After shooting the White Angel I wanted to make more white
costumes using geometric shapes, there was something powerful about them, I
really liked how they worked with the organic curves of the human body. I made a small headpiece (below, middle) and planned to make another so along side the original
white angel there’d be a trio of white geometric headed Angels.
But after seeing the picture of me sticking my arms out (for
reasons I cant remember) while doing a test shot I got inspired to draw some
lines from the head piece to my fingertips on Photoshop. Because I cant see
through any of the headpieces and all my costumes are made specifically
for me I have to get pictures taken almost every step of
construction to make sure it’s working. After drawing the lines on the computer
I coloured the shape in red. Then I legged it to Radical Rubber (fortunately I
can get there and back home in just over an hour) and bought a roll of red
latex, I’d never used red before but it just seamed to fit perfectly with the
shape. I was also looking at my Return of the Jedi picture book at the time and
was loving the red Emperors Royal Guards (I’ve always loved those costumes).
I had no idea what the effect would be like but I wanted to
have another go at making a vacuum costume. The Manta Angel wasn’t really
working (it still needs more developing) but I thought I could make something
using vacuumed latex that I’d never seen anywhere else before. Since I liked
the ridged shapes next to the organic human form I though it you put them both
inside the vacuum something magic might happen!
So I made a cat suit and a separate latex ‘sack’ to go
around my waist and cover the frame. The headpiece was made from scrap M.D.F. and
the frame made from decorative dado rail from the rubbish pile. I wanted sharp
edges but had to compromise and sand them all down a bit so not to rip the
With a breathing tube going to the outside and the
vacuum cleaner attached we did a test. But the vacuum cleaner was way too
powerful, as soon as it sucked all the air out my head felt like it was going
to implode and the frame pushed so hard on my ribs I though they were going to
break. A really unpleasant experience!!! Tried all sorts so make the vacuum
cleaner a little less powerful but didn’t really work, and also I didn’t want
to have to cart it around and worry about getting electricity for
shoots/performances out on location. So I attached a rechargeable dust buster
to the back and walked around doing a test. The battery didn’t last very long
and also it wasn’t powerful enough so suck the latex tight! Aghhhhhhhhhhh!!!!
Was getting very frustrated, felt like I was so close yet so
bloody far. After yet another unsatisfactory test in an act of desperation I
decided to try something Tom (an electronic genius) told me that I thought would
never work. He said you can inflate or create latex vacuums just by using your
own breathing. Inhaling through your nose to suck the air out and exhaling
through your mouth through a tube to the outside. Well, I didn’t think I’d be
able to do it but it worked sooo well. It meant I didn’t have to carry a vacuum
cleaner of any kind and also meant it was quite a bit safer too. Its quite hard
work to make the vacuum so if you got into any difficulty the air would rush
back in. It made the costume feel like a living thing too, I love the fact it’s
powered by the human body! It’s been out into the world a number times on
shoots and performances (see previous posts) and I’m in the process of making
more of them for a show.
After watching all three Indiana Jones films back to back (they left out the forth one) at the Prince Charles Cinema I got inspired to make a shrine! There's so many great shrines in those films!!!
At the same time I was very inspired by Art Deco buildings. Most of my early experience with that kind of architecture was rotting derelict structures that were once symbols of power, so making an Art Deco shrine seamed to make some sort of sense. Also, while looking at stone and wood carvings in the V&A I was struck how similar the forms look to when people are in latex vacuum beds. They emerge out of the material. So that was that, a vacuum shrine to the latex gods!!!
Like most of the things I make I started by rummaging through the scrap pile and some time later The Shrine was born!
Was sooo excited when the lovely Kim and Synth asked me to bring the Shrine out on it's maiden voyage to their first Rubber only event Rubber Cult! Was a perfect setting, so much fun and an honer to be surrounded by so many lovely people, beautiful outfits and great performances. I can't wait for the next one! Look for your self!!!:
Zac Zenza took fantastic pictures on the night and captured some beautiful moments of the shrine in action! Was also v exciting to see his ace pictures up on Skin Two's Review of Rubber cult:
The all round amazing Synth at the Shrine,
I adore this image so much (loved her Birth performance on the night too!!!)
After having great fun performing in the sand at the Red Market, Hackney Wicked asked me to come along to their Open Studios event the other weekend and perform the Diamond Angel in the Crate Brewery in Hackney Wick (I never need much persuading to go there, yummmmmy pizza & only 5 mins from home!!!!) The Rain finally let up (not that rain matters when your completely enclosed in latex) and so got to perform right on the canal!! My glamorous assistants/bodyguards Jim & Peter thankfully lead me safely from the Crate into position with out letting me fall in the canal, I can't see anything when inside the Diamond Angel. Here's some great pictures Anna from Hackney Wicked took!!!! http://www.hackneywicked.co.uk @Hackney_WickED