back with a bang and held Bodyssey at the Banff Centre in Banff, Alberta, Canada. This event was organized by Liz Mortlock (Absolutely Fabulous Facepainting) and a small team that she had put together including Larissa Reinders, Melody Kielek, Joanne Hawkins, Tracy Falukozi, and Corlann Alfred.

It was great to see some of my instructor friends from previous conventions, but it is always great making new friends too. This year's line up consisted of the following instructors. Nick Wolfe, Mark Reid, Jinny, Heather Green, Annie Reynolds, Jocelyn Casdorph, Wiser Oner, Larissa Reinders, Kim Brennan, Malcolm Russell, Ryan Pilling, Amanda O’Leary, Dustin Queary, Phileas Flash, Jackie Ochitwa, Brendan Ord, Greg T, Lianne Moseley, Andrea O’Donnell, and Lucie Brouillard.

Photographer Jeff McDonald ( ) was on hand to capture all of the great imagery of the event including this picture above of all of the instructors. He also created a fantastic book that is available for purchase at . I bought a copy and was very impressed with amount of great art and photography. It's a little pricey due to the need to be a print-on-demand book, but for me it was well worth it...especially when I found out that one of my bodypaintings made the back cover and another one got a full 2-page spread. Click on the book cover below for more info.

Here is my personal daily journal of the festivities of each day.

DAY 1 - Thursday, April 21st - INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

As my wife was driving me to the airport, we were discussing the news that Prince had just died. I found it kind of ironic that I had worn purple socks this day for the first time in my life. I flew from Phoenix Sky Harbor on a direct flight to Calgary International Airport and thankfully got through customs without a hitch. During the flight I was thinking of a concept for a bodypainting tribute to Prince that would show his portrait and a caption that changed the spelling of Purple Rain to Purple "Reign" and list the years of his birth and death.

At the airport I was picked up by Allison Findlay who owns Main Artery Designs in Red Deer, Alberta. We had some wonderful conversations on the way to the Banff Center. Turns out she was also a bit of a geek like me and was preparing for the Calgary Comic Expo the week after Bodyssey. Thanks for the ride Allison! There was a meet and greet happening when we arrived and I met a few of the attendees like Melanie Rodgers, Magna Glosli Goerke, and Kelly Virgona as well as instructors Jinny, Jackie Ochitwa, and Brendan Ord.

After checking into my room, I wondered down to the bar and found my fellow Phoenician Jocelyn Casdorph sitting at an outdoor table equipped with a fire pit. Also at her table were Andrea O'Donnell and her daughter Tana Green, and model Jessica Mellow from New York. I mentioned my idea of the Prince painting to Jessica and she volunteered to do the project with me that evening. We finished the painting and photoshoot around 2am. Here's one of the shots.


DAY 2 - Friday, April 22nd - CLASS AND THE UV JAM

For my first class, the bodypainting was inspired by a headress that I bought at Groovie Ghoulies in Mesa. The theme evolved to be a purple alien warrior princess. I introduced the class to several techniques including making chain mail with the top from a bottle of glitter. The class had 4 models to work with so that we made a semi-cohesive team of aliens. I was assisted by Rose Hamel on my project with model Katt Bornais. Other students worked with model Brandon Behm to create her purple alien partner (I believe Amber Gillard was one painter).

Later in the evening, there was a UV jam where everyone was either a painter or a model and there were some really wonderful creations. I had the priviledge of working with model Tara Smith. There were several ideas tossed about, but her pink hair really started the brainstorm session. I had pink UV paint with me from Pro-Aiire and I mentioned doing a bustier that would match the little fascinator hat that I had brought along. She mentioned that she happened to have a pink feather boa and pink fish net stockings with her. The last idea came from photographer Jeff McDonald who was hoping to see some sugar skull day of the dead make-up. So here is one shot of the conglomeration that we came up with for the UV jam.


For my first class on Saturday, here was the class description:

Easy Airbrush with Freehand, Stencils, and Masks Oh My! - It’s time to get creative with what you can do with an airbrush to make a Cyborg bodypainting. First some introductory notes about airbrushes and the body paints available in the vendors room. Next we’ll show how to do some freehand painting by controlling the paint flow to make lines and dots and cover then cover larger surface areas. This will clearly demonstrate the advantages of using stencils which can be store-bought or homemade. These can make intricate details quick and flawless. And then we’ll show how to use McGuyver inspired masks made of paper, foam sheets, tape, and liquid latex to make beautiful effects on our body painted cyborg.
Models will be provided for this class.

My model for the class was Annie Reynolds daughter, Ally. Even though her mother is one of the top body artists in Australia, Ally had never done bodypainting before. She was awesome to work with and was very photogenic at the picture booth. Our theme as mentioned above was to show techinques to make a cyborg, however with the length of the class we weren't able to get a complete bodypainting finished. Some of the techniques that I showed were influenced by Alex Hanson's work and some basic airbrushing techniques. Here's one of the shots from the class.

