with a Celebrity Professional, Mark Greenawalt.
"Lip Stick vs. Liquid Latex?"
Now when we
think of a make-up artist, the first thing that would come to mind when it
comes to materials, would probably be lipstick, foundation and eyeliner,
right? For the most part those are the basic tools a make-up artist may use
when dealing with models, actors/actresses, etc... Then again, it also
depends on what is needed to be done. In the movies, make-up artist are
there to do touch-ups and maybe even special effects. One good example of
that would probably be Michael Jackson’s music video for Thriller.
There were many examples of special effects in the make-up done in that
video. When it comes down to it, a make-up artist is there to make over,
cover up, enhance and even hide a person’s facial features. They are there
to make you look your best for the camera. It’s an art form. Although, there
is another art form and another type of make-up artist that people aren’t
too familiar with. It takes us way beyond the lipstick, eye shadow, and
foundation. This art form is what we call, Body Painting.
Greenawalt of FutureClassx.com, shares with us, what it’s like to be a body
painter. Though we all know the obvious differences, He let’s us know what
the major differences are between a body painter and a make-up artists.
Let’s see what he has to say…
Stepping into the
body painting (makeup artist) field…
What made you decided to go into the body art field?
Well I must admit that there are the obvious reasons. Who wouldn't want to
paint beautiful nude models? But on a professional level there is a lot
more to it than that. I had reached a point in my career where I felt like
I had plateau'ed as an artist on canvas and paper and I had become very
interested in photography. The body art field was an opportunity to take
these two passions and combine them into one art form that isn't very
saturated at the moment. The true turning point for me was when I saw the
painted-on swimsuits in Sports Illustrated in 1998 and I knew that that was
a field that I wanted to be a part of. It seemed very intriguing to me to
have my evanescent artwork on display on a live model, but only for a brief
period of time before being washed off. Of course, the pictures capture the
moment, but the original painting has become extinct. The initial
fascination with what it would be like to paint on a nude model's skin was a
driving force to getting started, but the real glory seemed to be the
reactions of people who couldn't believe that they were looking at a model
wearing nothing but paint. That is the main reason that I was completely
drawn into this field; people reacted very emotionally to my work, to a
much greater degree than they had for my canvas works or photography.
What do you enjoy most about your job, and what do you enjoy least about it?
The shock value of the final images is what I enjoy the most. I once heard
an analogy about how graceful a swan looks as it glides over the mirror-like
water, but underwater her legs are kicking at a feverish pace to keep her
moving. Similarly the process of body painting is strenuous at times and
completely un-glamorous, but the final photographs make it all worthwhile
when the model becomes art. The models sit, stand, lay, and crouch
throughout this lengthy application of paint, then they are subjected to the
full-fledged photo shoot. Try as they might, it's hard to keep their
spirits from becoming dampened hours into the project, but their eyes light
up when they see the fruits of their labor. Another saying that I like is
the one about a bad day fishing still beats a good day at work. I'd have to
tell you that all the things that I have come up with what that I don't
particularly like about body art, none of them are really that bad. There
are some unforeseen things like a clogged up air-brush, latex paint that
sticks to itself instead of the skin, and paint drips that come to mind.
Coordinating a location, a model, a photographer, a make-up artist, an idea,
and a timeframe is always challenging, but I mostly enjoy that too.
Do you ever get frustrated or run out of ideas?
have a backlog of ideas so the frustration hasn't been from running out of
ideas. My frustration lies more so in the fact that there are so many ideas
and so little time to work on my craft. There are sometimes long droughts
where there just isn't time to do projects or the right models aren't
available and it seems like there is little progress in my portfolio. That
is frustrating. Ideas are not a problem at this point in my career.
Do you have a certain style you use? Or do you come up with ideas while you
do the work?
Body painting is an unbridled genre and I don't feel any limitations to
style in my works. Many painters on canvas are renown for the genre they
work in whether it is southwestern, sci-fi, or flowers. I feel that my
genre is mostly defined by the fact that I paint on living canvases. Some
of my paintings are southwestern, some are sci-fi, and some are flowers, but
they are all painted on gorgeous models. I also don't limit myself to one
painting style. For some projects I use airbrushed body paints that give a
smooth transition of colors and in other projects I use sponged-on liquid
latex that gives the appearance of shiny rubber or leather. Even within a
project I combine those techniques with hand painting with brushes, gluing
on body jewelry, and even splattering paint from a tooth brush. I
incorporate many of the techniques that I have learned in my formal art
training and apply them to skin for very interesting results. Much of the
process that I go through is rehearsed in my mind prior to the day of the
project, but ironically many of the ideas and techniques are improvised and
invented during the body painting session. I don't close my mind to
experimenting and I therefore do not limit my style.
Do you feel lucky being able to work with beautiful women everyday? How has
that changed your life, or your career path?
