You may think facepaint is only for five-year-olds at street fairs or creepy clowns at the circus, but this stop-motion film by the insanely talented Melbourne-based makeup artist Elvis Schmoulianoff might change your mind.
In “Painted: An Adventure in Stop Motion Body Art,” Schmoulianoff takes the artistic potential of body paint to its limits, transforming herself into a skeleton, a bronze statue, a rosebush, and other objects. The video is made all the more mesmerizing by her goofy amusement at the paint that appears to crawl all over her of its own accord.
The stop-motion video comprises an impressive 1,064 individual images, all taken in Schmoulianoff’s bedroom with a point and shoot camera in natural light over a period of 10 days. The final sequence contains footage from five of those days. “The rest was mainly retakes of the first minute, which all taught me valuable lessons in what not to do,” Schmoulianoff writes.
The piece was inspired by Muto, a 2008 stop-motion graffiti video by the artist Blu that was made in Buenos Aires and which has racked up more than 11 million views on YouTube. Schmoulianoff also cites filmmaker Fritz Lang’s 1927 sci-fi masterpiece Metropolis–hence the bronze statue and golden Art Deco background she inhabits at around 2:45.
Crown-wearing skulls and cartoon cars channel the paintings of Jean-Michel Basquiat, another artistic influence. The styles of L.A.-based artist A Dandypunk and England’s Happy Slap Boutique also made their way into Schmoulianoff’s morphing, melting visual landscapes.
And not only is Schmoulianoff one of the most talented body painters we’ve ever seen, she’s is an expert in special effects, such as injury simulation, bruising, and prosthetics, and also in wigmaking and costuming. Basically, she gets to live every day like it’s Halloween–and we’re a little bit jealous.