Changing Faces: How a Body Artist Found Creative Ways to Customize Her Business |  When more of us play, we all win

Changing Faces: How a Body Artist Found Creative Ways to Customize Her Business | When more of us play, we all win | Pro Club Bd

As a professional face and body painter, Amy Jones is adept at helping other people achieve some level of metamorphosis. But she’s also something of a shapeshifter in her own right. “Adaptability is key to my job – I can work at a children’s party in the morning and do UV makeup at a nightclub in the evening, or paint glitter eyes or henna on my hands at a wedding and move on to a football game. all in the same week,” she says.

Jones has used this versatility throughout her career to be a true chameleon, having previously worked as a florist, beauty and sports therapist, makeup artist and costume supplier. Today, Jones, 57, combines face and body painting with his work as a balloon sculptor and henna artist — among other skills.

“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been creative, sketching, painting and crafting,” says Jones. “That means growing up I’ve always worked in customer-facing industries and where I can express my creativity – I’ve worn a lot of different hats.”

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Makeup and body paint by Amy Jones

Jones started her business, Creative Capers, in 2009. Initially hiring children’s costumes, she realized she needed more flexibility as she raised her two young children – so she trained in face painting and balloon modelling. “I’m very flexible and tend to take whatever works best,” she says.

Jones, who lives in Southampton, can often be found at St Mary’s Stadium, home of Southampton Football Club, helping Saints fans show their stripes alongside bubble blowers, street performers and the Saints Brass Band. “I’ve been staying at St. Mary’s on and off for six or seven years and I absolutely love the atmosphere,” says Jones. “It’s really interactive and I enjoy going up to burly football fans and saying, ‘Come on, why don’t you show your stripes?’

Amy Jones:

“Make-up at games is becoming almost tribal. I once had a lovely moment with a group of teenagers when one of them decided to get a full face with stripes and then everyone joined in. I had a chance to chat with all of them while I was painting and they took photos and laughed. I also drew soccer balls on one or two bald heads!”

With Creative Capers booked for all three UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 matches to be played in St Mary’s this July, Jones is looking forward to the additional opportunities to meet clients that the tournament will bring. “I like working at St. Mary’s when women are playing games because you get more female viewers,” she says. “They’re more used to makeup and easier to persuade to have their faces painted. Although it’s a bit like going to the dentist – you ask them a question and they can’t answer because they have to keep still! I love the atmosphere on match days.”

Jones’ ability to adapt and thrive was critical when the pandemic struck and her business was decimated overnight. “I work anywhere there’s a lot of people — festivals, weddings, football games — so my job just disappeared,” says Jones. “Before the pandemic, I was looking forward to my busiest year yet and I love the social aspect of my job so it has been difficult both emotionally and financially.”

She ended up working in a distribution center with people from all walks of life, from company directors to cleaners. “It was very different from my usual work, but I was very happy with it.” She also found support from other artists across Southampton and the UK through organizations such as the International Face Painting Association and the Façade Academy. “I’m fortunate to have a fantastic network in our area and we keep each other sane and motivated,” she says. “Industry organizations have also given us a lot of support during lockdown, teaching us new techniques online to keep us going. I kept my hand in hand by hiding balloon animals in my front yard for local kids to spot on their daily lockdown walks and asking them what I should do next. It was also a way to keep that sense of connection.”

A virtual session Jones attended looked at what the industry would look like post-Covid – and as the country came out of lockdown, she realigned her business to meet the increased demand for digital payments. “When the shops reopened, I set up a stall at a local market offering henna tattoos,” she says. “I bought a ticket machine; It has enabled me to get sales where I wasn’t before. Some festivals are now card-only and I can take deposits for on-site events.”

Quote: I absolutely love the atmosphere on math days
Tools of the trade: Amy Jones' brushes
Sitting on a soccer field
A woman with a small soccer ball painted on her face

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Although most of Jones’ jobs are booked through an agency, she also offers so-called “pay-per-face”, where clients pay for face painting, glitter tattoos or hair braiding on site. Her business is fully portable, including taking her own table and chairs wherever she is needed, giving her the flexibility to take on a variety of jobs. “It’s one of the things I love about my business,” she says. “I could work on a council estate one day and a mansion the next. I’m still passionate about what I do because there are always new avenues to explore.

“My job means I get to go to some amazing places and events that I would never have gone to if I wasn’t in this industry. To be a part of creating that atmosphere, that excitement – ​​whether it’s blowing up balloons, painting faces or doing henna tattoos that day – is really wonderful.”

When more of us play, we all win
The competition is at its best when everyone really has the chance to take part. That’s why Visa is a proud sponsor of UEFA Women’s EURO 2022. And Visa’s support goes beyond the pitch. Visa is committed to digitally empowering 8 million small businesses in Europe by the end of 2023, providing technology and tools to help turn small ideas into big businesses, wherever they are. To find out more about how Visa is committed to accessibility and inclusion, visit: visa.co.uk/wUEFA2022

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