Body-paint business looks good
Toy stores look forward to Christmas and flower shops anxiously await Valentine’s Day.
But if you’re a professional face-painter, it’s probably Halloween that you mark on the calendar.
“Halloween actually books really fast,” confirmed Allison Lumley, who operates Main Artery Designs in Red Deer.
Her schedule was full today, with children providing the human canvases that she’s working on.
But last weekend, Lumley’s customers were adults preparing to celebrate All Hallows’ Eve at bars and parties.
“I’m back-to-back, literally,” she said of the annual pre-Halloween Friday-Saturday rush.
Lumley discovered last year just how popular face-painters are in the days leading up to Oct. 31. She had launched her business earlier in the month but was still swamped with requests.
“I was booked within the week for Halloween day, and for Saturday the 28th,” said Lumley.
“I still remember, because I put in an 11-hour day.”
Miyako Palmer, whose Mia’s Face and Body Painting is based in Sylvan Lake, also expected to be busy today with youngsters looking to supplement their costumes with facial art. Like Lumley, she was also pressed into service by older customers on the weekend.
“That was pretty busy, especially last Saturday.”
Sharon Morigeau, who runs Little City Designs in Red Deer, has a Halloween story this year that might scare many adults. She entertained more than 60 preschoolers at a party, painting every one.
“That was a very busy one,” acknowledged Morigeau, who uses time-saving tricks like double-loading her brush to produce multiple colours with one stroke.
Face-painting preferences vary from Halloween to Halloween, agreed the three artists. Characters from popular movies appeal to many, said Palmer, with Avatar, Star Wars and Spider-Man recent inspirations for customers.
She’s even done a full-body rendering of a Na’vi character from Avatar, but said this year it’s the sugar skulls associated with Mexico’s Day of the Dead that have been in demand.
Lumley said she did a lot of sugar skulls last year, but has noticed a shift to more gruesome characters in 2012.
“It was all zombies this year,” she said, attributing this movement to AMC’s popular series The Walking Dead.
“I did the full latex special effects on 15 adults just on Saturday, and 12 of them were zombies.
“I made all of their gashes and wounds ahead of time.”
Morigeau, who has been painting faces for about 15 years, said Gene Simmons of Kiss fame has long been a hit with adults.
“My most popular one for the little guys this year was a zombie spider mask,” she added.
Depending on how intricate a face-painting project is, it can take anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours to complete, said Lumley.
She, Palmer and Morigeau confirmed that demand for face-painters extends beyond Halloween.
“It’s pretty active all year, with birthday parties and festivals in the summer and stuff,” said Morigeau.
Lumley, who also does custom art work, doesn’t mind applying her skills to children’s faces.
“I’ve never complained about going to work, and I love working with the kids.”
Palmer confessed that she’s looking forward to putting her brushes in water and her feet up on Nov. 1.
Morigeau plans to finish her Halloween painting with her husband’s face and her own this evening. The former will adopt the ghoulish image of Star Wars’ Darth Maul; the latter was still up in the air as of Tuesday.
“I haven’t decided for myself,” she said. “I usually do a tiger or something like that.”