Up until the age of about seven, Robert Cody Reuwsaat spent every October terrified because he was convinced that his parents turned into vampires at that time of year due to extensive window displays, costumes, and speakers hidden in the yard making creepy noises. "It definitely got to the point when I was like, 'If I can't beat 'em, join 'em. I guess I better start being scary too.'"
And Reuwsaat looked pretty scary when WW stopped by the 27-year-old 6'4" artist's home studio in deep Southwest. He modeled a horned demon mask he made for himself to wear as an actor in the Oaks Park Screamland Haunted House last Halloween. Then again, he wasn't quite as scary as a life sized model of a female vampire he built, a few of which Reuwsaat sold to a Las Vegas strip club because of their realistic undead breasts—they shake awfully fluidly when bumped.
The vampire jiggles because she's made of layered latex and foam mixed in a hand-made stone mold. Reuwsaat will display his prosthetic skills again this Sunday as one of a dozen artists who will paint, costume, and otherwise elaborate on the human form using live models at a show to benefit the newly formed Music Art Resource Collective. The Northeast Portland-based group is raising funds to create a performance space and studio where kids can take music lessons and attend workshops for audio recording and film making, among other mediums.
At the benefit, Reuwsaat's live model will be transformed into a mermaid demon that could pass for an H.P. Lovecraft character. Though the Nevada native has created everything from pregnancy bellies for The Drew Carey Show to a haunted house in Hong Kong, he's never made a scaly monster before. "I thought about doing a zombie pin-up girl," he says, "but I thought it would be cliché."
Luckily, there will be a classic pin-up girl strutting the cat walk at the event. A dozen artists are working on the show: experienced body painter and tattoo artist India Rienhardt is set on painting a phoenix onto a model, complete with ashes at her feet. Katy Naehl will recreate am all-paint "suit and tie" featured in a 1967 issue of Playboy.
Did the 25-year-old local artist ever think to grab one of the abundant human canvases around her before "If I had, I wouldn't really have had the means to create such an event on my own, with such an audience," Naehl confesses. She's not the only one excited about the show. Although Reuwsaat struggles to make a living as a makeup artist who specializes in horror he says that "scary stuff scares people away." He's donating his talents to MARC in an act of "positive community input." It'll be good recompense for all the people his work scares. —JASON SIMMS.
MARC's Body Art Benefit takes place at Liberty Hall, 311 N Ivy St., 249-8888. Sunday Feb. 18. 7 pm doors, 9 pm show. $12 with vegan dinner, $6 without. All ages.