Tuesday 30 June 2009

She's alive! ALIVE!!!

Taking a little break from my art work; This Sunday The Chantilly Bellles burlesque double act are performing at The Lowry in Salford at the Comedy 4 Christies event all in aid of Christies Hospital! We will be unwrapping our brand new monstrous act 'Chantillystein!' for the first time and performing alonside such comedy genius as Justin Moorhouse and Barbara Nice from Channel Four's award winning Phoenix Nights!

As we are keeping the details of this act secret until it's big debut all I can really reveal is that we have taken much inspiration from horror classics including The Bride Of Frankenstein! and this promises to be a brilliantly fun night!

Tickets cost £15 and can be bought from www.thelowry.com, the show starts at 8.00pm.

A bit about The Bride!:

It was the stunning Elsa Lanchester who played the Bride in the 1935 film made by Universal Studios. Although she made many films after The Bride of Frankenstein she will always be remembered for it as her defining moment. An unconventional beauty Lanchester was the perfect choice for the Monster's love interest. Her iconic hair flashed with white from the lightening bolts which gave her life was created by fixing a cage to her head and building hair pieces and her own hair around it.

Make up artist Jack P Pierce created the electric hairstyle and iconic make up for the film. Lanchester was later to remeber how Pierce took his work very seriously, wearing a white surgical smock while taking hours to perfect one of her neck scars that could be bought 'for ten cents from a joke shop'. Whatever he was like his work is amazing.

The actual film has been said by some to exceed that of the original 'Frankenstein' from 1931. It is a fab film and very funny in places, high camp and over acting abound, but if you are hoping to see a lot the Bride then you may be disappointed as she only appears in the last FIVE MINUTES! It just goes to prove how iconic her role was to cause such a stir and remain so influencial for over 70 years! I think she is beautiful.

For more info, 'Monsters: A celebration of the Classics From Universal Studios' is a great read!

PS, isn't it weird that the film is called the Bride of Frankenstein, when Frankenstein is the name of the doctor and the actual monster is nameless?

Tuesday 23 June 2009

French kisses xxx

A couple of days ago I rediscoverd the French pop duo 'Air' in my album collection. I put on 'Moon Safari' while I was working in the studio trying to get my head around the drawing for my next sailor tattoo inspired pin up painting, and something just clicked! The tone of the music, it's sultry melancholy sounds, the disco edge mixed with the breathy pop; something just made complete sense with regard to my work!

It's hard to explain, so with that in mind, I thought I'd share a few of my other inspirations which are all being stirred in the melting pot to create the images for my new work:

Pierre and Gilles
These French artists have been a favourite of mine for a long time. Once you've seen one of their magical photos you'll never forget them. Their brand of glamour and iconography is the perfect blend for erotic images of saliors goddesses and fairies.

Oh, and nuns, as you can see here. This image of Kylie Minogue is just one of many celebrity portraits they have produced since the 70's. I love Pierre and Giles work because you can see the work that has gone into every photograph. They don't use computer effects to create the fantastical landscapes and props. Everything is sourced and painted. Even the photos once taken are then painted over which adds to the magical otherworldy quality.

In more recent years the duo have embraced digital technology, which brings me onto my next inspiration; the tour programme for Kylie's X tour 2008.

I knew as soon as I bought it that P&G had something to do with this lush art book. I couldn't find them acknowledged anywhere but my thoughts were confirmed with a little digging on the internet.
The sacred heart motif is a trademark of theirs and here it has been put to beautiful use. The tour and programme also feature heavily homo erotic images of the backing dancers dressed as buff sailors;

The overall link that ties all these subjects together for me is the glamorous and sexy iconic images and narrative which have an underlying hint of drama. Even the music by Air has the same ambience and conjures up the same stories in my head. All these things combined with the sailor tattoo are pushing my work in a glorious melancholy direction. I'm loving putting these ideas down on paper!

Tuesday 16 June 2009

Water colours......hmmmmmm?

While I'm typing this I'm listening to an unreleased track by Kylie called Sexual Gold! If you'd like to hear it click HERE. Thanks to Love Kylie for sharing this priceless information!

I have been experimenting with water colour this week for my new work based on sailor tattoos. As I said last week this is probably the best meduim for tattoo style art work as the application and texture is very similar to the real thing. But I am a girl who is used to acrylic, and learning how to handle the watery stuff is not as straight forward as you'd think!

I found a few good water colour technique videos on youtube, but nothing beats just getting stuck in and feeling for yourself how the paint moves and mixes.

It certainly doesn't dry quickly like acrylics and it is much more malleable. You can also re-work the paint even after it's dried completely unlike acrylics. It's advised to stretch your paper before using water colours as they tend to ruckle up the paper otherwise. I bought a special pad of paper glued around all edges so shouldn't have this problem, but I have my suspicions as I covered an entire page in wet paint yesterday and I definately saw some ruckling! But maybe it will look different when it's dry?

So on the whole I'm enjoying the new experience of using water colour and I especially like applying indian ink to the outlines when the paint is dry. So I like water colour and I like acrylic, but which one is better? there's only one way to find out....... Stay tuned!