Yes, I feel very lucky to be able to work with some of the elite models in
the industry. For my first couple of body paintings on friends of mine, I
felt lucky to even have the opportunity to explore a new level of my
artistic expression. With those images in hand, I was able to create a
portfolio that was my ticket to working with models and celebrities that I
most likely wouldn't have been able to capture the attention of otherwise.
I have considered myself to be an artist since I was in middle school and to
date, I only have a handful of drawings and paintings that I have
completed. On the other hand, I have completed well over 100 body paintings
in the past four years. I attribute a lot of my success to these beautiful
women who are much more than two-dimensional canvases. Their curves help to
"sell" the image. In fact, I honestly believe that although my art is
getting a fair share of the attention of beholder, the more critical parts
of the overall image are the model's photogenic and the photographer's
ability to capture them. I feel very fortunate to have worked with some
awesome talent in the modeling and photography world that have made my work
shine more that it would have otherwise.
working with body make up…
How many hours (average) do you spend putting on body paint?
Typically a body painting is a 2 hour event. Some have gone as quickly as
30 minutes and the longest ones have taken 5 hours. It really depends on
what I am painting, how prepared I am, how patient the model is, and how
long I can keep Murphy's Law at bay. Some of the quickest body paintings
are simply airbrushed tops to look like real clothing and my longest body
paintings have been the playing card queens. All four (spades, hearts,
diamonds, and clubs) took 5 hours each to complete. The toughest thing is
usually meeting a timeframe deadline when a model has to either go on-stage
to perform or the shoot has a deadline of catching sunlight for outdoor
photography. I reach a point where I have to "quit" whether I really feel
like I am done or not.
Are the people you work with generally comfortable, or at times do they seem
self-conscious? How do you deal with that?
models have run the gambit from being completely comfortable in their skin
to being astoundingly inhibited. I have had models have their clothes torn
off before I have even opened a bottle of paint and I have had models that
have had to tape up their breasts when I am only painting their backs. In
general, I would say that a majority of the models fall somewhere in the
middle. It is interesting to note that even I am a little uncomfortable at
the beginning of a session when I have to tell them that it is time for them
to disrobe and I can sense that they are slightly apprehensive. Some twenty
minutes into the process though, everyone has gotten over it and any
feelings of embarrassment or self-consciousness have been replaced with
fatigue, boredom, and anxiousness to get the painting done. It is my job to
make the model feel comfortable at the beginning, but once I am working,
they typically realize that it's not a sexual thing, it's not an erotic
thing, and it's definitely not a glamorous thing. I do use humor (sometimes
really bad humor) to lighten the mood most of the time and I am also very
descriptive of what I am doing and what steps are coming up.
What type of paint do you use, and how long do they generally stay on for?
have used many different types of paints and each has it's positives and
negatives. The paints that I have used the most are the Totally Tattoo
brand made by Badger Airbrush. Their original formula was water based, but
required alcohol to remove. This paint will generally stay on for 8 hours
if airbrushed and 4 hours if brushed on with a hand brush. The colors are
awesome and the coverage is wonderful, but the drawbacks are that the
original formula had a tendency to eventually crack where the paint was
applied thick and the other major issue was that the paints were not
intended to be used on faces. Another type of paint that I have been very
pleased with is the alcohol based paints from Temptu and Reel Creations.
These paints last even longer and also look great on skin, but I haven't had
any luck painting them on with a hand brush. They are meant for airbrush
application. I have used Ben-Nye and Mehron liquid make-ups for nearly all
of my face painting projects. These liquid make-ups are about the only
things that I trust to paint on faces with. I'm even a little more careful
when I am painting on pregnant bellies and I will only use the children's
face paints available at Walmart for these projects. One last body paint
that I keep in my arsenal is liquid latex. I think that it is absolutely
horrible to work with compared to all other types of paints, but it sure
does give a great look for certain projects, especially painted on leather.
Is body painting completely different from regular face make up? Or is it
the same concept? (Foundation, moisturizer..)
Body painting is a whole other world than face make-up. I am enamored by
the make-up artists that I work with on projects and wish that I could be
good at what they do and conversely they see my work and wish they could be
doing some body painting too. The blending of colors to match a models
natural skin tones is essential in glamour make-up, but it is rarely even
considered in body paintings. Although people like Kevin Accoin have taken
face make-up to new levels, there is still a limitation to what you can do
within the parameter of eyes, lips, and cheekbones. With body painting, the
limits are endless.
How do you come up with all your ideas?
do a lot of brainstorming. Sometimes I am given a loose theme for a project
then I let the wheels start spinning. Eventually, the ideas miracle out of
nowhere. There are genres that I enjoyed as an adolescent that I have
incorporated into my portfolio such as science fiction characters and super
heroes. There are ideas that are borrowed from other renowned body painters
such as the painted on swimsuits from Sports Illustrated and the painted on
lingerie from the Playboy Mansion. Some of my ideas are inspired by the look
of the model that I will be painting, some by the location of the photo
shoot, and some are completely inspired by whatever the people paying me
want to see painted. Even though I am drawing from a world of references,
I'd like to think that many of my ideas come from my own creativity.
