This weekend, March 20th through the 22nd, internationally known face painter Marcela Murad will be offering classes with Margi Kanter at the Greater Midwest Body Art Fest in Madison, Wisconsin. In addition to sharing a little about her own path through her face painting career, Marcela had a few words of advice for face painters who want to make the most of the training and inspiration they'll receive at the three day Zombillies Fest.
Q: What caused you to get into face painting yourself, Marcela?
Marcela: I discovered clowning before face painting. One day I saw a group of Canadian painters painting at a festival. I have always been crafty, so I was fascinated. My great idea was to add it to my clowning skills and offer an additional service. I spent a whole day watching them and taking notes. I'm sure they were not happy, but I really wanted to learn, and now I wish I had talked to them because I would love to thank them for changing my life. I came home to teach myself, and before you know it, I was painting. Then I was teaching at clown conventions, selling product, and publishing books. I have been very lucky in life because everything happened so smoothly. Eventually, I sold Mama Clown and Friends to my sister, who turned it into one of the biggest entertainment companies in our area. I also sold Silly Farm to my niece Heather, but I kept my baby, which is the annual convention (FABAIC).
Q: You're one of the best known face painters in the United States. What was the turning point in your career which took you to this level?
Marcela: Like I said, I have always been blessed. I have name recognition because I have been around longer than the average painter. I feel like the grandma of the industry. I was privileged to introduce face painting to a lot of people, and the more I dedicated myself to do so, the more good things kept coming my way. I took a lot of chances along the way, like publishing the first book on face painting using color, publishing the first magazine, and producing the first convention. Sometime during the early years, I read a quote by Walt Disney that said to love what you do with all your heart and do it with enthusiasm, that is the key to success! That could have been my turning point. I truly love what I do.
Q: At the 2014 Greater Midwest Body Art Fest in Madison, Wisconsin, March 20th through 22nd, one of your classes will be "Average to Amazing in Three Minutes." What are some of the common problems you see which keeps a face painter's work in the average category?
Marcela: What brings a design from average to amazing is mastering the techniques. The most common problem is not understanding this. Practicing full faces using mediocre technique application will always keep you at that level.
Q: What is the single most important thing face painters can do to take their work to amazing?
Marcela: There's really not a single one thing a painter can do to take his or her artwork from average to amazing. It's a culmination of a lot of things, such as training, practice, and on the job experience. Some people are born artists, some are artists in other mediums, or some have extensive art schooling. These painters will take that leap a lot faster than someone without those experiences. Loving what you do and practicing is the best way to get there.
Q: Your other class this weekend will be "Pretty Scary Fun!" What is your goal with this class, and in what way do you combine pretty, scary, and fun?
Marcela: "Pretty Scary Fun!" is about learning alternatives for Halloween designs for the younger crowd. Personally, I'm not one to bloody up a young child, and though I appreciate the art, gore is just not my thing. So "Pretty Scary Fun!" is about painting cutesy monsters, adding elements like horns and fangs to common designs, and using cartoons on the face. Not everyone wants to be scary—especially little kids.
Q: How important/beneficial is it for painters to add these types of designs to their own repertoires?
Marcela: Nothing is really important to add, but anything learned has the potential of being greatly beneficial. As we train, we learn a lot of different styles and eventually we stick to the one that pulls our heart strings. Before we know it, we create our own style based on what we love to paint the most. A good example is Margi and I. She was greatly influenced by me, but also by her boyfriend, who is a cartoonist (as was her dad). She was able to transfer her love for cartooning onto the face based on what she learned from me in order to develop the style of painting she's known for. Though I love what she does and how the kids react to her painting, I don't paint them myself. Sometimes I feel that people worry too much about having to learn anything and everything. It's great to try, but eventually we all find out not all styles fit our personalities. The journey is to find out which facet of our art suits us best. The goal then would be to master it.
Q: For the face painters who will be joining you this weekend, how can they prepare so they'll benefit the most as professionals attending this event?
Marcela: Come with an open mind, a desire to learn, and expect the best. Talk less, listen more, and don't compare yourself to anyone else. Spend a little time observing and admiring your favorite artists, and don't be afraid to ask for advice.
Marcela is the producer of the Face and Body Art International Convention which will take place May 22nd through 25th in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. For more information about FABAIC or Marcela's online classes with FABATV, click on the links for her websites.