Category: News

Check out the link to see this morning’s My FOX LA segment on our upcoming live body painting competition!

Follow this link to watch the full video.

“The Chase” by Filippo Ioco

Body Fine Art Competition Debuts in Los Angeles

May 13, 2015 by Cori Stoddard
Art will come alive Saturday, May 16 when the Body Fine Art Competition debuts at The Springs restaurant in Los Angeles.
This body-painting competition will feature 20 international make-up artists competing for a $5,000 grand prize and various sponsor donations.
This is the first time a body-painting event of this size has been staged on the West Coast. Nicolette Spear, a body painter and the festival curator, said she created the competition to bring together performance artists, body painters and body-painting enthusiasts.
The festival’s judges are well known in the industry: World Bodypainting Festival CEO and Founder Alex Barendregt, body painter Filippo Ioco and body painter and Skin Wars judge Craig Tracy.
Tracy, a world-champion body painter and longtime WBF judge, said he finds it refreshing that this competition is focusing on fine art.
“It’s just the idea that the more competition exposures and connections that body-painting artists have, the better the fine art body-painting movement. … Not women as leopards or in bustiers. We’re looking for something that’s more mature in its aesthetic,” said Tracy.
Competing international body painters include David Gilmore, whose clients include Mariah Carey, M.A.C. Cosmetics and AT&T; Johannes Stötter, a multiple award winner and WBF educator; and Cheryl Ann Lipstreu, a 2013 grand prize winner at Living Art America: The North American Bodypainting Championship.
“The chance to see so much art in one night is a chance of a lifetime when this many talented people come together,” said Lipstreu via email. “To win a grand prize of this magnitude would enable me to attend the World Bodypainting Festival in Austria, as well as an European body-painting tour.”
The theme for the Body Fine Art Competition is The Sacred Body. According to Spear, judging criteria will include creativity, technique, composition and relevancy to the theme. Judge Tracy hopes to see something that hasn’t been done before and really shines.

“The goal always is to see quality work that is fresh because I’ve judged literally thousands of body paintings,” he said.

Venue doors open at 4 p.m. for VIP ticket holders and 7 p.m. for general admission ticket holders; artists begin painting earlier in the day. Judging will begin at 8:30 p.m. and stage presentations at 9:30 p.m. The show will feature hosts and burlesque artists the Boulet Brothers, a competition catwalk, dance group Bijoulette and live music from Robbie Fitzsimmons. (The Body Fine Art Competition follows the WBF presentation style of using dancers and performance artists as models for the contestants.)
Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place. The second-place winner will receive $2,000 in make-up supplies from Jest Paint, Wolfe Face Art & FX and Kryolan Professional Make-up; the third-place winner will receive a donated airbrush from Grex. European Body Art is donating all the airbrush make-up for the competition, and Skin City and MEL Products are also sponsoring.
“I’m so excited to see old friends, new friends and be reunited with some of the most eclectic people I’ve ever had the honor of knowing,” said Lipstreu.
Visit for more details on the competition and to purchase tickets.

“Speed” is a body painting by Craig Tracy, who will be one of the judges for the Body Fine Art Competition at The Springs in Los Angeles May 16.

