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Living Statue: Get inside

All > "Art" > Sculpture > Living Statue: Get inside by jesse
I have been practicing the art of "Living Statue" for about seven years now. I'll tell you the story of how I decided to do it, the evolution of my various costumes, and who my partners have been. I'll include several videos too!

If you want me to perform at your event I charge $150 an hour.
My # : (253)347-1686
email: nosugref@gmail.com


Our favorite video, made by Brenda. This will vibrantly show you what it means to be a living statue.
When I was in highschool I attended Seattle's Bumbershoot music and art festival. I happened to see a silver statue man. He sat in a spraypainted chair. I thought it was cool, but I said to myself: "If I were to do that, I would interact with people more and disguise my features to enhance the coolness."
I grabbed my friend Alex (also the best man at my wedding) and we made some bad costumes.
This is the night we made the first costumes. We covered our hair with a piece of denim pant leg, which was super tight, and we ended up with BAD headaches by the end of the day.
They also sucked because we had to paint IN our ear canals and all over our necks and hands. Hats covered up our tufts of hair, and sunglasses covered up our eyes. It was white with black spots.
That night my mom (a seamstress) took pitty on us and created some hoods from old T-shirts. We still didn't have gloves.
The next year, mom came up with a design for lycra hoods and gloves (swimsuit material). The only part of our bodies we had to paint now were the fronts of our faces. We made new costumes that were gray with a marbled black and white texture. We still kept the hats, even though our hair was covered. It seemed out of place to only wear the sunglasses.
We made good tips in our jar. That year somebody handed us a $100 bill! Alex poses with it on the left, then there is what he looks like all done up!




This video is from the year that we got the new hoods.


I posed a lot in that costume.

Sometimes Alex couldn't make it along, so my friend Nat Boggs and I created bright blue costumes with silver flecks.
In this picture I am airbrushing on highlights which were to accentuate our features. This was a super classy outfit. A three piece suit. Nat still does living statue on his own as a blue man.


Here is a 40 second clip of us dressed in our blue suits.
Here is Nat today, because of this post I contacted him to see if he had any photos of himself and yes he did! He has gone LESS covered up, and extremely nifty.
Ah, 2004...a good year for our costumes. I invented a way to see through painted glasses: you scratch little holes in the paint and they look like more spots, hidden by the surrounding pattern. We looked great.

The crowd was more convinced we were real statues this time. We scared a lot of people.

We made it onto multiple TV shows, this one was "Street Smarts", a gameshow.


Another show we were on was King5's Evening Magazine hosted by John Curly. They actually sent out a camera crew with us and did some nice editing so I'll include that video too. If you look carefully in the last clip of video at bumbershoot you can see that Nat has joined us for a little while in his blue suit.
This is one of my favorite pictures of us. (Taken by our friend Christine Berg.) We were tired.

You can't wash a living statue costume because it's just clothing with paint all over it. So...eventually you just have to make new ones. Each new one is different, just for variety's sake.
Alex moved away and can't always make it up for Bumbershoot now. So in 2006 I went with another good friend (Brian Cafferky) to Bumbershoot. Here we make an odd pose spelling out "MOM" to thank her for supplying our very valuable hoods and gloves...custom fit!

(Brian's hand is stained brown from hugging a girl with a fresh henna design and smearing it all over her shoulder. oops...)
It's interesting to think how many people there are that have me in their photos. So many albums, memory cards, emails, and videos have some image of us. It is safe to say that in ONE day, at a big festival, thousands of people take our pictures.
You would think that in the sun, one side would be hotter than the other...but I didn't notice a difference. On a whole, I was probably equally overheated the entire time.
Try wearing an entire painted suit under the August sun for 5 hours straight. You'd think I'd learn my lesson...but it's just too much fun.
Through all this time, my wife Brenda has tagged along wielding a video camera and a backpack with water and straws for us. But VERY recently we put together a little costume for her with a skirt and a rubber wig. She's adorable in it and she had a lot of fun. Look at her experience of doing this HERE...

http://cre.ations.net/creation/living-statue


SO here is a family tree of sorts, but you get to see all of our real faces, obviously the color behind everyone is what we dressed as.


During August 2008 I created this sweet costume! Its supposed to look like Paul Revere, but I think it looks more like George Washington. I probably will just be "Anonymous Statue" Though I think it looks a lot like the living statue featured in the movie 'Amelie'...but better. Check out it's own creation page.

