CANVAS STAGE MUSE
TWENTY-SEVEN YEAR OLD RICK GENEST WILL CHALLENGE YOUR SENSIBILITIES ABOUT WHAT YOU BELIEVE TO BE BEAUTIFUL. AT HIS CORE HE IS A CHIAROSCURO OF BOTH LIGHT AND DARK—PART GENTLE WARRIOR, PART ANTIESTABLISHMENT ARTFUL DODGER, AND HE HAS SERENDIPITOUSLY BECOME THE ‘IT’ MUSE FOR ANYONE WHO BELIEVES IN A BRAVE NEW WORLD WITHOUT JUDGMENT.
BODY AS CANVAS Genest’s tattoos as living art
1 The biohazard symbol on Genest’s chest is meant to bring light to the stigma of death and dying and to encourage people to recognize mortality as simply an important part of life.
3 Rick’s dorsal tattoo was one of the first large, unified pieces of his bodysuit. The tattoos on his chest were done separately and later unified to compliment Genest’s full body work.
2 It was pretty much no turning back after Genest had his hands tattooed— in fact, in the industry they call them “job stoppers.” After this decision he dove in headfirst, dedicating his life to his art.
4 The skull and crossbones tattoo was Genest’s first tattoo, at the age of 16. He got it after surviving an extremely rare brain tumor that was removed through revolutionary laser surgery. His friends teased him and called him Zombie because he wasn’t expected to survive, but did.
“ I SEE MY TATTOOS AS CELEBRATING THE ART OF OBSCENITY AND THE MACABRE.”
BODY AS STAGE Genest’s use of body in performance
Genest joined sideshows with contemporary carnivals learning geek work, clowning, fire play, lying on a bed of nails and flesh pull techniques. He eventually amassed a group of performers together to create his own travelling freak show titled Lucifer’s Blasphemous Mad Macabre Torture Carnival which he also directs. Lucifer’s Blasphemous was inspired by the resurgence of sideshows (think Jim Rose Circus) and body modification artists like Lizardman and The Enigma. “Lucifer is our boa [constrictor] and we are the droids of death,” says Genest, explaining the idea behind the troupe. The performers also include the sexy mistresses Sedusa, as well as Dr. Kuttz the psychotic auto mutilator, and a bevy of other Coney Island circus inspired characters. “So you’ve got some action, some gore, some burlesquesexuality, and of course the comedy! It’s a Three Stooges freak shows, unlike you’ve ever seen,” says Genest who performs in English and French, and clearly plays the ‘Zombie’ character.
“ I LIKE GROSS STUFF. YOU KNOW, BEAUTY IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER.”
BODY AS MUSE Genest as a fashion inspiration
In December of 2011, Lady Gaga stylist Nicola Formichetti stumbled upon Genestâ€™s fan page and contacted him on Facebook to shoot the first images for his menswear collection as the newly-appointed creative director of legendary Paris-based house Mugler. Formichetti and his team came to Montreal in January 2011 to shoot Rico. After the Mugler shoot, Formichetti requested that have Rico fly to Paris to walk the menswear show on January 19th, 2011. There was a slight setback: Genest had no passport and was bogged down by fines to his name totalling well over $10,000 in many Canadian provinces. Formichetti agreed to cover the necessary expenses:, basically making him a free man. On January 19th, 2011, Chateauguay-raised Rick Genest starred in his first ever Paris fashion show.
“ I’M SURROUNDED BY BEAUTIFUL ARTISTS— MANY TALENTED PEOPLE.”
This book was designed by Erin McLear in Visual Information Studio at Washington University in St. Louis in Fall of 2012.