THE ORIGINS OF BODY ART
Tens of thousands of years ago, our early human ancestors used painting materials for cave paintings. Many scholars believe that before interior cave-decoration became a prehistoric fad, early humans used the same materials for painting their own bodies, primarily as camouflage for hunting and to defend themselves from predators. They certainly had many examples in nature to learn from. Can you see the picture of the owl above?
Whenever the practice began, body and face painting developed into decorating in shapes, patterns, and colors for hunting, religious, ritual, and military purposes--sometimes the painting was used to scare the enemy--and for artistic expression. Body painting, along with other rites, represents important changes in one's life, such as puberty, marriage, birth, and so on, and has been a part of most tribal cultures since ancient times. The art of transforming the human being for various purposes with make-up and masks seems inherent in all cultures.
Natural pigments, tree barks, plants, minerals, and clays were used; the colors and types of pigments depended on what was available in the immediate area. Different patterns, shapes, and colors have a different significance depending on the culture. Body painting became a way of expressing one's culture and identity.
According to fashionencyclopedia.com, body painting was traditionally used in many societies to signify a person's social status and/or religious beliefs. A temporary decoration, body paint lasted only a few days. In some cultures, both men and women painted their bodies only for important social occasions, while in others, people wore body paint every day as a uniform to show their social status.
TRIBAL BODY AND FACE PAINTING
Nearly all tribal cultures practiced some form of body art. The practice still survives in its ancient forms among indigenous peoples in many countries. While it is done primarily for ceremonial purposes (and tourism), it also serves to preserve elements of the culture and identity in an expanding world. Art makes us different. Julius Caesar wrote that the Britanni warriors or Picts (which means painted ones in Latin) colored their bodies blue when going into battle.
The Picts, Scotland Iowa Indian Warrior Maori Warrior, New Zealand Surma man from Ethiopia
Photo source: Photo Source: Photo Source: Photo Source:
www.abc.net.au/radionationa www.warpaths2peacepipes.com/ https://www.pinterest.com
CONTEMPORARY BODY AND FACE PAINTING
Most of us are familiar with face painting in its contemporary forms. We see the images in ads, on TV and many other places, particularly related to the entertainment business but not exclusively.
www.globalsecurity.org/military fashion.zarzarmodels.com/Lancome/beautiful-skin www.friendlymorocco.com/henna-tattoos www.thebridalbox.com/bindi-designs
And, ladies, your skin care and cosmetics represent a 160 billion-dollar-per-year industry. That's some serious face painting, wouldn't you say? To quote the Economist Magazine, an industry driven by sexual instinct will always thrive.
Even today in India and Morocco, brides traditionally have their hands and feet painted in henna, and Indian women. Hindu women and men wear their marking and symbols on their foreheads. The small red dot, worm by women, is called bindi and represents the social status of a married woman.
BODY PAINTING AS A FORM OF FINE ART
Body painting doesn't always involve painting large pieces of a nude body; the art form also includes smaller pieces on otherwise clothed bodies. The model may be a "stand alone" canvas for the artist, or may be part of a more complex juxtaposition of model (or models) and background. Perhaps that is why body painting is considered, by some, as one of the performing arts.
However, Lorenzo Pereira cautions that “Body painting art is a form of body art. Indeed, body painting art is usually associated with tattoo art. However, tattoo art and bodypainting are not synonyms. There are some substantial differences that should be mentioned. First of all, body painting art is temporary and it lasts only for several hours (unlike tattoos). Secondly, there are many examples of bodypainting that are considered to be a part of fine art. In the second half of the 20th Century, many artists searched for new visual forms that eventually led to the revival of the ancient practice of bodypainting.” https://www.widewalls.ch/body-painting-art/
The classification of body painting as a contemporary art is inappropriate because body painting has a long history and is better described as tribal art. Yet take a look at the next photo of the body painting by Liu Bolin, below. It doesn’t even come close to what I, as a non-artist, would call tribal art.
