See Face painting

Body painting, or sometimes bodypainting, is a form of body art. While evidence exists that body painting predates cave painting, there was a resurgence of the art in the 1960s substantial enough to gain mass media interest. Since becoming part of common knowledge in this way, the practice (particularly face painting), has become widespread in alternative gatherings such as music festivals and demonstrations.

Indígenas da etnia Kapirapé

The Kapirapé or Tapirape indigenous people of Brazil eschew clothing, but paint their bodies in diverse design according to gender and age

Unlike tattoo and other forms of body art, body painting is temporary, painted onto the human skin, and lasts for only several hours, or at most (in the case of Mehndi or "henna tattoo") a couple of weeks. Body painting that is limited to the face is known as face painting. Body painting is also referred to as (a form of) temporary tattoo; large scale or full-body painting is more commonly referred to as body painting, while smaller or more detailed work is generally referred to as temporary tattoos.


File:WNBR Brighton 2011 19.jpg

Body painting in human evolutionEdit

As the first instances of the use of painting materials (ochre, manganese dioxide) by human ancestors predates the first cave paintings by tens or possibly hundred of thousands of the years,[1][2] some scholars assume that the painting materials were used by human ancestors for painting their own bodies.

Joseph Jordania recently suggested that body painting, together with dancing, loud group singing, rhythmic stomping and drumming on external objects, was designed by the forces of natural selection as the means to reach the specific altered state of consciousness, battle trance through the ritualized activities.[3] In this state group members were losing their individuality and were assuming a shared collective identity, where they were losing the feel of fear and pain and were fully dedicated to the group interests. This state was crucial for physical survival of the hominids in order to defend them from predators after they shifted from the relatively safe trees to more dangerous ground.

Traditional body painting Edit

Body painting with clay and other natural pigments existed in most, if not all, tribalist cultures. Often worn during ceremonies, it still survives in this ancient form among the indigenous people of Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific islands and parts of Africa. A semi-permanent form of body painting known as Mehndi, using dyes made of henna (hence also known rather erroneously as "henna tattoo"), was and is still practiced in India and the Middle East, especially on brides. Since the late 1990s, Mehndi has become popular amongst young women in the Western world.

Indigenous peoples of South America traditionally use annatto, huito, or wet Wikipedia:charcoal to decorate their faces and bodies. Huito is semi-permanent, and it generally takes weeks for this black dye to fade.

Actors and clowns around the world have painted their faces—and sometimes bodies—for centuries, and continue to do so today. It might be thought that these evolved into the cosmetics we know today, but in fact the use of paints for personal adornment and makeup are contemporary to or predate its use on stage.

Modern body paintingEdit

File:Nice body art.jpg

There has been a revival of body painting in the Western society since the 1960s, in part prompted by the liberalization of social mores regarding nudity. Media interest in this may take more sensationalist or Wikipedia:exhibitionist forms than is intended by the practitioners.[4] Even today there is a constant debate about the legitimacy of body painting as an art form. The current modern revival could be said to date back to the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago where Max Factor and his model were arrested for causing a public disturbance when he bodypainted her with his new make-up formulated for Hollywood films. Body art today evolves to the works more directed towards personal mythologies, as Jana Sterbak, Wikipedia:Rebecca Horn, Wikipedia:Youri Messen-Jaschin or Wikipedia:Javier Perez.

PETA body paint protest in Helsinki cropped

Two body painted women in a PETA protest against the fur trade

Body painting is commonly used as a method of providing a narrative or context for the issues in political protests, for instance those by PETA against Wikipedia:Burberry. Such protests commonly take the ethical stance of the ends justifying the means, ie that whatever sensationalist aspects are required to draw attention to the issue are justified by the issue's importance.

Body paintings can also typically be seen at rave parties at festivals, and at football and soccer matches and, with increasing frequency, at other sporting events.

File:Bodypainting Saints.jpg

Body painting led to a minor alternative art movement in the 1950s and 1960s, which involved covering a model in paint and then having the model touch or roll on a canvas or other medium to transfer the paint. French artist Yves Klein is perhaps the most famous for this, with his series of paintings "Anthropometries". See #Methods

Body painting festivals Edit

File:Camouflage body painting at WBF 2010 cropped.jpg

Body painting festivals happen annually across the world, bringing together professional body painters as well as keen amateurs. The Wikipedia:World Bodypainting Festival in Pörtschach (previously held in Wikipedia:Seeboden) in Wikipedia:Austria is the biggest art event in the bodypainting theme and thousands of visitors admire the wonderful work of the participants.

Bodypaint festivals that take place in North America include the North American Body Painting Championship, Face and Body Art International Convention in Wikipedia:Orlando, Florida, Bodygras Body Painting Competition in Wikipedia:Nanaimo, BC and the Face Painting and Body Art Convention in Wikipedia:Las Vegas, Nevada.

