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How to make friends with Dragons
My day to day life can be pretty interesting, but my dreams may have come true a few weeks ago. I got to spend a day with some Dragons. A lot of my days are spent with mythical creatures actually; designing them, creating them, then seeing them come to life... but this one was special.
I have been a face and body painter for almost 6 years now and had the fortune of working and collaborating with some incredibly talented people, most of which have happened in the last 2 years of running my little company, Painted Peach. The Dragons I speak of, are devotedly made by a marvellous woman called Joey Adam, who lives in Luxembourg and loves fantasy as much as I do, which is an awful lot.
My life long obsession with fantasy was tenfold when my Dad passed away in 2012 and all I wanted was to escape to the realms and other worlds that authors and writers had created. Fantasy was hugely influential in my healing process and from this, stemmed my passion for creating interactive creatures and characters to allow people to be immersed in the awe that is often lost as we grow older. I started face painting for Myton Hospice, where my Dad died, to help them fundraise. It was a first, but as I was fairly arty I did ok. I practiced, improved, upgraded my materials and a short while later I ended up moving to New Zealand for 2 years where I worked closely alongside a 3 time world champion body artist. From here, I became a professional body painter and on moving back to the UK I decided to start my own company. I am constantly grateful to have had the opportunity to work with the best in the world and for the experience and lessons I learned during my time there.
Joey, Dragon lady, spends upwards of 150 hours creating her intricately magnificent yet believable beasts. Each has their own name, back story and personality. She explains each of them as she shows you how to ‘wear’ them on your arm; which dragon likes a chin scratch, a belly rub or a little pat on the head. I could not believe my eyes when I scrolled past these on Instagram and did a serious double take, followed quickly by an over excited message to see if she ever comes over to the UK. To my absolute disbelief, she proposed that she came over to Bristol to do a collaboration with me as she felt it could benefit both of us. Needless to say, I was over the moon and my mind swam wildly with ideas and possibilities that I shared enthusiastically with anyone who would listen.
Joey and I heartily conversed online in the weeks leading up to the shoot. I managed to get Mark Pickthall, (one of my favourite photographers to work with due to his talent and unique vision, which is only amplified by how humble and considerate he is) and Tim Shapscott (a wonderfully proactive and supportive videographer) on board to capture the magic.
Our model, Cj, was fantastic. The body paint took about 5 hours, which is quicker than my usual designs as they can often take me 7/8 hours to complete. The time depends on the intricacy of the design, embellishments, prosthetics and costumes. We did a stunning shoot with Mark in my Bristol studio, then we all drove to the coast to meet Tim and capture them in the sunset. The weather emailed at us and Cj’s fire performance was the icing on the cake for the look we wanted to achieve.
Getting to drive around in my little van with some crazy creature in the passenger seat is one of my favourite parts of my career! The double and even triple takes we get from pedestrians when they catch a glimpse when we stop at traffic lights is priceless, especially when the performers get into character and enjoy weirding people out.
I felt so privileged that Joey came over from Luxembourg and was by far one of my favourite experiences or shoots to date. I’ve found collaborations have helped me soar as a small business and consequentially, as a human. There are endless possibilities when creative minds come together and I would implore anyone to do the same to experience the drive and motivation it gives you. Get in touch with artists you like, speak to them, see if you can benefit or promote each others work. I think it’s so important to support each other in this dog eat dog world.
These are a couple of the photos from our shoot and you can see more of our day and other works via Instagram - @paintedpeachuk, @joeyadamart @markpickthall, @timshapscott . Tagging, liking, sharing and following small businesses like ours on social media is a great way to support us, even if it’s not financially! We hugely appreciate it :)
Joey’s sells her Dragon puppets as well as other forms of artwork. Each Dragon is custom made by hand to your desire. She also is available to hire with her dragons to do walkabout at events and markets so people can meet them in person, although she will be coming from Luxembourg!
Painted Peach (c’est moi) is available to hire for events around Bristol and the rest of the UK. We can provide a range of talented, painted circus performers and models to entertain and enthral your guests at weddings, events, music videos, photoshoots and more, as well as being painted yourself if you’d like to give it a try. We also do glitter, face and body art for you and your guests at parties. My goal is to be taking some of the performers to hospitals as characters or mythical creatures to bring the escapism that is so needed at such difficult times, to children and adults alike. If you would like to make suggestions or support my new adventure, I’d love to hear from you.
Mark has years of experience and you will quickly notice how professional and efficient he is. He shoots a wide variety of projects and styles and always achieves astonishing results. He works internationally and is always a thoughtful, positive and calming influence on the day. I learnt from our most recent shoot, that he can pretty much set up a studio anywhere as he provides the lot; backdrops, lights, cameras, actions and more. He’s basically the photographer equivalent of a swiss army knife and Mary Poppins rolled into one. Highly recommend.
Tim runs Tiki Media and offers affordable videography in Bristol and surrounding areas. He’s is superb to be around, no faff, efficient and extremely personable. Plus his turn around time for videos is second to none! Our first video together went viral on Youtube and reached 263k views in just over a week which was quite mind-blowing.