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Day of the Dead 2014, part 1

11 November 2014

A late call out! Art Macabre would be celebrating the Day of the Dead at The Book Club on 1 November, but they were lacking one skeleton. Hmm… skeleton, skeleton, skeleton. I could do that…

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And so that very Saturday afternoon I got there nice and early, ready to be painted as an Art Macabre skeleton. Not for the first time, nor even the second time. It would, however, be a first face-painting commission for Caitlin: a natural artist with a talent in her hands and the macabre in her blood. Her work was fantastic.

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My extraordinary co-model for the session would be Maya. She creates a persona for each occasion with her make-up brushes, and a flair for acting her roles. She brought vibrancy and intensity to the stage, embodying both the demure and the sinister.

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With The Book Club’s basement bar packed with artists, I began our poses: first with flowers, next swigging from a bottle, then playing a suspiciously ukulele-like Spanish guitar, and finally seated holding a skull.

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The bottle caught me out. It was thrust into my hands by our conductor of death and art narrator magnifique, Nikki, aka Raven Rouge. Her instruction was for me to throw my head back and pose as a drunkard. I did just that, raising it up to my lips without realising it was still about a quarter full.

For the duration of this 10-minute pose, I steadily siphoned off a quarter of a bottle of syrupy liqueur, down to its last drop. End of pose, I looked to see what it was: Italian Luxardo Maraschino, 32% vol. “I couldn’t find anything Mexican,” explained Nikki.

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To close the first half, I was joined by Maya. I was to be a love-struck, flower-wielding skeleton – which to me meant getting down on one knee. After my previous painful kneeling experience, Nikki kindly checked I would be OK. All was well this time.

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We took a break, and that was my work done for the day. Maya went solo in a single long pose through to the very end. I stuck around to take photos of the final artworks and to lend a hand in packing away. It had been a splendid afternoon.

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No pressure, nice vibe, great people, great art… I love doing this stuff.

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