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We Had Fun at BodyCon!

I have the great honor and privilege to produce a large educational conference for face and body painters, BodyCon Dallas. It happens in April in the funkiest part of Dallas- Deep Ellum. Surrounded by hundreds of murals by local artists, interesting shops, and amazing food, face and body artists come from all over to enhance their knowledge and skills by taking classes and workshops from some of the top names in the industry.

BodyCon Dallas is the only conference of this kind between California and Florida and the number of attendees and the amount of interested parties we receive reflects what a popular and needed event it is. A lot of us small business owners don’t get a lot of down time to commune with our fellow artists and entrepreneurs, so the social aspect of BodyCon Dallas is vital. The kick-off for the event on Friday night is a potluck and jam so everyone, including the instructors, can hang out and get to know one another or catch up with friends they haven’t seen since last year.

We’re fortunate to be able to bring the very best in the business to instruct at BodyCon Dallas. From seasoned veterans such as Marcela Murad and Nick Wolfe to new-on-the-scene first timers such as Lenore Koppelman, every instructor brings their own style and signature to their classes and workshops. We’re lucky to include intensive six-hour workshops before and after the event by many of the instructors. A very popular workshop this year was Shawna and Ronnie’s Sugar Skull Workshop. Everyone learned so much and came out of the class looking fab!

Silly Farm Supplies is our exclusive vendor of face paint supplies at the event, and they provide many perks for the attendees of the conference. I can’t thank them enough for the amazing goodies they provided for our swag bags, plus the exclusive first looks at new products- Elisa Griffith’s new makeup palettes for enhancing your face painting and Cameron Garrett’s brand new line of rainbow cakes and arty cakes debuted at BodyCon first!

Everyone who attends the full conference gets a swag bag loaded with goodies- from KIND bars to Loew-Cornell brushes to stencils to take your painting to the next level, the bags have it all! A huge thank you to Face Paint Forum Shop for providing wonderful, reusable bags for the second year in a row!

In addition, 2016 was the first year we also hosted a body paint showcase! Twenty-one attendees matched with models to produce some of the most amazing body paintings I’ve ever seen, and they were only given four hours in which to do so! This was definitely my favorite part of the entire weekend!

While the showcase models were being painted, BodyCon Burlesque was kind enough to perform for us again this year and it was a total show-stopper! They shook, they shimmied, they stripped! We had many talented acts, but I think a house favorite were The Blondeshells- a man and woman aerial team of awesomeness! Vivienne Vermuth is the genius producer behind BodyCon Burlesque.

Lastly, the attendees make this event what it is. The energy, the excitement, the eagerness to learn- all these contribute to a vibe that’s just contagious! I’m so thankful that the painters in Dallas and the surrounding area (which extends pretty far, judging from attendee addresses!) take time out of their schedules to attend the event and make it successful. Thank you.

If you want to level up your skills or learn face or body painting for the first time, I highly recommend finding your nearest educational conference or taking workshops from visiting (or local!) artists! Even though I don’t get to sit and participate in many of the classes, just being around all the skilled artists helps me get my own creative juices flowing and I come away from the event invigorated, inspired, and ready to rock my own business even more!

Dia De Los Muertos Face Painting

Dia de los Muertos has burgeoned in popularity in the U.S. in the past decade and seems to be a very misunderstood holiday. A lot of Americans think it’s a kind of Latino Halloween and treat it as a rowdy extension of the 31st, but it actually has deep and significant Mexican roots. DDLM is a three-day celebration, honoring the lives of the dead and celebrating the living. The custom began over 3,000 years ago with the Aztecs, who believed that loved ones should be celebrated and enticed to return for visits rather than mourned. Although the Aztec version was at the beginning of summer, the colonization of Mexico saw the holiday moved to fall to coincide with All Hallows Eve and All Saints Day, Catholic holidays.

DDLM doesn’t actually traditionally include face painting, but instead the pretty calaveras (skulls) you’ve come to associate the holiday with were painted onto large candies called sugar skulls. Sometimes the skulls are decorated with beads, icing, feathers, rhinestones, and marigolds. The modern day sugar skull face painting you’re familiar with usually contains a flower or two of some sort, representative of the Mexican marigold, which are a huge part of the celebration, thought to entice the dead to participate in the festivities.

Altars are also a big part of the holiday; families will make altars to deceased family members and give them offerings of their favorite foods, drinks, and sweets. These sweets are also usually shared with the children of the family. The bright, colorfully decorated skulls represent the vitality of life. Butterflies, flowers, photos of the deceased and candles are usually found on the altars as well. The candles are a guide to help the ancestors come back to visit their families.

