When I walked into Foundation, The Rolling Stones’ 1971 album “Sticky Fingers” was playing in the background. Peter and Alex Cohen, brothers and owners of the shop, lounged on chairs as they chatted with two customers who were flipping through their newest shipment. “We started to sell records on Instagram to fund the other stuff we […]
When I first met Christine Bryant, we were both covered in blood.
It was the night of our mutual friend’s annual Zombie Crawl birthday bash, which finds us traipsing down Edgewater Drive’s bars looking like extras from “Evil Dead” every October. (Keep an eye out for us — no brains, just beer.) Over drinks at Ollie’s, Christine told me about her new position at Embellish FX.
Fast-forward eight months later, and we chatted about mutual connections during a phone call. Even though it’s a pretty spread out city, Christine finds that everyone seems to know everyone in Orlando. A great example is her work at Embellish FX.
“They hired me last year at Halloween,” she reminisced. “They had a face painter fall through, and someone knew someone who knew me, so they gave me a call.”
If you haven’t gotten yourself to Embellish FX yet, you’re missing out (and unknowingly subjecting yourself to lame costumes October 31). This College Park boutique is the most inspiring spot to go for costumes, special effects, theatrical makeup, wigs and more. (I bought a killer pair of gold snake fangs for a basilisk costume two years ago.)
Said Christine: “It’s such an awesome environment that brings in so many different crowds and fandoms. Professional pirates and Santas — you never know. It’s a rich environment to learn from. I learn a lot from my clients. It’s a sweet gig; I’m not going to lie.”
Drag queens? Cosplayers? Stilt walkers? They’re all there.
A perk of Christine’s perfect job is a flexible schedule that allows her to pursue her passion: body painting. “Getting close to 11 years now,” she said when asked how long she’s been at it. “Crazy to think.”
After landing a job at Disney after high school, she was introduced to the third-party face painting company that the park contracted to paint guests. After a year, she quit to work for this vendor or, proverbially, to run off with the circus.
That vendor was Enjoy Your Face, a face painting company in Orlando that hires talented artists to doll up theme park guests. The company taught her the basics and set her up in one of the theme parks they worked with, where she instantly became hooked both on the medium and the people-facing nature of the business.
Now, Christine participates regularly in body painting events around Orlando like BASE Orlando and the College Part Art Center’s inaugural Florida’s Natural State: A Body Painting Show last month.
Inspired by stories and animated shows — we mused for a time about the fabled third season of Adult Swim’s “Rick and Morty” — Christine’s style reflects whatever she happens to be fascinated by at the moment.
“I don’t know if I can define my style,” she said when prompted. “It changes — it’s an ever-evolving thing. I love watercolors and playing with the consistency of paint. I’ll lay down color and usually do something with sharp, clean lines.” The result gives a two-dimensional, cartoon effect, which is evolving with her recent dive into airbrushing.
Passionate and well spoken, Christine often pushes herself to learn new styles and techniques. She believes it’s important to paint for herself and views her work pieces as 70 percent her own and 30 percent her audience’s.
Often, body-painting events are themed to give artists structure to work with. For a fairy tale–themed event, she might find herself depicting an obscure Russian fable that eludes the general public. “I realized I don’t do things that will be socially acceptable or off-the-bat noticed, but I just don’t care,” she joked.
Not shy of a little (okay, a lot) of nudity and want to catch Christine’s next creation? She’ll be painting at Cypress Cove Nudist Resort’s Sixth Annual Professional Body Painting Contest in Kissimmee Saturday, August 19. The theme for this year’s competition is “Sci Fi.”