If you've dreamed of being body painted and want to become a piece of art (and are not a professional model), there are a few options open to you, either Volunteer Modeling or Commissioning a piece of art.
A Commissioned piece is where the client/model hires the artist, is guaranteed to be painted, and has some input in the theme of the design. Please contact me for information about hiring me for a commissioned piece.
Volunteer Modeling is where there is no exchange of money and the model is considered for "roles" in a fine art body paintings. These models need to be fairly fit and have the stamina and personality to happily adhere to the rigors of nude body paint modeling. Having some background in dance, yoga, or modeling tends to be very helpful! Many people want to get body painting, so just because you express a desire doesn't mean that I will have a project for you.
There are a few approaches that I use for body painting: a fluid setting, a fixed pose, or a camouflage painting. A fluid setting is where we do a complete body painting from head to toe and do a photo shoot where the model tries out different poses and the feeling of the piece leads us to find different poses and different angles which compliment the design. In fixed pose paintings we will do a pre-painting meeting where we will go through some poses, taking photos along the way, until we find a few that are attractive and inspired, and then we will meet on another day to do the actual painting and photography. A camouflage body painting is where I find an interesting background and paint the model to disappear into that background. Camouflage pieces are done at the location of the background and require the model to retain the same position for an extended period of time, but the effects are worth the effort!
It is fun to come up with poses! But, it can be harder than you think. I usually have some ideas for some poses to give you guidance but I really love working with models who have lots of ideas and know how to move from pose to pose. Do a little homework before we get together, look at high fashion modeling, photographs of dancers, and at nude photography. I find a lot of pose inspiration on Pinterest. Usually there will be a "feeling" to the painting: warrior-like, regal, tribal, soft, innocent, etc, try to channel whatever the character of the art is through your poses. When you find some good pictures that you like, try running through them in the mirror, that will help you remember them when the time comes.
I have always felt that the naked body is a thing of beauty and elegance and I try to keep that aesthetic in my art. I paint art on bodies, I don't just paint naked people, there is an important difference. The art that I make is not meant to be erotic art or shock art but rather a celebration of the human form. All of my models need to be willing to be painted completely nude. If the artwork has panty lines, or underwear seams, or nipple shield spheres that tends to be all people notice, they are looking for the coverings, without those lines that break up the design the art is what becomes the focus. Because I don't want my work to be considered erotic art I tend to design my pieces so that the focus is not on those areas, and they seem to disappear into the lines and shapes of the design. Being nude does take a few minutes to get used to, but once you have a little paint on you it will feel like you're covered, and you will begin to relax and feel comfortable almost immediately. I have painted models who have gone out into the streets wearing neck to toe body paint, a g string, and shoes only to have people compliment her on her "outfit"!
Actually, many people find body paint modeling addicting! There is nothing quite like wearing a work of art and nothing else, being naked yet actually cloaked in color and design. Many models enjoy going out to clubs in their body paint because the accolades and photo requests and paparazzi-like attention is thrilling. And somehow, women who tend to be a bit shy will find themselves suddenly feeling bold and powerful once they are painted.
There are a few exceptions to the totally nude rule: if I'm painting in a public place then you will need a nude, microfiber thong or I will supply a discreet stringless g-string covering and the locale may require nipple covers, if we are in a group setting or doing an outside camouflage painting we will use some sort of panty/thong/stringless cover.
I only use the highest quality, professional grade body paints. They are highly pigmented make ups, the same products used for shows like "Cats" and by companies like Cirque du Soleil. There are a lot of urban myths out there about models and actors who have died once their skin was suffocated when covered in paint.... these are myths and cannot happen with the products I use.
In preparation for your day of painting there are some things to keep in mind to make your modeling day go smoothly. You will be most likely standing, standing relatively still, for several hours, and this is very hard on most people physically. Many models have fainting spells which can be dangerous. While modeling you need to remember not to lock your knees, locked knees can lead to lightheadedness and a fainting spell in less than 30 minutes, and I'll need you around for lots longer than that! It is a good idea to get a good night's sleep before your day of modeling, make sure you eat a decent breakfast (avoid high sugar foods and white carbs), and you want to be well hydrated from the day before. It's a good idea to bring some things to snack on just in case, fruit, healthy crackers and cheese, pb&j perhaps. We will get to a point in the painting where there won't be a good time for a potty break, I will make sure to let you know, but sipping on water throughout the day is much better than chugging lots of it in short time frames.
