Inflated Whimsy

Inflated Whimsy

photographer : victoria zeoli / @victoria zeoli /

makeup + creative director : nicki buglewicz / @nickibugs /

hair : jasmine lopez / @jazzl0

model : aaliyah skie / @aaliyahskie

About this project

I created this concept and discovered local inspiring talent to collaborate with me on this journey. When I lived in Ireland, I painted faces and was a balloon artist at children’s parties and it brought me so much joy. I would also frequent children’s hospitals dressed as a fairy or a pirate and they always said it was the highlight of their day and the most rewarding job I have had to date. My team and I wanted to create a whimsical fantasy shoot where the makeup had washes of bright and playful colours on the lids, lips, cheeks, collar bones and shoulders. The hair was to be eccentric and mischievous looking as if it was static and standing on end because of the balloons nearby. For the background set I made a cloud scene wall for a more airy and dreamy effect, we tore up batting and eviscerated plush stuffed animals found at The Good Will and glued the stuffing onto a blue bed sheet we secured to the wall. We had originally painted a wall with a sky cloudscape but it didn’t quite look punchy enough to capture the whimsy I had in mind and we all agreed. I also had this dream of a hundred balloon doggy animals on strings in the air held by a model and that image was my favourite as I had envisioned that for the longest time. After many tests and talks with balloon stores telling me helium balloon animals are impossible to float as the balloons are too dense a material to fill with helium and will ‘fall’. I had to come up with an alternative way to get those puppies (lol) in the air! So I tied the hand pumped air balloon animals I made onto big helium balloons (those are higher and out of the frame) to trick the eye into thinking that they are floating on their own. We were all thrilled with the result! To embody the emotions that inspired the concept I wanted to include in my makeup glowing yellows, playful pastels and metallic purple shades. As we couldn’t find a stylist in time for the shoot to source clothing, we were lucky enough to find some pieces that fit perfectly with the concept sourced from GoodWill Vintage. Our model had naturally curly hair and we also had many colourful hair pieces we treated and inserted as well. I was very happy to bring this new team together and reflect on that happy time and bring it to life. I had never worked with this photographer, model, or hairstylist before in Orlando Florida and everyone was so kind and eager to contribute on this brief. To work with a new team and collaborate in a new city was exciting and a new experience and it was fun bouncing ideas off of different creatives. I also got out of my comfort zone by tackling the art direction which I really had an amazing time conceptualizing.

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