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Comments:

Posted by aliya 7 years ago ( 03-Jun-2007 10:24:46 )

This is an exciting post! Takes me back down memory lane of helping you get the paint OUT of your ears...the many times the costumes were updated, etc.
Mark wants to know how long you held that kiss. ;)
I'm happy that Brenda has joined you.

Posted by natetrue 7 years ago ( 03-Jun-2007 11:22:45 )


Posted by jesse 7 years ago ( 03-Jun-2007 11:32:03 )

That kiss was just for the photo...UH, I mean we held it UH for like two hours (lying)

Posted by matthewgamble 7 years ago ( 03-Jun-2007 22:58:24 )

You guys are amazing... keep up the strong work... That gas you inhaled before taking this picture really did some crazy stuff. Gas is bad... it's bad!
Attached image:

Posted by jesse 7 years ago ( 05-Jun-2007 14:52:27 )

Hah, thanks for dropping that image in here Matthew, HAH. Your MacTop is a silly machine coming with filtery things like that.

Posted by kam 7 years ago ( 09-Jun-2007 13:01:44 )

Hey Jesse, saw you on Rocketboom, very cool. I was on there last week too.
Aloha, Kam

Posted by jesse 7 years ago ( 12-Jun-2007 15:50:07 )

ALOHA! Being on rocketboom is FUN! I went to your site and saw all of those rocketboom chalk drawings, is that how you got on OR do you work on it (why did you do those rocket boom drawings?)

Posted by kam 7 years ago ( 13-Jun-2007 17:59:32 )

Got inspired by Julian Beever & since I've watched RB every day for a year, I went with that theme. I like the show & they have interesting links. Joanne is from England, as I am & I like her style. I'd like to be a Hawaii correspondent for them one day.

Posted by dirrydude 7 years ago ( 17-Jun-2007 19:19:16 )

Hey Jesse me and my friend watched your videos a lot of times and we were thinking of doing something like that in Chicago. We were wondering if you could help us out a little bit or give us some pointers and maybe a little help with the costumes. Because we started them and they look great but we still need a little help. Like with the whole hood part and maybe what paint you used for you face. I hope you don't mind we do something like you but we think it is just awsome.

Posted by jesse 7 years ago ( 28-Jun-2007 16:30:25 )

Have at it. Pointers? I would say make sure you read all of the text above, and watch the videos. There are a lot of living statues around the world don't feel like your copying me only. Face paint We used acrylic hobby paint (its not toxic like some other paints are. Just make sure you DON'T smile because it will crack. OR you can use grease paint but it takes a lot longer to do speckles. As for the hood, stand a long way away from a light bulb at night in front of a wall, trace your silhouette. Then use a serger sewing machine and appropriately colored LYCRA and sew two halves together symmetrically cut a hole for the face after and put a dot of "fray check" on the seams (Lycra doesn't fray so no worries about edges) make the hood wider at the bottom so it covers your neck and shoulders and add ties so you can tie the hood to your belt loops (this will hold it down) Gloves? get some from a costume store, long ones. OR sew tube socks to the wrist of short ones, and paint them with your hand INSIDE.

This comment was edited at 2007-08-05 15:22:42


Posted by jesse 7 years ago ( 28-Jun-2007 16:31:33 )

Oh and DO post pics here its easy to do in the comments. If you don't the evil statue people will come to your house at night and paint your dog.

Posted by dirrydude 7 years ago ( 28-Jun-2007 19:11:46 )

One more question that I have to ask. We did our first run today downtown and it went great. But 2 little problems. One the police said we needed a permit so we have to go out and get that tomorrow. And what kind of paint did you use on the clothes or what ever you used on the clothes what did you use. We had a little problem with cracking on the clothes. WHAT EVER CAN WE DOOO?? By the way we will post pics on here as well once we get everything good and running. By the way I dont have a dog so idk if the evil statue people will paint my dog but I am still affraid of them. AGGHHH!!!

Posted by jesse 6 years ago ( 05-Aug-2007 15:22:10 )

I replied to your email with a detailed response, but I'll put it here too so others can see, if they're also curious:

The paint is going to crack no matter what. However, there are things you can do to help lessen how much it cracks or disguise it. First of all, the clothing I pick out from Goodwill is usually close to the color I am going to be painting, so if it does crack or rub off, it's not very noticeable. Second, make sure you find clothes that have as much cotton in the blend as possible. It will absorb the paint better. Any fabric that feels smooth or cool to the touch or is shiny won't absorb paint very well. (With the exception of lycra which is just bathing suit material you can get at a fabric store. that's what I use for the hood/gloves). I just use latex interior/exterior matte finish house paint for the clothing (not face!). Don't apply it too thick, and make sure the first coat of paint dries completely before applying another coat, otherwise it will remain tacky and will stick to itself when you fold your arms, thus ripping paint off. Even if I'm going to be a solid color, I still sponge on a slightly lighter shade and a slightly darker shade on. This really helps disguise my facial cracks and any cracks or mistakes on the clothing. It also helps blend the transition from the fabric to my skin better. Also, I try to put more darker speckles around the sunglasses area. I do this because when I chip off parts of the paint to see through the sunglasses, the underlying plastic is dark, so this helps blend as well. If the gloves are covered in paint, they will crack a lot (if you shake peoples hands and are interactive as I am). That is why I buy lycra that is the same color as my main color. Then I just put a few speckles on, so it's still flexible and it breathes. I understand that not everyone can make their own gloves, but if you buy long gloves at a costume store (or wherever), try as best you can to match the color so you will have less to paint, and make the layer thin. I also bring a small bottle of touch up paint in my bucket, just in case my face cracks or I need to fix something while I'm out. My costumes eventually wear out, so I just make new ones...plus you can't wash them so they start smelling funky.

Overall, I would say the more speckled/mottled you are, the better.

Posted by wyzard 6 years ago ( 02-Oct-2007 16:29:44 )

I'm so glad I found this place. I've done the living statue thing for a couple of years myself at the Texas Renaissance Faire. For me it's just a way to pass the day spooking people in between selling corsets to them. I have a 1.5 ft. pedestal I stand on with a top surface of about 6"x6". It can get a tad painful to balance on, but being a statue isn't really my job so I hop down if my feet hurt. Anyway the point is... I don't wear any makeup. I'm in my normal period costume with my normal face on, but I have such a talent for blending into the background and standing very still people always think I'm a maniquin. I think it has something to do with placing myself so far above normal line of sight. The eye seems to avoid looking up very far to see a face. My favorite part of it is that I never even attempt to keep my eyes still. I'm always amazed at how people will notice eyes following them from sometimes 50 feet away. Just thought I'd toss my experience in here. Maybe you could try being a normal person statue once and see if you have the same kind of fun. Just remember the pedestal or something to stand on. Results are completely different on the ground, but oddly chairs can get the same effect if you sit very still.

Posted by jesse 6 years ago ( 02-Oct-2007 23:10:12 )

Sweet...I love hearing about others statue experiences! I actually sorta started that way. Working at a clothing store I would stand at the front gate and greet people sometimes. Occasionally (since I daydream a lot) I would not notice their entry. When I finally said "hello" they would jump and exclaim "I thought you were a mannequin!" "COOL" I thought, so I did it on purpose. It was only later that I got the idea to DRESS as an inanimate object at bumbershoot.

Posted by gardenwonder 6 years ago ( 01-Apr-2008 15:20:08 )

hi jesse..
im going to do this w/ a bunch of friends soon. I'm wondering.. how do you make the Paul Revere costumes?? They look totally real!

Posted by polly 6 years ago ( 04-May-2008 22:30:13 )

hi
thanks for the tips you posted on making a costume. I have made 1 living statue costume a few years ago and want to make a new one. I know someone else who made one and mixed latex in with the paint, but it doesn't seem that necessary to me - have you ever tried it. I want to use a wig - do you have any suggestions as to what I might try painting it with? Thank you
Rachel

Posted by jesse 6 years ago ( 08-May-2008 11:19:55 )

I don't think mixing latex in with the paint is necessary no. Especially if you are already using latex paint. As long as it adheres to the fabric (soaks in a little) its not going to be a problem.
As for Wigs, If you look at my main photo for this entry (or any of the bronze statue ones)and then later at Brenda (my wife) you will see that our hair is covered by wigs of a sort. these are solid rubber wigs. It is rubber molded to a sculpted hair shape. You can get these at nice costume shops. Here is a secret though. Look at the rubber masks that are designed to look like a celebrity. They ALL have sculpted hair, just cut out the face part of the mask! My hair in the bronze statue costume is from a George Washington mask. I have seen normal wigs painted (as in the movie Amelie) but I think that they take away from the illusion.

Posted by polly 6 years ago ( 03-Jun-2008 20:51:13 )

Hi Jesse,
thanks for getting back to me about the wigs - that's great. Yes, I know the molded rubber ones you mean but I have never seen these rubber masks - sounds interesting. So the hair is molded plastic then?

Posted by scottishbumpkin 5 years ago ( 16-Dec-2008 19:42:00 )

I want to be a Paul Revere statue in the biggest festival in our county. I also wanted to know, how to make them?

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