Face and body a creative canvas

Young artist experiments with illusion make-up

Luke Rudman, a Grey High School pupil, with his amazing body art. This piece was created especially for Weekend Post to take a photograph
Luke Rudman, a Grey High School pupil, with his amazing body art. This piece was created especially for Weekend Post to take a photograph
Image: Fredlin Adriaan

Describing his art as an unorthodox form of self-expression, Luke Rudman, 18, uses his own face and body as the canvas for his masterpieces.

Through his love for both art and language, the Grey High School matric pupil has been experimenting with illusion make-up to create transformations that critique societal stereotypes.

At surface level, scrolling through Rudman’s Instagram page (@pseudellusion), where he posts images of his creations, is a puzzling yet intriguing experience.

But an in-depth look at what each piece represents allows for insight into what spurs the young talent’s creativity.

“I am unashamedly outside the box – and learnt that I have a voice. There are many issues I find worrying in our society and I use my art to comment on those issues,” Rudman said.

Growing up in “an arty home” had provided the space for him to fine-tune his skills, he said.

When Weekend Post asked for a photograph, within two hours Rudman created a piece which was most representative of the message he was trying to communicate through his art.

Watch the creation unfold here: 

Luke Rudman, @pseudellusion

“The two faces represent that I don’t need to conform to one aesthetic or just be one person.

“I have options.

“Regardless of the context, it’s always viewed as very controversial when a boy wears make-up, even if it’s for artistic reasons.

“I feel very comfortable with what I am doing and when people see what I do, they can see it’s about the art and it shouldn’t be about the fact that there is a stigma attached to boys wearing make-up,” he said.

Rudman’s mother, Sharon, 51, said the only problem she had with her son’s art was how dirty the shower was every time he had to wash off all the paint and make-up.

“I asked Luke one time what he was up to and he said to me: ‘Ah you know, the usual boy stuff’.

“His dad died when he was about 13 months old, and his dad was also an artist and a very out-of-the-box thinker. And I just figured, well, genetics,” Sharon Rudman said.

I’m proud that he is striving for excellence.
Sharon Rudman

 “I’m proud that he is striving for excellence.”

Most of Rudman’s pieces are created in a small room in his family’s Summerstrand home.

“When I’m not at band or orchestra or voices, which is kind of like a choir, or I’m not doing my schoolwork, then this is where I exist.”

“I buy most of the make-up from Vibes, but sometimes my friends donate foundations that they don’t want to use anymore.”

While Rudman plans to study graphic design at Nelson Mandela University next year, he said he would continue to pursue his new-found passion.

“When people see someone doing something different and doing it confidently, I feel the response is so much better.

“I can’t say where this will take me, all I can do is stay true to the art form and stay true to the message that I am trying to relay to society.”

Luke Rudman
Luke Rudman
Image: Fredlin Adriaan

His art teacher, Rosalind Dorfling, said within his own class and even with younger pupils he was highly admired.

“He possesses this quiet strength. Luke will in a quiet way show you exactly what he is capable of.

“His work speaks for itself and you cannot look at Luke’s work at not be taken aback.

“Some of his 2D pieces, so his drawings and such are on display in the classroom, and anyone who comes across that always has a ‘wow’ reaction.

“I often say to him that I would just like to spend 10 minutes in his head – he is just so creative.

“His style right now is very avant-garde.

“He is extremely hard-working and it’s been a privilege to have been exposed to his talent.

“He definitely has an elevated status within the class and when commentary has been made about his works, in an unassuming way, he is able to defend his art,” Dorfling said.

Some of the other breathtaking masterpieces Luke has created: