Warpaint meets two artists who broke away from the fear that the world ends at the M25 and created a burgeoning bodypainting business that uses the beautiful Cornish landscape as their backdrop and inspiration. Meet Nicotine….
WP: Give us a little background to both Justine and Nicola; where did you train and how did you begin in the field of bodypainting?
NB: Justine began painting from an early age and pursued her love for the arts through school, college and university. After graduating with a BA Hons in Fine Art she then furthered her career in London working for one of the first online art galleries called Britart. Following this she moved down to the West Country where she has finally set herself up as a self-employed artist and was met Nicola Langridge though a friend, who introduced her into the crazy world of face and body painting and they gained a very close friendship.
Nicola studied art through school and college, focusing on digital design during her studies at the University of Plymouth and working in corporate environment for the next six years. When her daughter was two, Nicola took up face painting quickly becoming established as a professional face painter. For the past six years she has provided the resident team of face painters at the Eden Project for the past six years. Five years ago she added body painting to her repetoire, with her first demonstration at the UK Face & Body Painting Convention in 2010. Nicola now teaches at UK conventions, demos at events across the country and is the founding director of the annual body painting event BodyFactory.
WP: How did Nicotine come about?
NB: Whilst looking for local face painters to cover the Eden contract, Nicola was introduced by a mutual friend to Justine. The friendship grew quickly and before long, they paired up to body paint as a team – the results were incredible. Both were able to work in perfect unison and produce artwork that look like one painter had been the sole artist. As for the name, it was put out as a question to their friends on a social networking site and one suggestion was to combine their first names “Nico” from Nicola and “tine” from Justine – hence the name Nicotine. It created a bit of controversy, but the artists felt it fitting as they are in no way conventional, and it fitted with their addictive style of friendship and camaraderie.
WP: What kind of clients does Nicotine work with?
NB: Nicotine’s clients are incredibly varied. They have worked on a variety of projects from maternity shoots, make-up events and tattoo conventions to college workshops and breast cancer awareness campaigns.
WP: Take us through how you create a piece of work from initial brief to final piece.
NB: Nicotine’s work is normally very detailed and illustrative, and is mainly applied with brush and sponge on a completely freehand basis to showcase the painting capabilities of both artists. When we’re working with a client, we start by compiling a brief with them or an outline plan ourselves if it’s an event that we’re planning. This is followed by lengthy hours of online research and we jointly develop drawings – normally over a cuppa. If any costume is required, this is designed and developed at home using recyclable materials from charity shops and friend contributions.
WP: What has been your favourite piece of work and why?
NB: Although not the most detailed piece, Nicotine’s favourite and most gratifying work was the camouflage deck chair, painted as a demo piece at Salon Cornwall in 2013. This was the artists’ first camouflage experience and we found it incredibly challenging to get the perspective of the line work accurate enough for the overall effect to be believable.
WP: What are you working on at the moment?
NB: We are currently working with a female photographer who is studying towards her Masters Degree. Her work is based around self portrait photography and the relationship between viewer and subject and how make-up, costume and environment can affect this.
WP: What are your kit essentials and why?
NB: There are several pieces of kit that we wouldn’t travel without. These are Wolfe White and Black, a couple of Kabuki brushes. Individually for Nicola her number 2 fine brush that has been in her kit for over six years and she can’t work without a baby’s muslin hanging from her trousers to wipe her hands. Justine uses her hand as a palette continually and has a security blanket disposition with her stipple sponge.