When I decided to start writing a regular blog it was my intention to update it every week or after every completed project I wanted to share with you all. This last week quickly presented a dilemma as I have worked on something different and exciting each day that has passed with just 1 day’s break in between to catch my breath and prep for the second half of travelling and modelling that was still to follow. After the 1st day’s project was complete I concluded that although a couple of broken hours at the tail end of the day may have allowed me to put fingers to keyboard and churn something out, mental and physical energy certainly wasn’t going to and that time was certainly better utilised sleeping ready for the next day that was to follow. Also, the chances of me maintaining that continuity every day that followed as I got more exhausted and had to travel further and further for the next project it was apparent I would have to be writing it in my dreams. So I decided that much like the week itself would be, an appropriate mammoth like blog to record this series of events come the end of it would be far wiser. A week soooo long and full of soooo much tasty goodness it actually needed an extra day to squeeze it all in! So here it is… Many miles, shoots, locations, experiences and 8 days later, here is my week in full! Enjoy…
Monday 30th January (Head-casting for IMATS)
After what was my birthday weekend and incidentally also the weekend I packed up the rest of my house for my upcoming London move, first thing Monday morning I found myself at Bromsgrove NEW College, waiting to be head-cast for the upcoming IMATS exhibition and Iain Burton-Legge’s Training School. A new experience for me that I was very much looking fwd to, though a little apprehensive about what I was to undergo LOL. First of all I was told to remove my top, was taped into bin liners and then told to sit in the chair on the large plastic sheeting, surrounded by several unknown faces eagerly looking on to see what was going to happen! – Hey! What is this?! I’ve seen things like this in movies and I know that guy didn’t end up walking outta there! Haha… Talk about adding suspense to an already unnerving situation! My head was then cling-filmed over – My scenario still isn’t looking any better at this point – leaving my nose free to breathe (phew!) before the application of bandages with a silicon mix formed the basis of the cast.
You’ll have to forgive my vagueness regarding the whole process stage cos at this point as I’m sure you’ve already gathered I was unable to actually see anything so can only really comment on how I was feeling inside of it. Surprisingly it was actually very peaceful and comforting in there… To the point I think I actually started to fall asleep. I can only hope the layers being applied drowned out my sorry snoring and saved everyone else’s ears. The time very quickly passed with what felt like a pleasant though interrupted nap. I believe the total duration was only actually about 30 minutes until the exterior had set. At this point the the piece was carefully removed in 2 sections. This is where it was a little painful as the odd strands of my wandering long hair had got caught up in the Silicon and made the baby hairs pull and smart a bit as it was peeled away. All in all though a straight forward and effective process with no real complaints. I remember on being uncased the light was almost surreal to see again along with several recognised faces still peering intently on at me.
Once the Silicon head cast was removed… It was then joined together with the same process to form a solid hollow case in-which the mould could be filled with plaster to form the solid piece from which further copies can be created. Every little pin hole of the cast had to be sealed in order to stop the plaster from running out of the mould. This proved to be a difficult task as even after the most thorough of prep the slightest hole had managed to escape and extracted liquid from it. Fortunately it was easy to treat quickly and the end result unaffected. The Plaster set very quickly and then it was time to remove silicon pieces that had been joined… Again in 2 parts. When the plaster head was exposed and sat there for the first time I found it very freaky to look at… I didn’t recognise myself without hair and all my features so intensely captured for all to see. I had also clearly fell asleep during the process and as a result had an ever so slightly odd look left on my face!
This piece will then be polished up so that it is smooth and less crude looking to be put on display at IMATS of the upcoming weekend which I was also modelling at. On from that several Silicon copies will be produced for use within the Training School and one which I shall be able to take home and put in proud place to scare my guests away! Haha… So all in all a valuable and enjoyable experience as both a model and a creative, learning about another process that is widely used in this industry for many films and programmes. With thanks to Iain Burton-Legge as always, I now look forward to seeing the final end result and am thrilled to of been a part of such a special day that I will fondly remember. Plus… Unlike any film I’ve seen involving pastic sheeting, bin bags and cling film, I did indeed get to walk out alive!
