As some of you are aware by now, the next free & LIVE class by FABAtv.com is on January 15th, 2013 with face & body artist Léa Selley! Léa will be teaching graffiti eye makeup for her live class, as well as filming several more studio classes for future release.
Joining Léa on her trip and to film some classes in studio himself is none other than the talented graffiti artist turned body painter, Wiser Oner!
Knowing full well that thousands of painters will be absorbing everything they wrote, Léa and Wiser were both excited to answer our questions and share their lives with the face & body artists that come to the FABA Blog. Continue reading below for the double spotlight interview.
Léa’s answers are on the left.
Wiser’s answers are on the right.
Tell us a little about yourself, where are you from?
(Léa) Grew up on a unique landscape in Richmond, BC on a small farm close to a fishing village where the mighty Fraser River meets the Pacific Ocean. I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to grow and learn to develop a close relationship with the natural world. I grew up in a very artistic environment speaking both English and French, endless music lessons ongoing in the house and long days of drawing.
(Wiser) Originally from Denver, Colorado! Now residing in Calgary, Alberta in Canada!
Are you an artist full time or do you have another job?
(Léa)I have been working as an artist full time since 2011. Before that I successfully ran my own website development company since 2002. It has been very rewarding to flip the focus from working for clients and telling the whole internet world how great and exciting their products were, and shine the light on my artwork and my passion. I find being self employed as an artist or a web developer has been the same road in terms of running a business, however, it has been SO much more rewarding since following my passion and creating artwork for a living!
(Wiser) Ive been a full time freelance artist since 2006 when I co-founded a Denver based custom graffiti art company called Your Name In Graffiti™. I painted everything from giant walls to sneakers, t-shirts, hats, and basically anything I could stick paint to. I had been doing graffiti since I was 15 and was one of the lucky few in my city ambitious enough to be able to progress into doing it professionally.
What type of face and body art do you specialize in?
(Léa)After some unique experience working as a carnie for a couple of years, where I would sometimes face paint over a hundred people a day, I discovered some magical secrets to get kids to sit still and surrender to the face painting experience. This ‘magic’ talent makes parents gasp and grab their cameras in the lineup, because for many it seems like it is the first time they have seen their kids sit still with their eyes closed and a smile on their little lips… calm, still little angel faces, turned up towards me. I can feel the moment when I capture and calm the rambunctious, sugar rushed, or hyper-sensitive children with my painting spell, and that is the moment I know it is on. They are guaranteed to walk away with one of my best pieces of artwork, securing them much love, attention and eye contact all day long.
(Wiser) When I first started instructing I was mainly specializing in Graffiti wildstyle lettering and speed painting (for success at events like Sturgis and Fantasy Fest), but over the last few years I’ve fallen in love with fine art style painting and outside teaching I have found myself doing lots of conceptual fine art pieces meant for photography. But I always throw a graffiti flava into everything I do!! More recently I have also been creating some face painting designs too which is so fun!
How did you get your start(in face and body art)?
(Léa)I bought a kit of snazaroo face paint from ebay because I thought it would be fun to paint the kids for my daughters B-Day party since she was born on Halloween. When parents started picking up their kids from the party to go trick or treating people were straight up flipping out! On the long walk that night I was told over and over I should start a business and offer face painting. In my experience people don’t just flip out for no reason, so I took at good look at the road sign on my path and decided the next day that I would be The Tattooed Lady – Face Painter!
(Wiser) After a chance meeting at a street fair in Denver (he had a face painting booth a few spaces down from my graffiti hat booth) I made friends with a man we all know and love, Mark Reid. He thought my graffiti was killer and he invited me to a Body Art Ball event to see him paint! After that I knew I had to try it! I had painted graffiti on many things but never a person, and to me it felt like a match made in heaven! Mark told me what kind of paint and brushes to get. I bought my first kit and never looked back!! I loved it so much I did it for FUN!! Still do…
What’s the most enjoyable part of what you do?
(Léa)Being able to ‘break the rules’, and with a little makeup I help other people feel like they are breaking the rules too! It really is amazing how many people live within the invisible confines and norms of society – it is way more fun to be able to put away the Maybelline and pull out the face paint and shock some folks! I have never ‘won’ anything, but every time I put my artwork out there, I am the crowd favorite, and there is nothing like a standing ovation! I really enjoy surprising people with what I can paint in a short amount of time on such a little canvas. I know that each time I paint a masterpiece on someone’s face, they are going to get epic amounts of attention and eye contact that day, which is just what the Dr. ordered for many people who need that special boost!
