A new experience today. An acquaintance is running a sort of ‘Hollywood camp’ – a group of kids meets for a few hours on weekdays. He asked my friend/business partner Jerry and me to come over to talk about make-up. Now, my experience with make-up is very limited – but I do have a decent little kit. Jerry started doing make-up as a kid, so he has a few tricks up his sleeve.
We went to the ‘art space’ and met with a group of about a half-dozen kids ranging from eight to ten years old. We thought we’d just do some mild stuff. One kid was a bit… erm… unsure about it. But we had lots of volunteers. Jerry made up the first kid’s hand to make it look as if he’d fallen and suffered abrasions. He started with a thin coating of liquid latex applied with a cosmetic sponge. Then he dug holes in it with the wooden end of a make-up brush and used the other end of the brush to apply some red make-up. Black was added for depth. Then there was a coat of gelatine to make it look ‘fresh’, and some dark blue make-up to add a little bruising and dirty areas. Finally, he used cotton to build up a nasty cut. The kids loved it! (Well, except for one little girl who didn’t think it was her bag.)
Soon, everyone (except the little girl) wanted a wound. Even the kid I mentioned first, who had shied away. He got a bullet hole in the head. (Not what I would have chosen, given their ages; but that’s what they wanted.) He left the wound on his forehead for a little while, but then took it off so that his mom wouldn’t get freaked out when she came to pick him up.
One little girl, whom I’ll call Sarah, wanted a wound when her mom came. She wanted to look as if an animal had scratched her throat. This was done by another little girl in the room who seems to be a natural when it comes to make-up. She applied three latex stripes with a cosmetic sponge, and then used a brush to add some red make-up. It looked great, and I was impressed that a nine-year-old was so talented. Sarah was coming up with all sorts of schemes to scare her mom and innocent passers-by. I like the way that kid thinks! She was going to tell people she’d been attacked by a dog, but I suggested she say that she’d been attacked by a lion. Or a leopard. Or that someone was out walking his shark, and it went nuts on her. (She told her mom it was a rottweiler.)
I put a ‘healed wound’ on my arm with rigid collodion, and a little red and black make-up applied with a brush. Soon they all wanted ‘healed wounds’. The shy kid asked me to make a Harry Potter scar on his forehead, and he was proud to show it off when his mom came. Another kid wanted me to draw a scar shaped like a lizard on his arm. I did, and it looked as if he’d been scratching pictures into his skin with a pin.
The piece de resistance was a nasty throat would. One little girl said she’d wanted a bloody gash on her neck. Jerry did an amazing job with latex, cotton, gell and make-up. Her mom was impressed, and the little girl wore the make-up home to shock her dad. (Damn, these kids are eeevil! Kinda makes me choke up!)
One of the moms wanted information on what make-up to get, so I wrote a very short list on the back of a business card for her that included Ben Nye make-up, Dick Smith’s Monster Make-Up book, rigid collodion, and liquid latex.
I also mentioned that kids could do make-up using common things the could find around the house such as bread crumbs and paper towels, which they could apply with liquid latex if they could get some.
Everyone had a great time. The kids loved learning how to do simple make-up effects. We were invited for the next ‘class’ next Monday. And we even got paid, which was a surprise. I’d have done it free. I really hope the one girl whom I said was a natural will get into it. Kid’s got talent.
I thought of bringing in a movie camera to show the next class how they work. But the guy running the programme wants another make-up class with the new (and older) kids. Still, I think a movie camera would be fun. And I also thought I should call Jerry later and suggest we shoot a quick video of him making me up as a zombie. Then the kids could see the process from ‘normal looking’ (at least, as normal-looking as I can be) to a ‘creature’ without having to sit through the whole process. Gotta save time for them to have their hands-on experience!