Tuesday 31st January (‘Hobgoblin’ Beer Shoot)
Next up was a shoot I had been very much looking forward to for ‘Hobgoblin’ beer! I arrived Tuesday morning at a recording studio in Birmingham and was greeted by photographer Simon Winnall. My brief for the day was that of being a ‘drummer’. The promotion for the brand I’m told was based around musician type people just doing there thing. A very ‘real’ approach to the world of musicians and something drinkers of the product were symbolised by and could relate to. My clothes were accordingly chosen and my hair messed up to fulfill the look of someone raw and passionate and I was set up with drums to capture the required shots. We did all manner of expressions and striking of the kit to fully exhaust the possibilities on offer and obtain the desired result.
On viewing of the photo’s there were certainly a handful of strong images I personally loved and the client also seemed very happy with. Simon had a vision of a very amateur type finish (Though certainly no reflection of his expert photography) to represent the look and feel the brief had in mind. I’m told the final adverts will be appearing in pubs, bars and online throughout the festival season, which I look forward to seeing. As I currently have no images or final pieces to share with you from this shoot as yet I shall update this blog with shots and links as and when I receive and can publish them, so please do check back to view them.
Thursday 2nd February (‘Dead Good Undies’ Shoot)
After a welcome and much needed day’s break I next found myself off to Shropshire, Wales to shoot for Dead Good Undies
. I was met by founder and photographer Adam Davies whereby we discovered a shared passion for Hyundai Coupe’s and a friend in common… Never ceases to amaze me just how small a world it can be at times. The shoot lasted around 3 hours during which time I worked my way through a rail of underwear and modelled some 60 odd pairs of undies for their online site and catalogues. A few are pictured below and more can be found on their site as they are uploaded over the coming weeks. Needless to say, modelling them was more exhausting than writing this short summary of the day. I personally had a great shoot, found Adam fun and very easy to work with and am looking forward to modeling for him again in the future. Thanx Adam
Friday 3rd February (Underwear Shoot)
Today I found myself in North London for another underwear shoot with photographer Matias Galan and a stones throw away from Alexandra Palace where I would be modelling at IMATS the next 2 days. I find this happens to me a lot with regards to shoots and loactions that happen to come about at the same times. I’d like to say it was planned… It wasn’t. Just blind luck yet again! We set about creating some beautiful images in a series of different underwear with some beautiful lighting and shadows. There were a few images I immediately fell in love with and cannot wait to share with you.
Saturday 4th February (IMATS Day 1)
… IMATS, IMATS, IMATS! YES… I was excited to be part of this awesome event! Not least because I was to spend 2 days being body-painted by the wonderful Sarah Atwell
into 2 wonderful creations! Upon arriving I was again greeted by the great Iain Burton-Legge and taken to the ‘Circle Creatif
‘ / ‘Treasure House of Make-Up
‘ stand where we would be pitched for the weekend. There I was greeted again by the ever wonderful Ian Massa-Harris
who I hadn’t seen since wig party last October! I knew it was gonna be the first of great 2 days! The team continued to arrive quickly over the next half an hour and I also got to meet some new faces whom it was clear I would quickly come to miss by the end of the event. Added to that, on the stand opposite was the MUA and Hair Stylist who had made me over every morning on ‘Snow White’ from October to December last year, whom it was also a pleasant surprise to see again. What was I saying about coincidence and it being such a small world!
Before any body art started though I made it my first priority to see the newly polished head casting from the Monday previous, which was now sitting in proud place on the stand in front of my Hades banner from Wig Party! I much prefered the polished finish of my head as it had removed a lot of unsightly flaws I could see in myself LOL… But still found myself looking very odd! Mainly I think because I had no hair or beard which changes my look completely and leaves me looking very baby faced. If you ever want a true reality check of how you actually look I suggest you get your head cast… It’s certainly a wake up call that those who love us indeed accept us warts n all! LOL
So next it was onto the body paint! Yay! Which happened to be on the coldest day I can remember in a long while not that I was complaining. Stripped down to white boxer briefs I blocked out the reality of the temperature and focussed on the project at hand. The paint was applied stage by stage throughout the course of the day so that customers could witness the transformation in all it’s glory. Sarah started off by painting a lions head onto my torso an abdomen with the hair of it’s mane covering the rest to my arms and canvas available.
Once this was done Ian Massa-Harris decided to pay my head some attention and turn me into an ‘Apocalypto’ type character from the Mel Gibson film whilst Sarah worked on my back creating a map of Africa that incorporated the ‘Circle Creatif’ logo.
After several hours and some finishing touches of Gold and a fur skirt being applied, I was free to roam the exhibition in all my animal glory to pose for photos and promote the company with body artist Sarah where we caused quite a reaction and received some very flattering feedback. A great pay off to a days hard work and the unique talents of all involved.
