Clinica Sierra Vista WIC

Bringing Art to Life


by Vaun Thygerson
Contributing writer and mother of three
Photography by Orlando Trevino

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At the Moulin Rouge, 1892/95, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, The Art Institute of Chicago
This year's Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County's Farm to Table(aux) fundraising event on Friday, October 8 will bring Paris artist, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's paintings to life in Tableaux Vivants (living art) with a combination of artwork, performances, and actors.  

Famous for At the Moulin Rouge and Moulin Rouge: La Goulue, Toulouse-Lautrec was one of the first painters to blur the lines between the worlds of fine art and advertisement. A frequent VIP guest at Moulin Rouge, he loved to paint the theatrical and absinthe side of Paris nightlife in the 19th Century. As he stated, "I have tried to do what is true and not ideal."

"The process of creating a Tableaux for our Farm to Table(aux) event involves multiple artists, a clear plan of action, and execution," says Zane Smith, Executive Director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County.  "Everyone plays an important role in creating the amazing result intended to inspire and challenge the imaginations of our guests."

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Charlotte Smith, Club alumna (above), transformed into a character inspired by Toulouse-Lautrec's painting At the Moulin Rouge, a post-impressionist oil on canvas, which is currently on display at the Art Institute of Chicago. Andrew Lopez, Area Program Director for the Boys & Girls Club, personifies the artist Toulouse-Lautrec himself. 

Zane Smith says creating these living art installations from inception to reality is complex and takes a lot of planning. The concept for a Tableaux starts with identifying an original piece, by the Artist that is recognizable to most people. Then he studies the piece for potential of scale and interest and finds a local professional artist, who supports the Club, to paint the backdrop. Once the details are in place, they look for an actor and/or actors that can portray a character or characters in the piece.

With the help of local stylist and Club alumna Cat Webb, owner and provider of Blissful Retreat Intimate Day Spa and Salon in Bakersfield and Arroyo Grande, she and Zane Smith begin assembling the costume and accessories to complete the vision. Using a combination of on-line purchases, thrift store finds, pieces from personal closets, and a lot of makeup, the characters are styled to look identical to the famous figures.  

"I believe it is important to create living art for this fundraiser because it helps the guests of the event to be able to step inside and be a part of the artist's vision," Cat says. "This experience is what makes the event, the people are blown away by it every year! That's the most satisfying part for me."

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Charlotte Smith and Andrew Lopez, transformed
Charlotte Smith's three-hour transformation started with a dress purchased on-line and her hat was created by merging two hats that her mother, Amy, had in her closet.  Cat used makeup to create a painterly look that mimics how the color of the character's face is created in the painting. Cat says this was the hardest part of the process. "Matching and blending the colors just like the artist wasn't easy. This is also the longest process," she says. "It took me about an hour and a half, but I think I'll have it down to 45 minutes on the day of the event."

Using contours and shadows on Charlotte's face, Cat made her nose smaller and more turned up; she also hollowed out her eyes using light and shadows. Her curly updo was pinned into place and colored golden yellow with spray-in hair paint. Charlotte will perform in a Tableaux painted by Marj Dow throughout the night.

Andrew Lopez, who will become the living Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, used items from Club staff's personal closets and some pieces from Encore Boutique. Cat created his look with foundation and a human hair beard and mustache applied with spirit gum. During the event, he will roam the audience and interact with guests spouting popular quotes by Toulouse-Lautrec. Once such quote he could articulate is the following: "Love is when the desire to be desired takes you so badly, that you feel you could die of it!"

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Tags: Featured Story, Party and Entertainment


Kern Family Health 25 yrs
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