Other news:
I am soon to be Tart of the Month on the Tart Gallery website! This fabulous website is ran by the Pop Tarts, two female artists based in Vancouver who paint women within a pop culture context. They hold regular exhibits all accentuated by music and costume! The Tart of the Month is a regular feature on the site showcasing other artists with similar themes and styles. I am so excited to be included in this list of sensual and provocative artists, featuring none other than Angelique Houtkamp! (See last post)

I am also to be included in a collaborative virtual exhibition on Second Life in the 3D virtual Tart Gallery with the theme of burlesque! This is extra exciting and new to me and I am really interested to see the results! I am now on Second Life and tentitivley finding my way around, if you bump into me my name is Gemma Vespucciano (You're not allowed your real name).

More info to follow...

Tuesday 9 June 2009

Angelique Houtkamp

So, I've been researching traditional tattoos, vintage flash and tattoo art for the past few months all to get my ideas together for my own vintage sailor tattoo inspired pin up work.
I recently discovered the beautiful and striking work of Angelique Houtkamp, the Dutch tattooist and painter who's work is both exciting and inspirational!

I saw her work in the most recent issue of Nude Magazine. In the article she talks of how she originally worked at Tattoo Peter, one of Amsterdam's oldest tattoo shops and she got a lot of inspiration from the city's culture; the port and the sailors who arrived home covered in art work from far off places of anchors and mermaids.

Angelique takes influence from the classic tattoo masters such as Sailor Jerry, but she also has a huge interest in the 20's and 30's and the art work and advertisments from those times, and it's easy to see the similarites in her drawings.

I was intrigued by her use of watercolour. I always associated water colour with something wishy washy, never the strong yet delecate shades found in Angelique's work. But her method was backed up when I heard Tim Hendricks of Miami Ink state that his father's water colour artwork was what got him into tattoo art as the blending and application is so similar!

I emailed Angelique to find out more about her technique and ask her if she had any tips for me regarding my own tattoo work. She was kind enough to respond quickly and I was pleased to bits when she said she thought my work was "pretty sassy"! She advised me to keep looking at traditional flash and I've decided to give water colour a go; cue a trip to Fred Aldous, and £35 later...

I'll let you know how I get on, I'm raring to go as I now have three more designs ready to go!

Other news:

My work at Urbis comes down tomorow after 6pm, so if you haven't had the chance to see it yet get on down and bask in the burlesque glory that is Scarlet Fever.

On a totally unrelated subject, yesterday I was lucky enough to meet one of my favourite authors, Joseph Delaney!
The author of the amazing 'Spook' series was doing a signing of his new book, The Spooks Sacrifice at Waterstones in Bury and I was geeky enough to go over and meet him get some books signed and even get my picture taken with him! It was like meeting the Spook in person, although maybe he's not as gruff as old Gregory.

Anyone not aware of this fabulous series should go out and give it a go, it might be aimed at kids but it is truely scary, magical stuff and as the books warn, 'Not to be read after dark!'

Joseph Delaney wondering why security haven't removed this weido yet

Thursday 4 June 2009

Just to let you know....

My portrait of burlesque performer and star of Channels Four's Faking It Burlesque Special, Miss Scarlet Fever, will be on display at Urbis until Wednesday next week! So get on down for your chance to see Scarlet and read about her story while you can!

Tuesday 2 June 2009

A pic 'n' mix of tasty tidbits!

Last week's Urbis Creatives launch night went brilliantly! The night was a great opportunity to exhibit art work and show off our other creative skills within a gallery environment. For me it was a first in showing my art work and actually performing within viewing distance of it.

My portait of Scarlet Fever on display on the launch night.

I have to admit I was quite anxious about performing in front of my work collegues, as I was sure none of them really knew what my burlesque act was like, and the thought of prancing about in frilly knickers in front of everyone I was working with the next day did give me the jitters just before going on. But the great thing about being in a double act is the pressure is shared and much easier to deal with, and even if I say so myself The Chantilly Belles rocked Urbis that night! I decided to exhibit my portrait of Scarlet Fever, the star of Channel Four's, Faking It, and a good friend of mine. I wanted to highlight her story which I think sets the scene for modern burlesque and shows it as a contemporary form of feminism and female empowerment. This piece of art work combined with my own burlesque performance blended really well and created a strong presence on the night. The great thing is Urbis were so pleased with the entire show they have asked for it to be left in situ for the forseeable future! So if you are around Manchester this week pop in to the city's landmark building and gallery of city life and take a look at Scarlet in the flesh as it were!!!

Other news:

The Chantilly Belles are proud as punch to announce that we will be performing as part of the Comedy 4 Christies night to be held at The Lowry next month!!!
We will be appearing alongside other acts including Justin Moorhouse and Barbara Nice from T.V's Phoenix Nights all in aid of a great cause! More details of our progress as the date looms to follow...

Rainbow watch:

A few weeks ago I told you about a commission I'm doing for a friend of mine of her pussycat Rainbow. Now I know this isn't the usual kind of subject I'd paint, but if any cat could have been a pin-up queen it was Rainbow, and I just couldn't say no!
I've been working on this piece between other projects and have finished half of the bag Rainbow is sitting in. Here's a peek of where I'm up to now:

Rainbow ponders the bigger issues of life while sitting in her favourite pondering bag

In the meantime I'm still working on my nautical pin-up tattoo seires and have been researching some fab artists that I hope to share with you over the next few weeks!...