Within the world of clown there exists a rule that each clown is the creator of their own make-up, it is not to be copied from another, and once discovered and painted… it is never to be changed. That is your face.
My clown make-up came to me after burning my whole face with a pressure cooker whilst trying to cook chickpeas and chorizo.
No, I did not know what I was doing. Yes, I did open the lid. In fact I didn’t just open the lid, I panicked when the lid wouldn’t open and I thought it was ruining the food inside. I hammered on it with various kitchen implements until finally it gave and boiling chickpea water shot in my face. My face stunk like chickpeas for three days.
After initially thinking in those first few moments after as I was standing in the shower with the shower head jetting cold water in my face and that I would be a scarred mess and have to continue my career as a street and circus performer using masks… A hospital trip later confirmed that I was a very very lucky person indeed and got away with the severest kind of 1st degree burns. Lots of recovery time, a wide brimmed hat and a pommel cream so thick I looked like a mime without a punch-line. After the swelling and the blistering went down and I was left with the old skin waiting to peel off, I was left with what looked like strange stars and streaks around my eyes and running down onto my cheeks from where I had thankfully closed my eyes in rapid protection and squinted my cheeks inwards.
When you are advised to spend a week out of the sunshine to avoid scarring on your face, believe you me, if you have the option to do so, you will. And should you find yourself in such a condition you spend a lot of time in the mirror. Cursing yourself for your stupidity, marvelling at the miraculous function of skin with a new found appreciation and desperately trying not to pick at it as you wonder if your face will look the same.
Marking this as a pretty down time I was determined not to let the occurrence get the better of me. There was something strangely beautiful in my toasted skin as it peeled away flake by flake revealing the pink underneath. As I wondered whether or not I would have any scarring as the doctors had reassured me it would be unlikely if I kept out of the sun and wore hats for a year, I found I quite liked the shooting star shaped marks around my eyes, and even found myself not minding so much that if there were to be scarring then let it be them. I took the time to draw the shapes and made the decision there and then, once my face was healed enough to paint it again, I would not let the experience be in vain and this be the inspiration for my performance make-up.
This experience not only lead to the birth of my totally original make-up, but also marked the end of my daytime performances for the time being. What with the skin being so precious and new and very sensitive, it was what gave me the push to begin my nighttime performances and solo shows. Going out into the traffic lights would not be an option, the sun and the dirt too extreme for my poor face.
My make-up in the end, after playing around with the lines, has resulted in feather like white that runs from my eye down onto my cheeks and flecked as ever with gold glitter. A single line of gold glitter runs across the top of my eyelid with my lips, red red.