How Did You Come Up With That?! - Sun Gods - E.04
Updated: Sep 21, 2021
Hi Friends and welcome back to a new episode of 'How Did You Come Up With That!?' A series were we walk you through the inspiration and art direction of our shoots.
(The photo series is at the bottom of the page - Check it out!)
Being a genuine Guinea Brat, I have always been intrigued by gaudy, trashy European fashion styles and maybe even... a little bit... like them. There's something wonderfully unselfconscious and confident that I admire about the people that embody that style. This isn't the first time elements of my cultural background have crept into our inspiration and it surely won't be the last.
Our idea started off with a hairy tanned chest - a gentleman with an outrageous mane sunning himself. Hey, that could be funny (Think Tom Selleck. Or look to the left and see a photo of him). Taken to the extreme, for humour's sake, we thought of Mike Myers' absurd chest hair in Austin Powers. That's pretty funny, hey?
Hairy. Like animal.
So we went in search of a hair piece. Finding wigs and hair pieces is fairly easy; finding wigs and hair pieces of a decent quality takes a little longer. And the better the quality, the more expensive they are, obviously. Well, we don't want to go broke buying hair pieces. I mean, that's ridiculous. At some point we found this thick chest piece of acceptable quality - better than the average costume quality but not exactly film quality - and decided we would, as ever, try to make up the difference in photoshop.
Wigs, moustaches and other hair pieces generally come longer than you actually use them, and you trim them to the desired length or shape. In this case we trimmed the chest piece a little, but left it mostly intact as it was so thick, and the hairs so long, that it was funnier to leave it that way. We didn't work too hard at blending the mesh netting around the edge of the hair piece and instead we just took care of it in photoshop.
We like to add details to our sets and characters to tell little stories and give clues about the characters. Hence the gold chain and the corno, the chilli-shaped Italian amulet that hangs round his neck. Well, that, and a local witch put the Malocchio, the evil eye, on Alex last week and he needs all the protection he can get right now.
Knowing I wanted in on this set of images, I used the glorious Susie Greene from Curb Your Enthusiasm as a key fashion inspiration for my character. She always wears the most exquisitely horrendous outfits.
But I wasn't satisfied leaving it there, so I scoured the internet for trashy European styles and found a bunch of images of older ladies in string bikinis and leathery skin - Yes please! And that's how my character materialised, a Susie Greene x Leather Skin Babe. The corno-wearer would be her toy boy and she of the leathery skin would be his trashy cougar who has never touched sunscreen.
If you check out our Instagram stories you will have seen me playing with SFX make up, attempting to give myself older, sun-damaged skin. And if you missed it, a short clip has made its way into our BTS video.
Traditionally you use liquid latex, but we tried wood glue as an alternative. You stretch out your skin as you apply it, and as it dries it pinches up into fake wrinkles. It is brittle so I'd recommend sticking to liquid latex.
The wrinkled, leathery skin led us to have the beach as the setting. Mediterranean summers have a very different, more relaxed, la vita e bella feeling compared to Australian summers which are full of sports and activities, and I wanted to bring that laid-back mood into this set of images.
We wanted jewellery to be the motif because, like, have you ever seen a gaudy Mediterranean accessorising without jewellery? I've always worn a corno (or cornicello), or a mano cornuta (horn hand) which, in fact, I'm wearing right this second. These Italian amulets protect the wearer from the evil eye (oh, the stories I could tell you). Every Italian has at least one in their car and if you don't you're not truly Italian. In fact, the corno in the image is Alex's car corno (he has honorary status). And the gold necklace he's wearing was a gift from my cummari (Godmother) when I was baptised.
I was a ballin' bubba.
Anyway, staying with the jewellery motif, I was hunting for something to match the energy of the corno for my costume. With not much luck and many too-obvious choices, I lost interest and moved over to bikinis. And that's when we found it. The bikini of all bikinis. The gaudiest of gaudy. A shiny gold bikini with big fake jewels to boot. Our prayers had been answered, thank you dashboard Jesus.
Now then to Mr. Socks and Sandals. A very hearty thank you to the people of Ancient Greece, of Ancient Rome, of the Czech Republic, and, of course, to the irascible Germans - whichever among you was the true originator of this timeless fashion. Thank you for having the Sheer Raw Courage to sport this "I-don't-care-if-I-never-get-laid-again" look.
Such panache! Such derring-do!
Australians - well, some of them - took the look to heart and modified it with thongs. A noble homage, to be sure. And, as attractive an idea as that was to us, as we were going for a Eurotrash look we went with a pair of buckled sandals. So -
Then out came the mascara to darken Alex's leg hair. And here, applying mascara to a grown man's legs, I had another of these surreal and deeply troubling What am I doing with my life? moments that are appallingly regular here at three bent legs.
Overall this was one of the most fun self portrait-ish shoots we've done and one of my favourite personal sets. I got to see what Alex would look like with a heavy tan and absurdly hairy chest, and he got so see what I would look like if I had a tanning bed addiction.
Well, I hope that's answered some of your burning questions for this week. We've put together another behind-the-scenes video of this shoot which, if you're so inclined, you can watch here: https://www.instagram.com/reel/CT0o3HUBP1q/
We post a new blog weekly and you can keep updated by following us @threebentlegs as I'm usually promoting our blogs and work over there.
See you in our next one!
'Sun Gods' - 2021