Women body art
Body painting, or sometimes bodypainting, is a form of body art. 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.
Modern body painting
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. 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, Rebecca Horn, Youri Messen-Jaschin or Javier Perez. Body painting is not always large pieces on fully nude bodies, but can involve smaller pieces on displayed areas of otherwise clothed bodies. 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’. The effect produced by this technique creates an image-transfer from the model’s body to the medium. This 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.
Fine art body painting
The 1960s supermodel Veruschka is often cited as being many body painters’ muse. Her images in the book Transfigurations with photographer Holger Trulzsch have frequently been emulated. Other well-known works include Serge Diakonoff’s books A Fleur de Peau and Diakonoff and 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. Starting in late 2006 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 Painted Alive Gallery is on Royal Street in the French Quarter.