I taught a second class after lunch on Saturday. This time the class was about using Airbrush for Accent and Speed so I did two quick demonstrations since the class was just an hour and a half. The first project was with a beautiful model named Ayla Cierra and I demonstrated some quick techniques to make cool space scenes. The first was a messy smear using a page from a magazine to make the planet colors. Then there were some basic airbrush methods used with "found" stencils to shadow the planets. Last effect was the splattered stars and starglow effect and the 3-d element using latex. For the second demo I again had the priviledge of working with Ally. We proceeded to paint a mid-riff shirt with the Canadian maple leaf. The intent was to show how to paint first with sponge and brush and then add shadows and wrinkles with airbrush. During the previous photoshoot with Ally, I discovered she was a very gifted gymnast, so instead of leaving this painting as a t-shirt, we finished off the bottoms to emulate a gymnast outfit. Here's pics of each of these painting demos:

Eddie from Iron Maiden featured the beautiful model Bree Revitt-Lang with bodypainting assist from Nick Wolfe on the upper chest and the incredible hair lift by Jason Mellor. For this project I used Smooth On products to sculpt the "mask" on her face and then painted it with Wolfe paints.


DAY 4 - Sunday, April 24th - ALIEN INVASION

Just one class today. Here was the description:

Introducing Airbrush to Accent and Speed Up Your Brush/Sponge Work - Facepainting and Bodyart doesn’t need to be brush/sponge OR airbrush, it can be both. This class is targeted primarily at artists who have primarily worked with sponge and brush but want to add a little airbrush to their arsenal. Using very simple airbrush techniques we’ll add shadows to painted on clothing. We’ll also cover how to quickly lay down base coats for face paintings that incorporate smooth fades and make-up techniques. Plus I’ll demonstrate some easy airbrush ideas to bodypaint sky murals and dramatic space scenes on a model torso.
Models will be provided for this class.

For this class, I again had the opportunity to work with makeup artist Tara Smith as my model. To demonstrate techniques that combined the use of airbrush and sponge/brush, I opted to do a mural on her back of the beautiful lakes and mountains of Banff. I wasn't able to photograph her once I was finished since I had to cover for another instructor's class, but luckily Jeff McDonald was able to take some fantastic pictures of this painting. In fact, this is the painting that became the back cover of the book he created.

I had a bodypainting celebrity in this class. Cosplay bodypainter Kay Pike was attending the event in full costume as Rogue from the X-Men. Here is a picture of the two of us after the class.

The last class of the day was an instructor panel at 4pm where everyone had the opportunity to ask questions and give feedback to the instructors and production team. Lots of prizes were raffled off (I won a huge box of balloons, but ended up giving them to a young up-and-coming balloon artist there). I guess karma was on my side because shortly thereafter, they annouced that I had been chosen as the Instructor of the Year which was quite an honor (and I blushed for quite a while). Later in the evening most of us went out to diner at a really cool fondue restaurant called Grizzley. We had quite a bit of fun and I was joined at my table with Cindy Farslow, Ezia Leach, Lianne Moseley, Nathalie Legault, Timmy Bond, and several others.


The description for my Master Class was:

BODY ART TOOLBOX FOR COSPLAY - Cosplay is hot right now and many costumes incorporate body paint. This class will provide you with lots of tools for painting stunning costumes. We’ll cover simple texturing techniques with sponges to adding shading with beginner level airbrush techniques. We’ll explore skin tones and makeup techniques on blue or green characters and how to make clothes more realistic with folds, edges, highlights, and shadows. Oh yes, and there will be latex. Liquid latex can be used for the look of leather clothing or it can be molded for 3-D effects like scars, zombie skin, and creative pasties. And finally, we’ll delve into some introductory mold making to show how to make and apply silicon prosthetics to take character design to the next level…easily.

Master Class attendees were Deanna Hartmier (Winnipeg, Manitoba), Fran Williams (Calgary, Alberta), Alison Williams (London, Ontario), Magna Glosli Goerke (Mission, British Columbia), Véronique Fournel (Quebec, Quebec), Véronique Chiasson (Saint-Jérôme, Quebec), Dominique Panneton (Repentigny, Quebec), Christine Bucknell Turpin (Armstrong, British Columbia), Eveliny Cordero (Winnipeg, Manitoba), Kuniko Okano (Shizuoka-shi, Shizuoka, Japan), and our translator Stephanie Suzuki (Shizuoka-shi, Shizuoka, Japan).... and one other that I didn't catch her name. Our first task was to mold pasties using water based clay and then poured molds using Smooth-On products to create Dragon Skin prosthetics (sorry to the few who didn't get these before the materials ran out). We then glued these on and moved into airbrush and sponge techniques. Master Class models were Sharon Falconer, Ally Reynolds, Lianne Moseley, Rhean Murray, Krista Jenke, and David Luckman. My demo model was Ally and here is a picture of her as a pink leopard with a cute fascinator hat.

There were so many other awesome paintings from all of the instructors and participants and so many other exciting stories to tell, but hopefully that gives you a quick look at Bodyssey from my point of view. I highly recommend checking out the book on Bodyssey 2016 mentioned above to get a broader perspective on the incredible artwork and experiences that made this a magical journey. I'm looking forward to being a part of the next one which is scheduled for 2018.


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Unless noted otherwise, Photography and Artwork by Mark Greenawalt c2016.  All rights reserved.

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