Skin is Canvas for Mehron UK

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Creating beautiful images on someone’s skin for a canvas is nothing new for talented body painters Sarah Ashleigh and Branka Vorkapic.  They’ve been doing this for years.Mehron UK back skyline

Recently invited to body paint some British themed artwork for Mehron UK, Sarah and Branka created a look to depict the ‘Best of British’ and then painted their human canvasses using the fabulous Mehron Paradise AQ makeup.  Designing a scene of the London skyline on the backs of the girls was the first part of the image, using a number of the fabulous metallic colours. Mehron Body Paint Creation On the front, Branka suggested (in perfect timing with the vote to keep Scotland part of the UK, the Union Jack was painted.  Male model Sam was the body painted up as one of the Queen’s Guards – and later on that day posed in London’s famous Carnaby Street for a few photos too.

“I’ve loved face painting since I was a little girl and always been arty” Sarah told me.  She completed a degree in specialist make up at West Thames College, where she went on to discover more about the world of body painting.  At that point, you can pretty much say she fell in love with it.

Since then, Sarah’s amazing creative work has seen her body painting and providing make up for fancy dress, parties, corporate events and advertising as well as appearing in magazines.  She’s even (despite being embarrassed about her appearance) been on ITV’s This Morning with Alan Titchmarsh!  “I love visiting the World Body Painting Festival in Austria every year and came 2nd in the student category when I was studying”.

Meeting up with her ‘co pilot’ Branka, Sarah says was a lucky move for her.  The two now frequently work together, their skills complimenting each other perfectly.   Last year they entered the World body painting festival competition and placed 23rd in the world for brush and sponge category.  The girls were our only British finalists!

I’ve seen Sarah and Branka in action and both are amazing in their work.  Their use of colour and detail and creativity is clear to see, and it’s also obvious why they work so well together.  I can’t wait to see their next project!

And Mehron – How did it all start for Mehron?
Mehron Melik founded Mehron Inc. in 1927 in New York City, just off Broadway, right in the heart of the theatre district. Mehron Body PaintPerfectly located, Mehron catered for the makeup needs of the artists and performers in theatre, vaudeville, burlesque, opera, ballet, and silent films.  Slightly later, after the start of WWII, Mehron devoted his talents and expertise to helping severely disfigured soldiers learn how to use makeup products to camouflage their scars, wounds and burns.

During the 1950’s and 1960’s, the entertainment business began to migrate across the United States. In order to keep pace, the distribution of professional quality makeup products shifted to retail outlets and hundreds of stores became Mehron dealers  In 1971, Mehron’s son, Martin Melik, assumed control of the family business. He implemented new methods of promotion and distribution, expanded and improved the Mehron product line, and ushered in a new era of aggressive growth and customer service.

2012 marked the 85th year of operation for Mehron, and today, a diverse group of over 3,000 retail specialty stores carries the Mehron brand of products, worldwide. Brand distribution is supported by a select group of full-line, full-service stocking distributors in the United States, U.K., Indonesia, Turkey, Mexico, Canada, Germany, France, Switzerland, Australia, Malaysia, Korea and Hong Kong.Mehron Palette

The UK stockist – Mehron UK commissioned this British themed body paint shoot using Paradise Makeup AQ.  The body paint is semi-soft, water activated moist cake makeup co-created with Mehron by Jinny Houle, World Renowned Body Painting Artist. Paradise is the makeup that thrust body painting into a new dimension with its wide selection of dynamic colours. Because it is water activated, the hues of the colours can be controlled by the artist. Professional body painters and face painters love the ease of application and the ability to fully control the depth of the colours.  With a huge colour range that goes from bold, striking matt to brilliant metallic sheens, and the well known coconut scent, Mehron’s Paradise Makeup AQ is world famous.  As a brand, Mehron makes products specifically for commercial theatrical, educational, motion picture, television, video, opera, clowning, Halloween, and face painting markets, with their products sold in over 25 countries worldwide.  Today, many large productions including Blue Man Group, Cirque du Soleil, The Metropolitan Opera, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and The American Ballet Theatre depend on Mehron products to look their best and performers such as the Black Eyed Peas, Hilary Duff and Pink are brand fans.