You'll want to make sure that you are well shaved, everywhere. If you have a light covering of hair on your arms that isn't a problem, but legs, and pits and "lady parts" need to be shaved. (For male models you will need to remove all body hair, a depilatory cream like Nair tends to be the easiest approach). It is best if your skin is not lotioned or oiled, stop applying lotions to your skin the day before our paint session.
What to bring along:
Even when the temperature is warm body painting can be a cold business. Your lack of movement will most likely make you feel cold even on a warm day, so it's good to bring along some things to help with that. The paint itself acts a bit like a layer on top of your skin, but it goes on wet and that tends to be chilling too. I recommend bringing along a warm pair of socks, a pair of gloves, and a silky robe. A silky robe is best because it will be less likely to mess up the paint if you need to cover up to go the restroom or move around for a bit. You should also bring some sandals with a foam-like bottom, many flip-flop brands have a spongy foamy bottom, this makes the standing around a little more comfortable. Wear loose and comfortable clothes that are easy to take on and off and that you won't mind getting a little paint on when you put them on to leave (however, any paint that rubs off should come out fairly easily in the wash).
We will talk about what, if any, shoes or footwear you will need for the shoot but generally a collection of heeled shoes in black and neutral are a good bet. We will also discuss what you should do with your hair, but it's always a good idea to bring along some hairspray, elastics, and bobby pins.
Lastly, when it is time for you to go you will want to make sure you have something to put over your car seat to protect it from any paint that may rub off. And if you're going to head out on the town to show off your body painting you may want a little something to throw on that shows off your body painting. Usually models opt for small and sexy, in most other places the law is "an opaque covering on nipples" and the paint qualifies, so merely a g-string and body paint is sufficient to make you "street ready"!
How to get it off:
The body paint I use is water-based and will turn back into paint when you get in the shower and it will wash right down the drain. One trick that makes it a little easier is to use a liquid soap or shampoo and rub it into the paint until it has all dissolved and "grayed out", THEN get into the water and it will all rinse right away. I would recommend using the help of a dark colored wash cloth to help it along. You may want to use a dark towel as well, just in case you missed a spot! (You may want to enlist a friend or roomie who can help you with your back.) The paint will not stain your tub or shower, but if you have existing soap scum in there the paint will stick to that, making it look dirty, so if your shower is clean to begin with the easier it will clean up afterwards.
Here is a list of rules for a great photo shoot that I usurped from a photographer, and adapted to fit for body paint modeling, it's really good advice:
1. Be Ready - Make sure your hair is clean, you are shaved (everywhere that needs to be shaved) and you've laid off the lotions for the day. Double check how long it will take you to get to the location, set up your GPS the night before so you can see how long to allow for the drive, and then add time for traffic.
2. Be Prepared - Pack your things the night before. Get your robe, socks, comfy shoes, and fancy shoes, accessories and props, lay them out so you won't forget them. Remember to bring your grooming items, tweezers, hairbrush, comb, hair clips and pins, toothbrush, floss and anything you need to be ready for your close-up.
3. Be Rested - Get plenty of sleep the night before the shoot. Please no late nighters or all-nighters the night before!
4. Be Nourished - Eat something. It is important that you have energy for the shoot. This is SO important! Stop by Jamba Juice or Starbucks if you're in a hurry and forgot to eat something before departing. I don't want you to pass out while we shoot. If and only if you make a stop, call ahead to see if I want anything.
5. Be Relaxed - Don't worry. Everything is going to be fine. If it makes you more comfortable to bring someone, bring him or her. Just let me know ahead of time, and make sure it isn't someone who will distract you or be uncomfortable that you're getting painted naked.
6. Be On Time - Enough said. Call if you are running late. Body painting takes a LONG time, and I usually have only enough time to get the painting done, if you're late you're cutting into the time I have to complete the job.
7. Be Professional - Treat the people you are working with respect and all courtesies they deserve, as you like to be treated. And, of course, you should be sober. No excessive cell usage or text messaging, I can't paint you while you're holding your phone and constant buzzing of phone calls or messages is distracting. Please be prepared to put your phone on do not disturb until we have a break. But, feel free to bring earbuds and listen to music or podcasts if you'd like.... as long as you can do it without dancing!
8. Be Yourself - Have fun. Leave all negativity behind. Together we will make a beautiful piece of art!