Melissa's Transformation at ICON 2001
The Transformation of Melissa at ICON 2001
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On October 13th, 2001, Melissa herself was transformed into a writhing mass of purple tentacles by five artists at ICON 26 in Cedar Rapids, IA. How did this happen?

At the art auction that evening, Melissa bid on -- and won -- the opportunity to have ICON's guest artists use Melissa herself as a canvas for an impromptu painting. Thus, $45 was donated to the Johnson County Student Hunger Drive, and five artists (Karen Hollingsworth, Mike Cole, Erin McKee, John Garner, and Guest of Honor Denise Garner) whipped out their paints and transformed Melissa into the possibly most-photographed feature of ICON 26.

Tragically, one of the two cameras we had was experiencing technical difficulties, so the quality of some of these images is somewhat poor. However, it is likely that other images will surface on the ICON web site in the future.

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All art begins with a plan. That's John Garner working on Melissa's shoulder.

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More outlines. Mike Cole's pallet can be seen in that weird blur on the left. Denise Garner is working on Melissa's legs.

Rusty Hevelin, ICON's Toastmaster and something of a legend on the convention circuit, is the guy laying on the bed in the background.

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Here is the beginning of the fill stage. This was probably taken about a minute before Melissa fainted dead away from standing too long. She was quickly resuscitated, and work continued while she remained seated.

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This is where the detail began to show up. Mike Cole hit upon the idea that red suction cups could easily be stamped on Melissa with the cap from a soda bottle.

All five artists are at least somewhat visible here. Behind Melissa, from left to right, is John Garner, Karen Hollingsworth, and Denise Garner. In the foreground, Mike Cole's head is on the left, and Erin McKee's head is on the right. You can see Erin using the bottle cap stamp.

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Finished! The whole process, including the fainting part, took about an hour and a quarter. Mike Cole is in the back, apparently giving his best Francis Bacon impression.

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From left to right:

Karen Hollingsworth

Erin McKee

John Garner

Melissa Kaercher

Denise Garner

Mike Cole

Click on the thumbnails below to see larger images of the finished product.

(These images were taken with the camera that worked.)

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In Brief

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