(Wiser) Connecting, sharing, and interacting with so many creative souls all over the world are some of the most rewarding things about my experience as an artist. I am very blessed to meet so many amazing friends!
Do you attend any conventions, like the FABAIC?
(Léa)I have not attended FABAIC…yet, but I have been to the Canadian face and body art convention ‘Bodyssey‘ and the infamous NABPC and FPBA when they were in Las Vegas. Attending classes, watching other artists paint and making new friends and contacts in the industry has been an invaluable learning experience. Education is always a great idea!
(Wiser) My very first convention as well as my very first time instructing was at FABAIC in 2009!! It was a life changing proving ground which led me to instructing at conventions and workshops all over the globe! I love La Fete in New Orleans too! I love juggling fire with Magic Mike and hitting up Bourbon St. with Craig Tracy, but FABAIC remains my favorite because nothing can compare to the creative energy that gets flowing when a few hundred creative minds are slingin paint and having a good time at one of the jams! It’s a very inspiring!
What would you like to do more of, art or otherwise?
(Léa)I would like to travel more, and I think I am on a constant quest for it. I majored in geography in university and worked as a Cartographer for a number of years. Making maps and studying people patterns on the landscape, although intellectually thrilling, I felt limited in my life experience. Working behind a computer, making maps and analyzing demographic data didn’t allow for the wild card that I’ve always really wanted of experiencing all these different places in the world! Switching focus to web development left me with the same feeling. I was just making a different kind of map, and still making it for other people. I’ve now decided I am going to make own map and use it! I am ready, and off to find an adventure with a healthy level of certainty that face painting will be pivotal part of my story!
(Wiser) I really would like to learn more about and mess around with molding and casting prosthetic pieces! After seeing what amazing thing are possible from artists like Yolanda Bartram of Body FX and Alex Hansen I am left intrigued and very curious in this realm of body art.
Outside of art, what do you do for fun?
(Léa)For fun I like to hang out with my daughters. They are growing up fast and they keep me young!
(Wiser) Going to the movies has always been one of my favorite things to do! I’m also always down for a good hip hop show!
Do you have any pet peeves?
(Léa)Yes. popping bubble wrap… ahhh! I actually have to take a deep breath when thinking about it lol! It drives me totally crazy. It never lasts long because eventually they will run out of bubbles to pop… but I usually end up leaving the room before that happens!
(Editor’s note: My stress reliever is popping bubble wrap. We’re on opposite ends of the spectrum here. *hides bubble wrap*)
(Wiser) My apartment complex doesn’t allow pets! 😉
Where do you see yourself in a couple years?
(Léa)Right here – on the internet, sharing, teaching, learning, traveling, painting, inspiring, loving, laughing…
(Wiser) Definitely still learning, progressing and creating! I consider myself a lifelong student and feel like I’m never done learning. Being an expert at one thing doesn’t matter when you’re an amateur at another, so I’m always looking for ways to expand my knowledge and creativity!
Do you have any projects going on or in the works?
(Léa)Yes, Absolutely! I just started a YouTube channel(TheTattooedLadyCA) with fast, upbeat tutorials to help inspire your face painting routine! It is my time to give back and honor the teachers that mentored me, and I want to share the techniques that I have learned on my entertainment path. I also want to connect with my country as a whole and I just started releasing content in Canada’s other official language, French! I have found in my regular face painting job that loads of kids speak French out here in Calgary, and it is so important for kids to be able to interact in everyday life using both languages as their skills are developing. So I find myself intrigued to integrate more French language content into my projects, and see what direction that takes me in!
(Wiser) Very exited to be making my first ever workshop tour in Australia and New Zealand! I’m looking forward to that A LOT! And also conceptualizing some new pieces to paint at Gallery ML in early April 2013. It’s one of my favorite places to paint!!
What do you think of FABAtv?
(Léa)I think it is great! The live component gives all us skin painters a chance to get together and hang out and interact and learn together as a community for free! I bought a membership pretty much as soon as FABAtv was launched. The taped show are great for ideas and nothing compares to watching someone who knows what they are doing! If a picture is worth a thousand words then videos are priceless when it comes to evaluating them as an educational material. I also use FABAtv as company sometimes. Many of the teachers on the show I consider friends. I have painted alongside them at conventions, competitions, and I have worked with others professionally.
(Wiser) Love it! Its definitely where you can learn from all the best in the face and body industry! Essential!
Art by Léa in this column.
Art by Wiser in this column.