Art: Practitioners Edit

Starry night body painting

Reproduction of Wikipedia:Vincent Van Gogh's Wikipedia:Starry Night as a body painting

Many artists work professionally as body painters across the world. Their work is seen regularly in television commercials, such as the Natrel Plus campaign featuring models camouflaged as trees. Body painters also work frequently in the film arena especially in science fiction with more and more elaborate alien creations being body painted. Stills advertising also used body painting with hundreds of body painting looks on the pages of the world's magazines every year.

The Wikipedia:Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, published annually, has in recent years featured a section of models that were body painted, attired in renditions of swimsuits or sports jerseys. Sometimes accessories are used such as bows or buttons. Some allege this allows SI to skirt their own no-nudity guideline.

In the 2005 Playmates at Play at the Playboy Mansion calendar, all Playmates appeared in the calendar wearing bikinis, but Playmates Wikipedia:Karen McDougal and Wikipedia:Hiromi Oshima actually appeared in painted on bikinis for their respective months. In October, 2005, the Wikipedia:Playboy magazine cover featured a foldout of two models (Wikipedia:Sara Jean Underwood and Wikipedia:Victoria Thornton) wearing only body paint. The February 2008 cover of Playboy magazine featured Wikipedia:Tiffany Fallon body painted as Wikipedia:Wonder Woman. These covers and other body paintings done for Hugh Hefner's parties at the Playboy Mansion are created for Playboy by artist Mark Frazier. Wikipedia:Michelle Manhart, Playboy model and former Air Force Staff Sergeant, recently posed in body paint for the cover of a 2008 pin-up calendar (published by Operation Calendar).

With the success of body painting, this has led to publications on this art form and also Wikipedia:Illusion Magazine which is aimed to painters for all abilities, showcasing work around the world.

File:Coversvanity demi.0.jpg

Joanne Gair is a body paint artist whose work appeared for the tenth consecutive year in the 2008 Wikipedia:Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She burst into prominence with a August 1992 Vanity Fair Wikipedia:Demi's Birthday Suit cover of Wikipedia:Demi Moore.[5][6] Her Wikipedia:Disappearing Model was part of an episode of Wikipedia:Ripley's Believe It or Not!.[7]

Fine art body painting Edit

The 1960s supermodel Wikipedia:Veruschka is often cited as being many body painters' muse. Her images in the book Transfigurations with photographer Wikipedia:Holger Trulzsch have frequently been emulated. Other well-known works include Wikipedia:Serge Diakonoff's books A Fleur de Peau and Diakonoff and Wikipedia:Joanne Gair's Paint a licious.

Since the early 1990s bodypainting has become more widely accepted in the United States, and more and more body artists are beginning to come onto the national community.

File:Hoyas painted chests.jpg

Starting in late 2006 Wikipedia:Sacramento art galleries started to use fine art bodypainting as performance art to draw new patrons.

In 2006 the first gallery dedicated exclusively to fine art bodypainting was opened in New Orleans by World Bodypainting Festival Champion and Judge, Craig Tracy. The Wikipedia:Painted Alive Gallery is on Royal Street in the Wikipedia:French Quarter.

In 2009, a popular late night talk show Last Call with Carson Daly on NBC network, featured a New York based artist Danny Setiawan who creates reproductions of masterpieces by famous artists such as Wikipedia:Salvador Dalí, Wikipedia:Vincent Van Gogh, and Wikipedia:Gustav Klimt on human bodies aiming to make fine art appealing for his contemporaries who normally would not consider themselves as art enthusiasts.

Methods Edit

File:Blacklight bodypainting leevi.jpg

Body painting is not always large pieces on fully nude bodies, but can involve smaller pieces on displayed areas of otherwise clothed bodies.

The "Anthropometries" technique covers a model in paint, whereupon the model touches or rolls on a canvas or other medium to transfer the paint. This creates an image-transfer from the model's body to the medium which includes all the curves of the model's body (typically female) being reflected in the outline of the image. This technique was not necessarily monotone; multiple colors on different body parts sometimes produced interesting effects.

Glitter tattoosEdit

Lately, "glitter tattoos" have been gaining popularity. These are made by applying cosmetic-grade glue (either freehand or through a stencil) on the skin and then coating it with cosmetic-grade Wikipedia:glitter. They can last up to a week depending on the model's body chemistry.

Busta Rhymes Blacklight

Busta Rhymes subverts the image of the tribal black, to reclaim it as modern art (with blacklight body and face paint (WP) that glows under UV light), in his video, Put your hands where my eyes can see

Body paintsEdit

Modern water-based face and body paints are made according to stringent guidelines, meaning these are non-Wikipedia:toxic, usually non-Wikipedia:allergenic, and can easily be washed away. Temporary staining may develop after use, but it will fade after normal washing. These are either applied with hands, paint brush, and synthetic sponges or natural Wikipedia:sea sponge, or alternatively with an Wikipedia:airbrush.