Next it was time to finally shower and get all the paint off… There’s always a downside to these things!
Sunday 5th February (IMATS Day 2)
IMATS Day 2! This is the one I’d been waiting for… After the success that was the Lion the day previous, This was the day I was to become an Alien! Mark Alien to be exact! – I thought I’d be the first to get that association out the way before anyone else does! LOL
D Sunday was somewhat warmer than the Saturday bizarrely despite the torrent of snow that had graced the streets overnight and made travelling and parking there a near impossibility.
Freshly showered and free of Lion Paint I was again stripped and set to work on by the lovely Sarah… Her design was to have slashes of my skin removed with Alien skin showing through from underneath. A concept I loved and which I found truly reminiscent of my 80′s childhood courtesy of the lizardesque show ‘V’ where they lived among the human race and ate rats. True nostalgia right there! Though we weren’t going for a direct copy of this, the nod was certainly there in my mind. The most difficult part of this day for me was the contact lenses. Having only actually worn them once before at a previous shoot last year and remembering ther trouble I’d had then I was not much looking forward to the antics to follow but was determined to overcome this obstacle none the less. On and off for about 40 minutes, myself, Sarah and Ian all tried to get them in to no avail.
Finally though my eyes seemed to calm down and then we finally managed to get them in! Yay! They always feel a little odd at first and this time was certainly no different… Though this time they did not seem to want to sit correctly. The designs on the eyes revolving as they saw fit and making me look very odd indeed. After attempting to correct this several times I ultimately admitted defeat and let them sit as they pleased, on reflection actually adding to the freakiness of the end result I feel.
Sarah started by painting gashes onto my Torso, followed by my face… This seemed a quicker session than the day before though there was a great deal of detail being added. This was defianetly the look I enjoyed more… I loved how sinister it felt and the disgusted but admiring reactions we recieved. Whilst Sarah was completing my front, Ian again set to work on me… This time on my back, creating a worm like creature that was crawling out of me using silicon, which he touchingly named ‘Simon’ (?! LOL). Once this was done gashes were added to my back by Sarah and the final touches of blood put in place. Then again it was time to go a wandering… For more photo’s and promotion of our stand. We received even more attention this time around despite the diminishing numbers due to the snow that had hit and the praise drew interest in the Training School courses that were on offer by Circle Creatif for that weekend only.
Posing with the lovely Lee Diddi
Strangling the lovely and talented Sarah Attwell
Again the time came to shower and say goodbye to all my friends and colleagues new and old that I will sorely miss and secure yet another memory to bank before the drive back to Birmingham for my next and last days work of a very long week!
Monday 6th February – Morning (TV Commercial)
After a late night back and what seemed like the shortest sleep ever. I next found myself at the NEC for the DIY Trade Show to film an advert for CEL UK
to be shown on ITV and SKY channels. I was met by the lovely Hannah Parker and there to help promote a new product called the ‘Power 8′, which in short is a multifunctional tool box of devices. First of all we were shown (by the designer and developer) the product in action and then asked to use it ourselves before being asked questions on camera of our thoughts on it. Straight forward really.
As someone who is somewhat of a stranger to DIY for reasons known only too well by those close to me personally, even I was very impressed by this product. I actually think my detachment from DIY was in fact a benefit as I was able to appreciate the product on a first time buyers level and found it actually caught my interest naturally through its Unique Selling Points. In short it was a mobile and versatile carry case that comprised of circle saw, drill, batteries and light that could be used in any environment (with or without mains supply) as either a fixed unit or hands free. The thing I found most surprising about it was how lightweight yet sturdy it was. I was genuinely impressed and am glad I can also actually recommend it on its own valued merits.
I don’t have any shots from the shoot to share with you sadly but shall add a link to the final advert as and when it is uploaded so you can see the fruits of my labour for yourself. I would like to say a big thank you to Hannah Parker for both the opportunity and her lovely feedback on my work
||Very professional and confident on camera. Thanks Mark
- Hannah Parker
Monday 6th February – Evening (Media Event)
My day and week came to a fitting close as I attended Vaughan Bailey’s
VIP Media event in Birmingham, which saw a host of guests from the Industry meeting up to network and meet like-minded individuals. I would like to thank Vaughan for the invite as I met some great people and got to catch up with some valued friends, which served as the perfect end to my perfect 8 day week!