Lucent Dossier performance 2007 with Organic Armor helmet, photo by Kyer Wiltshire

Lucent Dossier performance 2007 with Organic Armor helmet, photo by Kyer Wiltshire

Paul started out as a bodypainter way back when. His first costumes were often paper mache horns, body paint and not much else.

The medium has evolved and grown in popularity over the last 20 years. Search “bodypainting” and you’ll get lots of porn sites, sports-related images (a line of drunken dudes with “Go Saints” on their chests) and cheesy combinations of the two . But there are gems out there too.

The World Bodypainting Festival has been going on annually for 12 years. It was held in 2010 in Seeboden, Austria. 30,000 visitors and artists from 40 countries participated. Awards were given in the categories of brush/sponge, airbrush, flourescent, facepainting, special effects, amateur and world. Check out the galleries.

Createx makes excellent airbrush paint suitable for skin
Airbrush Shoppe
Silly Farm supplies and how to videos
Kryolan – sponsors of the Bodypainting Festival, they make high quality, expensive airbrush makeup
Ben Nye Magic Color – more affordable body paints from a good makeup company

Info on materials and techniques
from Steven Bradford, a cinematographer.

A superstar in the bodypainting world is Vargas (at least he thinks he is).

Sports Illustrated has become known for it’s body painted models in the annual swimsuit issue. See some of them cavorting in the waves of Grenada here.
If you liked that, there’s a whole book of it. Despite the sleaze factor there is amazing painting going into these shoots.

Another kind of body painting is Mehndi, traditionally practiced in India, Africa, and the Middle East. The henna plant is believed to bring love and good fortune, and to protect against evil. Henna is traditionally used for brides, read more about that here. There is even a henna con coming up, called Henna Caravan.

Earth Henna carries henna kits and supplies and has a directory of henna artists.

Speaking of henna artists we met Wendy at ConCarolinas where she was painting henna in the art room. Check her out if you’re going to Pagan Pride Day in Raleigh, NC this weekend.