First ever Body Fine Art Competition features humans as canvas in Los Angeles

By Michelle Mills, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
POSTED: 05/13/15
Long Beach resident David Gilmore is painting when he answers the phone. An artist, he has created murals for clients like Mariah Carey, Beyonce and the Discovery Science Center, among many others.
Today, he is simply refreshing a room in his home, but his mind is on a more intriguing art form: body painting.
“There are so many people body painting now that some of it starts to look the same,” Gilmore said. “What I hope distinguishes mine is that I translate my own artwork onto a body and I don’t believe that my own personal artwork that’s on canvas or on walls looks like other people’s work, so I try to keep a seamless integration of that.”
Gilmore will be showing off his talents at the first ever Body Fine Art Competition, at The Springs in Los Angeles on Saturday. Artists, like Dewayne Flowers, Cheryl Ann Lipstreau and Wiser Oner, will create their entries on-site with photographers documenting their work. There will be a panel of judges critiquing the pieces as well as music, dance performances and more.
The event was created by Nicolette Spear of Venice Beach. She is a painter and sculptor and did the body painting for Z LaLa’s music video “Sweet Dreams.”
“Most of the body painters that I know started out painting on a canvas and then moved to body painting through fascination with the human figure or just being exposed to it in some way,” said Spear, who started body painting three years ago when she answered a Craigslist ad by a man who was seeking someone to paint the human muscular system on his body for his Halloween costume. It took her eight hours; by the time she finished, she was hooked.
“For those that think that body painting might be racy, it is the human figure and I think there’s something inherently beautiful and fascinating about the human figure. Body painting is one of the oldest art forms to have existed. And artists have been fascinated by the human figure for as long as we can remember.”
Spear became interested in body painting competitions, such as the one held during the World Body Painting Festival in the Carinthia region of Austria. She researched to see if there were any similar events locally, but was unable to find anything. So she contacted the World Body Painting Association, which was happy to help her start one.
An open call for artists was launched and the judges looked over the images submitted, selecting the finalists who will compete. During the event, the artists’ work will be judged with a focus on technique and concept.
“Having a really solid concept that’s interesting and different is super important, equally important as technique,” Spear said. “The biggest challenge with body painting is that your canvas is live, so it’s living, breathing and has needs; it needs to eat and use the bathroom.”
The alcohol-based paint used by airbrush artists lasts best on the human body, Gilmore said, as brush paints are usually water-activated and will liquefy when the model perspires. To combat this, artists use “spot applications” of alcohol or fixatives to keep their designs in place.
Gilmore became enamored with body painting in the late ’80s after seeing the now-iconic 1983 photograph of artist Keith Haring holding a jar of paint and a paintbrush while eyeing his subject, dancer Bill T. Jones, wearing white designs all over his body. Gilmore was fascinated with the idea of “movable” art, as well as the challenge of completing a painting within a set period of time, but it wasn’t until 1996 that he tried it for himself.
Gilmore’s partner was a patient canvas for him as he created his art piece with cheap makeup and greasepaint. The end results were pleasing, but lacking a good camera or computer, the artist was at a standstill so he didn’t try it again for 13 years. His next attempt was so successful that he has gone on to work on projects with MAC Cosmetics and has been profiled in several magazines.
“The body painting, when I started it six years ago, I figured it was going to be something quiet and on the side and maybe one day I would put out a book, but it started quickly,” Gilmore said. “The only regret I have in my life is that I shelved it 19 years ago. I should have kept going with it. But these things happen.”
Unlike Gilmore’s first experience with the medium, there will be professional photographers capturing the artists’ creations during the Body Fine Art Competition.
There also will be prints featuring the work of the artists and photographers at the competition for purchase. Obviously the images will not include the pieces created during the event, but fans can relive the fun later through photographs from the show that will be on exhibit at Exact Science Gallery in Los Angeles from June 5 to July 5.
“Body painting is a temporary art form,” Spear said. “It’s like a sand mandala; you spend all this time creating this image and then it goes down the drain with the shower water, so the photography is a real intrinsic part of it.”




Body Painting is L.A.'s Hottest Art Form – A Living, Sensuous Canvas in Time-Lapse from Voice Media Group on Vimeo.