One thing to note is that DDLM is celebrated very differently in different regions of Mexico. It’s generally a more somber event in the rural areas, yet can be quite irreverent in the larger metropolises. No one way to celebrate the dead is right or wrong.

In closing, if you decide to celebrate in this way this year, take a moment to remember fondly and honor festively a passed on loved one.

If you need a face painter this Dia de los Muertos holiday season, contact Fancy Faces at gwen@fancyfacesdallas.com or call 469-236-1781. We’d be happy to make your celebration sparkle in Dallas, Texas, or San Francisco, California. Serving all neighborhoods in Dallas (Lakewood, Park Cities, Bishop Arts and more) and SF (Bernal Heights, Castro, SOMA, Mid-Market, NOPA, Inner Richmond, and more).

Fredericksburg Oktoberfest 2015

This weekend I had the great honor of painting with Mad Madame M Entertainment at the 35th anniversary of Oktoberfest in historic Fredericksburg, Texas. It’s a wonderful festival in the gorgeous Texas Hill Country. There are tons of happy people, dressed in traditional German garb, munching on savory sausages and of course drinking lots of yummy beer! There was a tuba parade and a huge chicken dance with hundreds of participants, plus live music and dancing!

There are tons of food vendors and great shopping opportunities. Of course, I only got to see these in passing because it was the busiest weekend of my life! I painted 246 sweet faces, kids and adults alike. Everyone was so sweet! All the kids were extremely polite and happy. It was truly a magical weekend and I’m so glad I got to paint so many smiling faces. Rainbow kitties, unicorns, and zombies were all super popular this weekend!

I’m so happy that Marcy, Madame M, invited me to come and I can’t wait for next year. You should definitely come down to Hill Country and check it out! We’d love to paint you.

In the meantime, if you need a painter for your party or event in Dallas or San Francisco, email me gwen@fancyfacesdallas.com so we can set it up! If you need a painter in Fredericksburg, Austin, New Braunfels or anywhere in Hill Country, contact Marcy marcyward968@yahoo.com.

Safety & Hygiene in Face Painting

How to Hire a Safe Face Painter

All parents want the very best for their kids. But how do we keep them safe if we don’t know much about the professional we’ve hired? Today I’ll outline a few ways to make sure your face painter is safe and hygienic.

The first step is making sure that your face painter has a good reputation. While a personal recommendation is always best, review sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List, Nextdoor, and Gigsalad are all great places to both find and review painters.

Secondly, we want to ensure the professional uses FDA-compliant theatrical quality makeup. Some brand names to look for are Mehron Paradise, Global, Snazaroo, and FAB, or anything ordered from SillyFarm.com. Generally, it’s water-based makeup that dries to a powdery finish. It’s not the grease paint of our youths! In fact, grease paint remains tacky between jobs and clients and is very difficult to disinfect. Avoid painters that use grease, acrylic, or tempera paints. We also add a wonderful and gentle soap to our paint water at Fancy Faces that disinfects, keeps our brushes cleaner between clients, and helps our paint glide more smoothly. Any glitter that's used should be cosmetic grade glitter, which is finely milled with rounded edges as opposed to square edges which can cut sensitive corneas.

I always require the painters at Fancy Faces use a clean sponge for each client, stashing the used sponges in a bag to be washed on high heat after the job. We also use fully disposable lipstick applicators for lipstick. A lot of painters use Q-tips which are great as well! We wash and disinfect our brushes after each job. We use wipes to clean our hands and tighten up any small mistakes or “paw prints” that might have ended up on the client during painting. I personally prefer makeup removal wipes, but most painters use baby wipes.

Lastly, you’ll want to make sure that your painter is insured in the unlikely event that something does happen. We at Fancy Faces have professional insurance which would cover any costs if your child had a reaction to our high quality paint or became ill after being painted. I’m happy to say in seven years, we’ve never once had to file a claim!

In summation, you want your painter’s kit to be clean, well-maintained, tidy and organized. I am a messy painter, but I take a few moments every so often to tidy up my kit during a job because it’s the face of my business. Inquiring about a painter’s hygiene practices are always acceptable and should be met with clear and thorough answers. After all, it’s your child’s health on the line! Most importantly, your painter should love children and be concerned about their well-being.

Feel free to email us with any questions about our hygiene practices or anything else, or to book us for your next event in Dallas or San Francisco (we love adult parties too!).

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