Colour me krazy
BODIES, SHOES, COMPUTERS, CELLPHONES, VEHICLES AND BUILDINGS. Ricky Spooner has airbrushed them all in the last 12 years.
“I started airbrushing back in 2003. Around that time, I was in third form at Louis Lynch Secondary and I wanted to do something different. I was always good at art from young and from there I decided I wanted to blossom it,” the head of Krazykolour told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY.
“One day, I told my mum I wanted to start airbrushing and she helped me out with the equipment and I bought it.”
It was during a summer vacation trip to Trinidad that same year that he got some pointers from some other guys in the business and that really got him started. Around December 2003, he enrolled in a six-month course offered at the Grazettes Community Centre “to get certified”.
“I airbrush anything that can be painted. I do body painting, I airbrush undergarments, phones, vehicles, anything you could possibly think of I do. I started on competition level from school where there was actually a competition in fourth form,” he explained.
“There was a project for the electronics class where we did an arcade. From there on, I airbrushed the arcade, my computer and we had it at an exhibition at [Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre] and I actually won with that piece along with a couple shirts I did and had on display.
“From then, my mom was a teacher at Good Shepherd Primary and she started a Kiddies Kadooment band and I started airbrushing for her; then I started getting calls from other bands who liked my work. I worked for Betty West in 2007/8, and she placed pretty well.”
He added: “I also did a couple of Halloween events back when Club Xtreme was open and they had Halloween nights. I did some costumes for some girls who were at [University of the West Indies], they wanted to go as Banks, Absolut Vodka and Guiness bottles. Each bought some tube dresses and I painted everything identical to the drinks, down to the alcohol percentage on the bottle. They won $500. After that they came back to me every year and won every competition,” Sponner said without sounding boastful. He also spoke about a client who attended AnimeKon who went as “Mystique, the blue woman from X-Men”. He did head-to-toe body painting and “the crowd response was crazy”.
“Every two steps she took, she had to stop to take pictures. If she got there about five minutes earlier, she would have won the competition, the judges said so, and that it was the most unique costume. The airbrushing was so detailed, even the scales on her skin. That was the show-stopper,” he recalled.
Given that response to his work, Spooner decided he would get into body painting more and although the first year was “a bit slow because most people didn’t really know about me”, he stuck it out.
“What I tried to focus on was my choice of paints and durability. Whereas I would see other body paintings on the road and the paint would sweat off, my paint doesn’t move. It has to do with the application,” he noted.
“A lot of people let their customers come with either [skin that has lotion] or wet skin. The key is for the person to be as dry as possible. Don’t cream; bathe and dry your skin as much as possible. If [people] have oily skin I would try to wipe them down with alcohol which would dry out the skin and it helps the paint to hold a lot better,” Spooner explained.
The freelance artist said that it takes him about 15 minutes to paint one person and he has developed a rhythm when he does the airbrushing.
“I do all of my airbrushing free hand and I do it alone because I can actually speed paint,” he added.
This year, he introduced the glow in the dark paint to Foreday Morning Jam revellers via the band Rumatology. He noted it could only be seen with ultraviolet lights.
“For [Kadooment], I work from the Sunday morning 24 hours straight through until Kadooment morning,” he said, noting that he painted about 80 people one year.
Outside of Crop Over, he started customising shoes.
“If women are going out and they buy a pair of shoes and they can’t find a bag or belt to match, I colour code everything to match back. I would change the colour of your shoes, bag or belt . . . and they look like if you bought them [that way],” said Spooner. (Green Bananas Media.)