“Being body painted helps you get more comfortable in your own skin,” says model Adriana Widmann, 22, seen in the video above. She is standing topless in a sunny Mar Vista living room on a Monday afternoon.
“Even though it’s not your own skin,” says Nicolette Spear, the artist painting her.
Spear, 30, founder of Body Fine Art, met Widmann, a trained ballerina, at Burning Man, where the two both performed as fire dancers. They were drawn to body painting for its focus on the physical — the communion of art and flesh.
The superbowl of body painting, the World Body Painting Festival, takes place yearly in Carinthia, Austria, and has been steadily growing since 1998. This Saturday, Body Fine Art, the West Coast’s answer to the WBPF, will take place at the Springs in the Downtown Arts District. Twenty artists from around the world will compete for a $5,000 prize. The theme of the competition is Sacred Body, referencing the importance of our earthly vessels and the spiritual energy that runs through them.
Just because the theme is a spiritual one does not mean the artists aren’t competitive.
“It’s funny to be competing in an artistic realm because it’s so subjective and, not to sound cliché, but it’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase what we do,” says Gilmore. “Still, people go there to compete, that’s for sure. The body painting community is supportive, but people definitely want to win.”
Body painter Nicolette Spear covers model Adriana Widmann
Shannon Cottrell
In a city of many subcultures, body painting still manages to be unique. It’s a mash-up of many established art worlds — fine art, makeup, performance, dance, high fashion — and its proponents come from all of those fields. Yet in the past it has been dismissed as a novelty, or as too overtly sexual to be taken seriously.
“There is an aspect of hedonism to it, and sometimes that can go off into fringe,” says David Gilmore. Gilmore is a well-known illustrator who painted the ceiling of Mariah Carey’s bedroom. He is featured on the Game Show Network’s body painting show Skin Wars.
“I try to stick into the fine art application of it,” says Gilmore. “Something you would see in a gallery or a coffee table book. It’s all about the presentation.”
As Gilmore struggles to corral body painting into the realm of fine art, its popularity at Burning Man and its many spin-offs has placed it en vogue. As an ancient, physical craft, it is, like many Burning Man spin-offs, a reaction to our digitally saturated society.
Shannon Cottrell
From geeks to sports fans, everyone is using body paint. Prominent body painters have recently been responsible for Gotye’s famous video for “Somebody That I Used to Know,” for the paint-on swimsuits in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, for Beyonce photo spreads and for a human recreation of the Iron Throne from Game of Thrones.
The point that artists like Spear and Gilmore are forwarding is that it is more than a novelty. It may be impermanent, but, like street art, that can be an advantage.
“Body painting is never precious, so you’re more willing to experiment,” says Spear, as she draws squiggles of green on Widmann’s naked butt. “I personally believe you’re illustrating the energetic pathways on the skin. In that way, the model’s spirit or personality is being expressed on the skin, which is in some ways more real than the skin itself.”

Nicolette Spear is an artist and body painter who lives in the LA area. Body Fine Art spoke with her about the upcoming competition, her love for the art form and what inspired her to start BFA.
The Body Fine Art Bodypainting Competition is about more than just body painting. It’s all about collaboration. There are lots of different kinds of artists performing on Saturday, including photographers, DJs and the live artists who are our models.
We’re doing something new in the active way we are spotlighting collaboration and actively engaging collaboration. The photographers working in tandem with the painters is something that’s never been done. Some body painting shows do have performing models, but we want to highlight that collaboration of performance art and body art. Also, many body painters feel that there’s an energy reading that happens between the model and the body painter. Every model brings their own energy to each painting and that is in and of itself a collaboration.
One of the beautiful things about body painting is that it’s like a sand mandala. You spend all these hours painting and then it just gets washed down the drain. It’s temporary. The art exists for only a moment and then it’s gone. And so, photography and videography become a big part of of the collaboration. The capturing of the moment with the model. The sweet spot happens when everyone’s feeling it, the photographer’s in the moment and all of these elements meet in the middle.
The goal of the event is to promote freedom of expression and to get people excited about creating, themselves. We want to inspire others to be collaborative and expressive as well. The freedom of expression is contagious.
I saw a need for something. As a body painter, I looked for events in Southern California and couldn’t find anything. I wanted to provide an arena for the art form in my area.
Tribal and indigenous cultures have been doing body painting for a long time. There are cave paintings which document body painting as far back as 100,000 years. Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher are two National Geographic photographers who’ve written a lot about the history of African body painting.
As a painter and art history major, I was already really interested in the human figure. The idea that you can actually paint on the human figure was new to me, but after the research I realized that body painting is an ancient art form. Once I realized that body painting existed it was an “ah ha” moment for me and I think it’s a similar moment for most body painters. I can paint on the form instead of painting the form.
I love the Beckwith/Fisher book, “Painted Bodies”. What excites me most about their work is the African attitude towards the body. I would love for the western culture to adopt the comfort with the body other cultures have. Whatever part of the body the artist is painting becomes an extension of the artistic expression and there’s no awkwardness around the nakedness.
There’s something healing about finding beauty in one’s body. I think a lot of body painting models experience this freedom of judgement of their body. Being painted helps them to feel love towards their body.

