Face-paint, the new news

When makeup artist Michal Henig saw how reporters in New Zealand have covered the fires in southern Israel, she realized she needed to create an artistic expression for what’s really going on.

Body painting the news (Daphna Krause)
Michal Henig is busy burning down the Temple for Tisha Be’av, so it’s a good thing it’s not the actual Temple but a painting of it. The flames are painted on the face of her model, Lihi Henig, who is also her teenage daughter.
“I need to remove some portions of the Temple to expose the skin to paint the flames on,” she says. “This is something that takes time to get used to, how you can spend hours on a makeup project and then the person gets to wash it off and it’s gone.”
“People think it’s so much fun to have a mom who is a makeup artist,” says Lihi, “but the truth is I don’t like putting on makeup! I know how, she taught me, but I don’t enjoy it.”
Henig’s body art was featured in such magazines as Wet Paint, a face and body art magazine, and Yofi (“Beauty”), an Israeli magazine makeup artists, hairdressers and other members of the fashion industry.
It all started when Luba Karchova, owner of the Lubika makeup and production agency, decided to build a special course for Israeli makeup artists eager to reach an international market.
“I contacted Russian-Israeli makeup artist Felix Shtein and at first he didn’t understand the point of holding such a course,” she says. “From his perspective it was pretty clear, work hard to develop your own style, cause a provocation, and presto, you’ll be known outside of Israel.”
Karchova convinced him that it is possible to break down the process needed to reach fame and skill into small, accessible chunks and that was what the course dealt with.
“He created an email list of all the editors of fashion magazines and blogs he thought are worthwhile to be in touch with and a standard form to send alongside your work, and Michal was the only one who sent her work to each and every person listed,” Karchova says, “plus, she followed up to make sure that they got the email and might have even published her work and forgot to tell her!”
All this hard work and can-do attitude inspired Karchova to invite Henig to join Lubika – and the two make an interesting team.
“I was in New Zealand when Hamas began to use terrorist balloons and kites to start fires in the South alongside the ‘Marches of Return,’” says Henig, “and everyone I met in New Zealand was clueless about Israel. Even my landlord, who had visited Israel in the 1970s, explained to me that in his view Israel is in the wrong. This really charged me with a lot of energy and I began addressing the issue wherever I went, even at parties!”
The result was “Lubika News,” a way to depict daily events in a novel way using body art.
“I feel that, to me at least, images speak much more than words,” says Karchova, “I’ll be delighted if more makeup artists could join us so we could have a news cycle!”
The topics chosen for the project were the Temple, destroyed by mutual animosity, and the concept of “love thy neighbor as thyself.”
As Lihi sat and allowed her face to be “burned” by the brush stokes of her mother, model Yuval Shor took on the part of the visual representation of looking at and feeling the pains of another person.
Few people are aware of the various roles makeup professionals fill in society, Karchova explains. “In one of our classes,  Dubi Perger, who used to work for the police, gives a lecture on how the art can be used to turn an undercover cop into a homeless person or how the right wig can help an agent in a complex sting operation overseas.”
Another example is the movie industry. “Bashir Abu-Rabia is a special-effects makeup artist; when I need blood or other gory stuff for a shoot he makes it,” Karchova explains. “The special-effects guys have various trade secrets on how to keep the fake blood liquid for the long shooting day.” For example, the blood used in Dexter was created by Joshua Meltzer using a special (and secret) mixture of maple syrup to make it look thick and peppermint oil to keep away flies and bees eager to taste the sugary syrup.
Lihi enjoys helping her mom but isn’t sure about the long-term benefits of reading or watching the news. “Usually the news is bad,” she says. “It’s hard for me to read a massive amount of text; it can be confusing – but an image can serve the text and help the person reading or watching to understand what’s really going on in an instant.”
“Some people love words,” says Karchova. “Other people are very visual. I’d like it if my agency could give people who are more visually inclined a chance to present their work. The daily news doesn’t always have to make one feel bad, it can also cause change – or at the very least make people interested in what’s happening around them.”