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Makeup to Transform

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It’s amazing what makeup can do, and how much it can change your face, change your personality and let you be something completely different

I’m sure you’ll have heard the phrase ‘putting on my face’ – it’s often used! Putting your face on can make you feel like someone new and give you confidence to face the world and hide what you may not want others to see. It’s like transforming yourself into who you want the world to know.Katrina Stamp Yanet Spaces Photography

And ‘war paint’. War paint is another term used, albeit more tongue in cheek! But war paint was exactly what warriors wanted – a mask painted on, and often with body paint too, applied to frighten their enemies in battle, giving them a monster like appearance and making them appear more fierce.

From history we know that makeup use is ancient. And we know that it was used around 4000 BC in some form by the ancient Egyptians, by both men and women for spiritual and magical practices. The discovery of makeup equipment (palettes, applicators) have been found in ancient burial sites, even in the most humble of graves, and hieroglyphic pictures have given us this insight.

Makeup in ancient times would have been made from pigments taken from vegetables and berries to create colour for lips and cheeks, whilst the Egyptians used Udju, made from green malachite (green ore of copper) to create green eye shadow and kohl for black, used around the eyes, creating the almond, cat eye shape favoured by this civilisation.

And makeup use has continued throughout our history. In the Elizabethan era it was a sign of good health and prestige to have a fair complexion, as the poorer classes would have to work outdoors, and only rich women would have fair skin. We know of the Elizabethans using Ceruse, which was lead based, to whiten faces, which often resulted in death from lead poisoning!

But makeup as we know it today, really started to get going in 1909/1910 with the launch of L’Oreal, Elizabeth Arden, Max Factor and Helena Rubinstein. And since then developments in the cosmetics world mean that it’s not just available for film crews, or the rich and famous who can wear it, but it means we all have access to a fast growing variety of makeup brands and products. Today the UK cosmetics industry alone is worth approximately £2.25bn (source CompaniesandMarkets.com Aug 2013), with the L’Oreal Group being one of the leading cosmetics brands in the world.

One of the best examples we know for transforming someone into something different, often completely unrecognisable from how the original person looked, using makeup is special effects (SFX) makeup.

This is used widely in films and TV to create Sci-Fi characters, horror film monsters aRobin Williams Mrs Doubtfire prostheticsnd zombies as well as to create bruises, wounds and cuts from the simple to the most horrific. If you’ve seen the film Mrs Doubtfire (1993) you may know that the main actor, Robin Williams was famously made up with eight separate pieces of prosthetics and underwent four and half hours each day in makeup to have the prosthetics applied to transform him from the actor we know into his female film character.

But makeup alone, without SFX and any prosthetics, can still transform a face completely!

By using dark to shade and light to highlight specific areas, you can appear to change the actual face shape entirely. Half drag MakeupWe see this with talented drag artists who use the technique when applying their makeup to change the shape of their male face into a female one – male and female bone structures are slightly different, and makeup can help them create the illusion of being female. Have a look at this image (Leland Bobbe) – the artist is half made up so you can see more easily where dark areas appear to create hollows or deep set areas and the whiter highlights make the area appear more prominent.

In makeup, we use the terms ‘dark takes back and light brings forward’.

And here, this step by step picture of highlighting and shading a face using makeup alone transforms the mfour stage contour highlight makeupodel’s face. The model looks totally different at the end with shading, highlighting, eye makeup, blusher and lips all applied.

Try it with your own makeup. Use a dark matt shade to contour your face, creating hollows under your cheek bones. This makes your cheek bones appear more defined. Apply light to the actual cheek and brow bones and these areas are considerably more prominent.