Contrary to the popular myth perpetuated by the Wikipedia:James Bond film Goldfinger, a person is not asphyxiated if their whole body is painted.[9]

Wikipedia:Liquid latex may also be used as body paint. Aside the risk of contact allergy, wearing latex for a prolonged period may cause Wikipedia:heat stroke by inhibiting Wikipedia:perspiration and care should be taken to avoid the painful removal of hair when the latex is pulled off.

Manufacturers of widely available professional body and face paint include: Ben Nye, Derivan, Diamond FX, Fardel, Grimas, Kryolan, MAC-Pro, Mehron, Smiffy's Make-Up FX, Snazaroo and Wolfe Face Art & FX.

The same precautions that apply to Wikipedia:cosmetics should be observed. If the skin shows any sign of Wikipedia:allergy from a paint, its use should immediately be ceased. Moreover, it should not be applied to damaged, inflamed or sensitive skin. If possible, a test for allergic reaction should be performed before use. Special care should be paid to the list of ingredients, as certain dyes are not approved by the US FDA for use around the eye area —generally those associated with certain reddish colorants, as CI 15850 or Wikipedia:CI 15985— or on lips —generally blue, purple or some greens containing Wikipedia:CI 77007—.[10][11] More stringent regulations are in place in California regarding the amount of permissible Wikipedia:lead on cosmetic additives, as part of Wikipedia:Proposition 65.[12] In the European Union, all colorants listed under a CI number are allowed for use on all areas. Any paints or products which have not been formulated for use on the body should never be used for body or face painting, as these can result in serious allergic reactions.

File:Football World Cup Berlin 20060624 Bodypainting.jpg

As for Wikipedia:Mehndi, natural brown henna dyes are safe to use when mixed with ingredients such as lemon juice. However, a commonly marketed product called "black henna", is not safe to use because the product has been made by mixing natural henna with synthetic black dyes containing PPD, which can cause serious skin allergies, and should be avoided due to the substantial risk of serious injury.[13] Another option is Jagua, a dark indigo plant based dye that is safe to use on the skin and is approved for cosmetic use in the EU.

Hand artEdit

Hand art is the application of make-up or paint to a hand to make it appear like an animal or other object. Some hand artists, like Wikipedia:Guido Daniele, produce images that are Wikipedia:trompe l'oeil representations of wild animals painted on people's hands.

Hand artists work closely with Wikipedia:hand models. Hand models can be booked through specialist acting and modeling agencies usually advertising under "body part model" or "hands and feet models".


Body painting figures prominently in various media.

The Pillow Book, a 1996 film by Wikipedia:Peter Greenaway, centers around body painting.

In 2009, New Zealand national airline Wikipedia:Air New Zealand created a television commercial and a safety video, featuring airline staff (including CEO Wikipedia:Rob Fyfe) wearing body-painted uniforms. It was part of the company's "Nothing to Hide" campaign, to promote its difference form low-cost airlines with its fully inclusive fares.

The 1990 American film Where the Heart Is featured several examples of models who were painted to blend into elaborate backdrops as Wikipedia:trompe-l'œil.

See alsoEdit

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  1. E. E. Wreschner, R. Bolton, K. W. Butzer, H. Delporte, A. Häusler, A. Heinrich, A. Jacobson-Widding, T. Malinowski, C. Masset, S. F. Miller, A. Ronen, R. Solecki, P. H. Stephenson, L. L. T. & H. Zollinger. 1980. "Red Ochre and Human Evolution: A Case for Discussion" [and Comments and Reply] Current Anthropology, 21, No. 5, Oct. 1980:631-644
  2. R.G Bednarik, R. G. "The global evidence of early human symboling behaviour". Human Evolution 12, #3:147-168
  3. Wikipedia:Joseph Jordania, Wikipedia:Why do People Sing? Music in Human Evolution. Logos, 2011
  4. "Body Painting: History, Origins, Types, Methods, Festivals: Tribal Art". Retrieved 2010-09-10. 
  5. "Make-Up Illusion by Joanne Gair". Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  6. "Body Painting: Masterpieces by Joanne Gair". Art MOCO: The Modern and Contemporary Art Blog. 2007-07-22. Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  7. "Joanne Gair: The Art of Illusion". Retrieved 2009-04-23. 
  8. "CFR - Code of Federal Regulations Title 21". The Food and Drug Administration. 1 April 2010. Retrieved 3 August 2011. 
  9. Metin Tolan - Geschüttelt, nicht gerührt, Piper Verlag
  10. "Color Additive Status List". The Food and Drug Administration. December 2009. Retrieved 3 August 2011. 
  11. "Summary of Color Additives for Use in United States in Foods, Drugs, Cosmetics, and Medical Devices". The Food and Drug Administration. March 2007. Retrieved 3 August 2011. 
  12. "California Proposition 65 Update: Lead Limits for Cosmetic Products". Hong Kong Trade Development Council. 18 June 2009. Retrieved 3 August 2011. 
  13. The Henna Page - PPD Black Henna Retrieved on 2008-05-26