Hey kiddies! This is my new Horror photograph, called DEVIL.
This photograph was shot in my studio. I constructed a set with a floor that was raised three feet off of the ground. My friend Jason Coale, who works as a professional scenic designer, acted as supervisor. My friends Damien Vela and Matt Tady helped with all of the carpentry. I met Damien through the Kansas City Horror Club. Matt is a fine art photographer specializing in Burlesque portraits. He shoots on a vintage Super 8 movie camera, and then prints on resin plates that he creates himself. Demian and Matt also worked as production assistants during the actual shoot. My friend Kevin Sisemore worked as my first assistant during the shoot, and helped steer the enormous Hasselblad camera that was loaned to us by Digital Labrador.
I drew out the shape of the crack on the carpet with a Sharpie pen, and then cut out the crack in the floor with a jigsaw, carpet and all. The furniture was borrowed from my sister Sarah.
To line the inside of the crack, we cut out separate cardboard rectangles and covered them with shiny red fabric. We nailed and taped the rectangles together into a position that would match the jagged contours of the crack.
Most of the toys came from my mother’s basement, and belonged to me and my sisters as kids. Others were borrowed from my daughters. The angel drawing taped to the wall was made by my daughter Sade.
My friend Bob Barber played the Devil.
I wanted my Devil to be fire-engine red, with horns, long pointy ears, and an arrowhead tail. As archetypal as possible. I wanted him to look like a child’s drawing come to life. I bought prosthetic appliances for the horns, ears, and the bony nubs on his spine. My friend Jason Coale applied the make-up for me. He used an air sprayer to paint Bob red.
Most people don’t realize this, but the Devil wears blue jeans.
I was counting on the fog machine to hide the fact that Bob’s make-up job did not extend below his waist.
I wrapped Bob’s waist in the same shiny red fabric that we used to line the crack of Hell. The tail was made from a rubber snake. I removed the head and spray painted the body red. I made the pointed tip of the tail out of cardboard, gaff tape, latex, and paint. We used fishing line to puppet the tail into position. I later erased the fishing line in Photoshop.
When Bob and I were done with our dress rehearsal, we brought in my daughter Chloe. It took hours to finish Bob’s makeup, style the set, and set up all of the lights. Chloe had spent the evening in full costume, eating chocolate chip cookies, watching cartoons, and playing with Tiffany, Kevin Sisemore’s wife. The crew kept referring to Tiffany as ‘the child whisperer’.
In this photograph you can see me giving Chloe her directions while standing in the crack of the floor.
Kevin Sisemore took this photograph of Chloe. She is smiling in reaction to everyone in the room, Devil included, breaking out into spontaneous applause over her performance.
See you next time!