Liu Bolin near the Ground Zero (courtesy of telegraph.co.uk)
Photo source: https://www.widewalls.ch/body-painting-art/
Since the 1980's, body painting has become widely accepted in the US. Still, the art form didn't catch on with the general public until the Vanity Fair magazine cover of August 1992, featuring actress Demi Moore in a striking outfit created entirely from body paint [source: History of Cosmetics].
Now, There are publications dedicated to it, festivals, and competitions around the world. The first art gallery dedicated to body painting as a fine art opened in 2006 in New Orleans. But still today, there is an ongoing debate whether or not body painting is a form of Fine Art. You'll have to make up your own mind.
This is the artist who got me interested in this form of art six year ago. Choo-San (Hijaru Cho) was born in 1993 and lived at that time in Tokyo Japan. She take "UNUSUAL" as a theme of her creative Art work such as Body painting, stopmotion movie, illustration, clay sculpture, clothing design, Character design, and all sorts. Also do collaboration with several cloth brands. In 2016 she was a student in Musashino Art university.
Using only acrylic paints and no digital editing, her illusions are only paint carefully applied to herself of her willing friends. The awesome and realistic results definitely draw attention. It's said she discovered her unique talent after doodling eyes on the back of her own hand during breaks from studying for university admission exams.
ARTIST TRACY CRAIG
Fine art bodypainter Tracy Craig became nationally known as one of three judges of Game Show Network's Skin Wars. He is the owner of the Craig Tracy Fine Art Bodypainting Gallery.
He became a professional artist 16, and he had worked as an airbrush artist in a shopping mall and as a commercial illustrator. He is from New Orleans, Louisiana and went to high school in the state before attending The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. His brother Phil is the director.
The top three photos are from the Tiger Project, which Tracy created to help save the endangered South China tiger.
Photo Source: http://www.boredpanda.com/body-art-illusions-by-craig-tracy/ Photo Source: https://allthatsinteresting.com/body-art
ARTIST GESINE MARDEDEL
Gersine Mardele was born on July 4, 1987 in Eckernförde, Germany and raised in Dortmund.
After finishing school 2005, worked in an indian orphanage for some months, then studied "rehabilitation science" from 2005 to 2008 and finished with the Bachelor’s Degree.
From 2009-2016 she worked as a speech- therapist and, in addition, continued to study creative-therapy, receiving a diploms in 2011.
Through her work as a therapist, she got into working as an art creative-therapist at a center for autism therapy. Since the middle of 2016 she has been working only as a freelance artist. The artist says, “Bodypainting is not only inking on a living canvas; it is the recording of body shapes in the design, painting on and with the body. It is the transformation of a man into a breathing, moving, living work of art.” Her work focuses on landscapes and animals forms.
Swan - Photo Source: Flamingo, Seahorse, and Puzzle Man - Photos source:
Emma Hack is an Adelaide-based artist working in the unique medium of body paint installation and photography. Exhibiting extensively throughout Australia since 1999, Emma’s astounding artworks have since captured the attention of collectors and art lovers worldwide.
Emma started her career as a children's face painter, qualified hairdresser and make-up artist. She gradually moved to body painting of world acclaim. In March 2001, Hack won the coveted first prize at the CIDESCO World Congress Professional World Body Painting Championship in Hong Kong. In 2004, The Adelaide Cabaret Festival utilised Emma's exhibition skills to feature a collection of celebrities painted as their cabaret persona as an exhibition during the festival. In 2005 she collaborated with Deborah Paauwe in her Dark Fables collection, featuring Emma's illustration on the faces of Paauwe's subjects.
Her Wallpaper series in 2005, 2007 and 2008 collections featuring Florence Broadhurst wallpaper designs combined with her body illustration has exhibited during the Adelaide Fringe Festival, along with nude landscapes and a continued collection of Florence Broadhurst wallpapers. It was during this collection that she began photographing the installations herself, evolving her art further. Emma's photographic images were exhibited at Art Sydney 08.
OTHER PROMINENT BODY PAINTING ARTISTS
Cecilia Paredes Bella Volen Johannes Stotter Trina Merry