Although Hook Life is predominately dedicated to news and articles regarding body suspension and flesh pulls, this music video’s use of facial hooks to convey the feelings of the song and the director’s vision was far too beautiful to pass up. Singer/songwriter Johanna Warren worked alongside director Gretchen Heinel as well as Gisella Rose and Dominick Arduino of Invisibleself Suspensions to turn her lyrics from ‘My Storm’ into a visual representation of the emotions that went with them. In talking with those who worked on the video, it’s wonderful to find that these three were able to bring together their artistic mediums of music, suspension, and cinematography in a way that worked so well.
The incredibly talented individuals working on the video took a moment to give us a little perspective of what each of them put into the video and how the experience was for them.
HL: Who came up with the concept for the video? There were a few pieces of imagery that were really striking, and I was wondering if whoever created it could comment on where the inspiration came from and the feeling/message they wanted with it? The one that stood out to me was obviously the leashed look of the face hooks and being led around. For me, it felt like almost an emotional marionette with the facial expressions being played with, but I would love to hear where that came from for them.
A: Gretchen Heinel
I got the idea for the video because the lyrics seemed so clearly to depict a tangled, confusing relationship. I was imagining the individual who sang the song was a sort of protective figure and had a powerful role in the relationship, like there was some kind of dependency from the lyric-writer. I almost immediately thought of a puppet/puppetmaster relationship since that so clearly embodies an ambiguous, protector/dependent relationship.
The hooks through the face completely came from the idea of an emotional marionette! When listening to the song, i was reminded of how much one’s emotions can get confused or manipulated by another person (that can happen in almost any kind of relationship, but it’s especially noticeable in unhealthy romantic relationships). The face is the doorway into a person’s emotional landscape, so i thought it’d be more powerful if our puppeteer were controlling her and leading her by her face.
I just want to add that I loved the collaborative process with everyone involved on set, I was thrilled with how well everyone seemed synced up with each other’s aesthetics and energies. It was a really beautiful day, the day we shot the video, and I’m so thankful everyone was a part of it!
HL: The lyrics are wonderful. Did Johanna work to make the video try to portray her feelings with this song? Would she like to add a bit about where this song comes from for her?
A: Johanna Warren
To me, the song seems to be about emotional dependency in the kind of intense relationship that’s so all-consuming you’re not even sure whether it’s making you happy or miserable; the moment you realize you need to break free from it; and the excruciating pain of self-liberation when your ego has become so entangled with another’s that severing that bond feels like driving a knife into your own chest. Come to think of it, Gretchen’s visual interpretation clarified a lot of that for me. I rarely set out to write a song “about” anything in particular, but I love being surprised by the meaning that reveals itself after the fact.
HL: On your end, Gisella, how was the experience overall? I know from shooting a video that just a few minutes of finished product can be an entire day of filming or more. It could definitely get a bit intense with face hooks being in that long and then pulled over and over. How long was your face pull/hook experience altogether?
A: Gisella Rose
I had the hooks in for about 3 hours. I pierced my cheeks by myself and then Dom assisted me with putting the hooks in. Dom pierced the middle of my eyebrow. That was intensely painful and of course created a waterfall of eye tearing.
The sensation at first was very warm and it took me about 20 minutes to get used to the hooks and once I did, they were actually really comfortable.
The pull was painless yet still has the feeling like my face was getting pulled (not sure how to explain that) I was pulled VERY GENTLY and only a few times just to get the acquired shot for the video.
Once the hooks were removed and wounds were cleaned. There was no tearing and very little swelling. They healed fast too.
The hooks that we used are definitely not in any way good for suspension, but because it was more for the effect and just the gentle pull for the video, we used 16ga and 10ga filed down and sterilized stainless steel fish-hooks.
This experience was incredible and we are all so truly grateful to have been part of it. Running around in the woods in a beautiful antique dress with hooks in my face, among awesome people and creative minds is definitely soul touching. I felt cleansed of negativity afterwards.
Thank you all for the information and for sharing this incredible video with us. I wish you all the best of luck, and hope to see more of your continued successes in the future!