The skin is the boundary that separates the self from the external world. It is the interface between the inner and the outer, the intimate and the infinite… The human form, through the brilliance of inspired artistry becomes a sacred geography of the soul, a map of culture and myth expressed by forms painted, carved, incised, or etched upon the canvas of the body. — Wade Davis (From the introduction to the book “Painted Bodies” by Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher)

Each work is dependent on the model and where I am at that time in my life. I love to illustrate anatomy. When I have a particular vision in mind, I’m very picky about choosing my model because of the collaboration. There’s also a spiritual element to my work that I think is about transformation. I like to have a connection with my model so that I can know what kind of transformation they are having. I couldn’t create the vision without the canvas being a living breathing entity with it’s own wants. Personal transformation is a big theme. My own, and the transformation of the model and what their wants are. And there can be conflicting wants as the body has to eat and breath and go to the bathroom. There become complications, which are part of the process and lead to their own discoveries.
Body painting is having an artistic revival. The revival has occurred first in Europe with the World Body Painting Festival which has over 40k in attendance. It’s become very popular in Europe which makes me think of Picasso with his fascination with African art. Only now is body painting really making its way here in the US. It’s awesome to be at the forefront of the movement here in the US and it’s really exciting to help the art form come to the forefront of the culture. There’s so many different places for the art form to go. We’re seeing it get absorbed into the culture more and more and I’m excited to see where this goes. There’s lots of different ways for it to be expressed in the culture.
You can find out more about Nicolette and see more of her work at her website –

We’ve got a line up of amazing DJs spinning for us at our Mat 16 live bodypainting and photography competition! Check out their Sound Clouds below and get your tickets before they sell out. (Tix will sell out!!!)

Jason Bentley


DJ Wolfie

Jacques the Ripper


Uru Majik

The Boulet Brothers have been pumping out the thickest, most potent dress up and dance parties in Los Angeles for over a decade, and are a drag duo who both perform and MC events worldwide.The couple are set to host Seattle Pride in the summer of 2015, and are featured hosts at RUPAUL’s DRAG CON in May. They have appeared on World of Wonders (Rupaul’s Drag Race) TRANSFORMATIONS with James St James, and opened the 2014 Marco Marco fashion show, and were the MCs & hosts of WASTELAND WEEKEND (2012-2014), VANCOUVER FETISH WEEKEND, and the AVN Awards in Las Vegas 2014.

The Boulet Brothers are available for interviews or to answer questions about the upcoming event – feel free to reach out to them here.

We are honored to say that Body Fine Art is a WBA, World Bodypaint Association event. Back in January, WBA featured us on their event blog. See their full feature below or at this link.
06 JANUARY 2015.
The year is new and fresh and we have many new programs, events and workshops to offer. Two new WBA events are coming up in the next months. The Czech Bodypainting Championships in Prague, Czech Republic on the 18th of April and the Body Fine Art 2015 in Los Angeles, USA May 16th. “Body Fine Art” is a special new event which focuses on live body painting competition as well as a live photography contest.
Find all new WBA EVENTS in our special event section.
All Events including workshops, members events and much more can be found in the calendar.

The new season of Skin Wars has been announced and several of our contestants have been chosen to compete! Congrats to Lana Chromuium, Avi Ram, Rio Sirah, and Cheryl Ann Lipstreu! Tickets to see these world class artists live paint are still available here.

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