Wednesday 25 April 2018

Baz Black: 'Be who makes you happy'

Anne Campbell hears how piercer Baz Black was so changed for his new video, his mum didn't know him

Baz Black without tattoos
Baz Black without tattoos
Baz Black with his tattoos.

It takes a couple of viewings of the new Baz Black video on YouTube to work out that the average looking guy staring at you in a mirror with a dodgy wig is actually the same tattoo studio owner, and piercer, who turns heads every time he walks out his front door.

Baz's transformation for the video, which was created to highlight the fact that 'you should always be whoever makes you happy' took many hours and employed the considerable services of Carlingford make up artist Marie Murphy.

The finished look, where his full body tattoos were cleverly hidden under make-up, was so convincing that Baz's mum didn't recognise him when he called to her home in Drogheda.

The Dundalk-based business owner said: 'On the day we were filming, I showed up at the front door with a guy who was helping me.

'My mum shoot my hand because she thought I was one of Baz's friends, but she thought I was very rude because I then just walked in past her into the house.

'She didn't recognise me at all. She just kept looking at me and when she realised it was me, she freaked out. It's such a shame that we weren't filming all this! And my niece was in the house too and while she recognised my voice, she couldn't take it in that it was really me standing in front of her'.

The short film was something Baz had been thinking about for a year or so. He said: 'I wanted to get the message out there that you should be whoever makes you happy and you don't have to conform to other people's ideals to be happy'.

The film shows Baz as an officer worker, who is introvert and quiet and picked on by his boss, (Oisin de Lange) but transforms into the tattooed drummer of the band, Amongst the Wolves. There is a twist at the end that drives the message home.

It was shot all in the space of one day, and features the intimate music venue in Drogheda, Odd Mollies. Baz's friend Marie, offered to help him as a top class make-up artist and he 'finally said we would do it'.

The make-up, to cover his facial and hand tattoos and which is featured in the office scenes where Baz wears a shirt, took around two hours to complete.

The full body make-up took a further three hours, with the help of assistant Rebecca Fanning, to complete the job. After that, Baz had to jump in the shower and scrub the make-up off so the finale at Odd Mollies could be filmed.

The video, which was filmed, co-directed and edited by Cathal Carolan, also promotes Baz's real-life band, Amongst the Wolves and their new single 'Hunger' is featured in the film. He said: 'I'm really glad I did it. It really was a strange feeling to see myself 'without' the tattoos. I didn't know how I would feel.

'When I had the make-up on, it felt so strange and I couldn't wait to be 'normal' again, to be me again'.

The video, which has already racked up thousands of hits on YouTube (search Office Workers Shocking Transformation') has been generally well received, Baz said, and while there 'will always be the keyboard warriors', the message behind the film is 'translating pretty well'. He is grateful to the team who helped make it possible.

And if this wasn't enough for the well-known piercer, Baz reveals that he has just finished filming for the new RTE series, Salon Confidential which starts later this month and he says he really enjoyed the experience.

In addition, he has also just completed filming on the much-anticipated, new Cecilia Ahern movie. 'The Art of Love' has just completed shooting, the second film adaptation of the writer's book, following the hugely successful PS I Love You. It was shot on location in various parts of Ireland and again features the theme of loss.

The main character's husband is knocked down and killed but he 'comes back' and communicates with her through paintings. Baz has a speaking part in the movie, and he's one of the people who consoles the grief-stricken wife. His scenes were shot in Temple Bar and the film stars well-known German actress Jessica Ginkel.

He was thrilled with being on the set of a big movie for the first time and even had his own trailer. Baz says he found Ginkel 'really lovely' to deal with and praised her for being 'down to earth'. This was something he 'really, really enjoyed' and he secured the role through his own agent.

And this is not his only brush with the film world this year. He is getting ready to film a trailer for a feature film based on his own book, 'Ink Princess'.

It tells the story of Megan Banks, now one of the most famous tattoo artists in the world. She is the star of hit TV show Rebel Ink, but her path to get here has been anything but easy.

Tonight she will finally tell her story. Live on the Michael Corbett Show, the world will hear of her journey that takes her from living rough on the streets to getting the opportunity of a lifetime.

This is a rags to riches tale like you have never heard before. But does fame come at a price? Amongst the millions tuned in, there is one particular person watching . . . they are always watching.

He started the book in August last year. He said he felt 'a bit intimidated' about starting to write and had the story in his head for a long time. One night, he couldn't sleep and he started brain storming, coming up with the main character's name.

'Once I had that, I had a vision of what she looked like in my mind, how she acted, the way she spoke'.

The action is set in New York and Boston, where Banks has grown up in a very difficult environment, with a drug addict mother who died when she was young before a series of foster care homes that land her on the streets.

It was on the streets that Megan found her creative ability and was picked up by a local gallery before being offered an apprenticeship at a tattoo studio which, in turn, is picked up for a reality TV show.

The book has sold very well and it has been picked up by producers who want to turn the exciting story into a film. 'We start shooting that later this month', said Baz. This is something he is really looking forward to.

The year 2017 is not over yet, but it is shaping up to be one of the best ever for Baz. 'I hope it continues!' he says.

Check out the transformation video on YouTube through Baz Black's channel on the website and by searching 'Office Workers Transformation'.

It is also available on Baz's Instragram and Facebook pages.

The Argus