I first met Jessica Mariko the Executive Producer and Creative Director of Orlando’s Drip Dance and Visual Arts Performance Group at an event called Ignite Orlando. She performed an amazing dance piece with music and narration that shed light on the creative process. The dance company is about to begin performing at the New Contemporary Art Lounge which is right across from the Orlando Public Library. Performances will be on the third Thursday, Friday and Saturday of each month. This photo shoot is for a huge billboard image that they will install on the front of the building.
The shoot was in a quiet suburban neighborhood. When I walked up to the address I wasn’t sure I was in the right place, but there was a crowd of people in the garage so I walked in.
People were hanging plastic drop cloths everywhere and the floor was also covered in plastic. As the photographer, Tisse Mallon, got the lights and background scrim ready, the art directors, Evan Miga and Christie Bock cut up swaths of fabric into drip rags which would be used by the dancers to cover their hair.
The shoot started slow enough with shots taken of the dancers without any paint involved. Then things got fun when the dancers dipped their hands into the cans of latex house paint. The paint was bright blue and bright orange. The dancers posed separately at first and then they posed together. As they worked they got more and more covered with paint. The poses that seemed to work best for the horizontal format of the final image involved the dancers intertwined and reaching as if struggling to grasp something. The male dancer said “What if I bent back on my knees and she was almost flying?” All suggestions were tried. The shoot was a constant collaboration between the photographer, Mariko and the dancers themselves. Mariko said ” I like the idea of the two of you throwing paint together.” The female dancer had an expression on her face that Mariko tried to define, she finally decided “Keep that look, it is an artsy confident look.”
When the dancers were drenched in blue and orange paint, the art director decided to add black paint into the mix. When paint was poured on the dancers they would scream since the paint was rather cold. It would drip down under their skin colored leotards and settle in uncomfortable places. As the paint started to dry on the dancers skin, it began to peal away like a bad sunburn.
My sketching became more frantic as the shoot progressed. I started slinging down washes and dripping paint on the page. I was inspired my all the activity and dripping paint which was splashing everywhere. Everyone was laughing the whole time. I am sure that sense of fun and play will shine through in the final billboard image. When the dancers were finished, the art director and designer started just splashing paint around to get shots of paint flying through the air. I hope to sketch rehearsals by this dance company whose performances are sure to inspire.


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