Thursday, 18 February 2016

Throw back Thursday - Blue Peter Guest Appearance.

I have been working on updating my website recently and while I was searching for videos to include I found this blast from the past clip from my appearance on Blue Peter while browsing youtube and it was too good not to share. (scroll down for clip) Back in 2004 I was invited to be a guest on legendary British Childrens TV Show "Blue Peter". I had watched Blue Peter since I was a small child, and was excited to be on the show and to see how the show was filmed. 

I was painting one of the Blue Peter presenters, Gethin Jones, to vanish into the studio set, featuring the famous ship. Camouflage bodypainting is quite complicated and takes a lot of technical skill. It is very difficult to move models out of position and get them back perfectly to vanish. Normally when you paint models to blend into a background you paint them and them shoot the film or photo shoot immediately, but this was a live show, and the schedule meant it was not going o be able to happen that way. Gethin was only available to be painted for 3 and a half hours in the morning and had a series of meetings and rehearsals to go to during the day and the show went out live at 6.30pm. Clearly it was time to get creative. 

The majority of traditional body paints would simply rub off or be degenerated over time under Gethin's clothes when we went to his meetings. There was a minuscule amount of time for retouches. In the time since 2004 there are many many new professional bodypaint products on the market which would have the durability needed for this task, but back then there was less choice. I would not consider using products not meant for use on skin (even though there may have been some out there that would solve the problem) so in the end after lots of trials of products on my own arms and legs I used Temptu's Dura line painted both with an airbrush and by hand. The retouch time was used to paint Gethin's face with water based make-up. I used Wolfe FX for it's durability and strong pigmented colours. I also used Wolfe for some touch ups on the body here and there to make the design really pop. 

Although this may not be the most detailed camouflage bodypaint I have done, with the limitations on time and the structure of the day, it was one of the most difficult. Working on a Live TV show like Blue Peter was very exhilarating. No chance for retakes, or retouches, or mistakes. I Loved the fact that the BBC were happy to show bodypainting on a children's TV show as something interesting that children may be interested in learning about or learning how to do. I wrote a piece for the CBBC website about Facepainting and how to learn how to do it safely and well as a segway for children and parents interested in becoming involved in face and body art. They also showed lots of stills of my work in my intro on the show with body paintings of nude and near nude people without so much as a blink. It is still refreshing to see this great attitude to bodypaint not as a sexualised thing, but as a creative wonder. 

Blue Peter presenters Konnie Huq, Gethin Jones and Bodypainter Emma Cammack

Anyone reading from the UK will know Blue Peter, It has run on the BBC since 1958 and is the longest running children's TV show in the world. As a child I dreamed of winning a Blue Peter Badge and entered contests sending in pictures of my art over the years to do so but was never successful. One of the things I had not realised when I agreed to be on the show was that as a guest I would be presented with my own Blue Peter badge. So at the age of 30 I earned my Blue Peter badge and had my art featured on the show, which was the culmination of a childhood dream. I still have my badge proudly displayed in my studio.

The clip below shows part of the feature on the show showing time lapse film of myself and my assistant Tara painting Gethin while I am interviewed by Konnie Huq.