Luckily most of these ideas have been well received by my audiences.
When doing body painting, does the person have to stand up the entire time
if doing a full body makeover?
Most projects do require the model to stand for the entire process.
Especially when painting with liquid latex and then they can't even let
their limbs rest on their torso. Of course, there are a handful of back
paintings that I have done where the model was able to straddle a chair
while being painted. In addition there are examples of front torso
paintings that I have done where the model was able to lean on a bar stool
while I painted them. For the playing card paintings, the model was able to
lay down for almost the entire project, which is a good thing since they
lasted 5 hours. One model stated that the painting process was very
stimulating, but also felt similar to getting a spa treatment. There were
moments of her session where she felt like she could have easily dozed off
for a spell.
Have you had the chance to work with any celebrities, if so… who, and what
type of make up did you do for them?
was involved with the preproduction work for a movie called the Villikon
Chronicles which starred Cheyenne Silver. Cheyenne is an actress who got
her start in the adult film industry, became a Penthouse Pet, and is now
working on mainstream movies including the recently released film with James
Woods. The body painting that I did with Cheyenne was part of her sci-fi
warrior outfit that incorporated black armor. In other scenes, her face was
painted with a red base and a black tribal design. I have also painted a
Christmas lingerie motif on the professional wrestler Melina Perez, a
devil's outfit on Playboy playmate Lucia Tovar, and a southwestern design on
former Miss Arizona, Heather Keckler. I also painted the words "pride" and
"lust" on Razor Magazine publisher Richard J. Botto for a promotional
party. I've done two sessions with actress Myla Leigh Chenoa. I have several other celebrities interested in doing bodypainting sessions so I
may be adding a few other well known names to the mix soon.
What types of area usually call for body painting? (Movies, music videos,
commercials, ad's) Did you get the chance to work for those areas?
the Phoenix area, most of my work has been for promotional events where
nightclubs or beverage distributors are having models painted to dance. I
have recently worked for Cutty Black and Bombay Sapphire. My work has
appeared in print ads in ART news Magazine, Razor Magazine, and Playtime
magazine. Another area that is strong is the art gallery districts in
Phoenix and Scottsdale that play host to my live body painting
demonstrations and I have been very active in the science-fiction and
fantasy conventions that make their way through town. Unfortunately there
is not the strong movie industry here in town, but I am a one-hour flight
from LA. In addition to these paid gigs, I am also trying to carve out a
niche as an artist in my own right. I set up body painting sessions and
collaborate with some of the local talent to produce art for art's sake. Of
course, we always take pictures in case art for art's sake pays off one fine
Being a body painter ..
What are the pro and cons about being a body painter?
There is a fair amount of controversy related to being a body painter. It
can border on being edgy and erotic, which is good for one segment of the
population and completely unacceptable to another segment. A magazine like
Playboy celebrates the work of a body painter whereas 95% of the rest of the
magazines out there may find it too risqué to include for their readers.
Because of this issue, one of the cons of being a body painter is that I
have to be somewhat secretive about my artwork in certain circles. There is
a blurred line between art and pornography and unfortunately this line is
drawn differently for everyone. One of the pros of being a body painter
would have to be that it is a very unsaturated market and I have been able
to rise out of animosity much quicker than I would have in other
mediums. I realize that body painting has been around much longer than I've
been alive, but I sometimes feel like I am part of a pioneering effort in a
new form of expression. To the average person on the street, they are aware
of body painting and have seen some of the images in magazines and e-mails,
but they could not name a single "famous" body painter, nor could they tell
you where to go to get this done. It's a fledgling profession and I feel
fortunate to be at the forefront of what I hope will become a worldwide
Does being a body painter require a lot of patience?
Patience is a virtue, so they say. It is no different in the world of body
painting. It takes time to build up a portfolio. It takes time to contact
the right models. It takes time to complete the painting and it takes time
to get your work viewed by the minions. It's easy to get frustrated and
feel like it's not progressing as quickly as it should. Patience has helped
me realize that I am making progress every step of the way and patience has
landed some very cool corporate projects. Getting my work featured in a
magazine was an early goal of mine and I eventually made some contacts and
was interviewed for an article. I was amazed at how long of a process that
is to go from knowing that your going to be in an upcoming issue and then
finally seeing the magazine in print. The patience pays off though and
another goal is achieved. The next goal was a more renown magazine and then
a magazine cover. Patience still has me hanging in there to one day have
Mark Greenawalt be a household name that is known as "that guy that does the
body painting". I would say that without patience, a prospective body
artist will give up after one of their long term goals isn't realized early.
Is body painting as difficult as it looks?
I'm surprised at the phrasing of this question. I'm more often answering
the question, "Is body painting as easy as it looks?" Body painting can be
a little more physically taxing than it may appear since I am sitting,
standing, crouching, stretching, and holding strange stances for extensive
time periods. The next day I am nearly always stiff and feel like I started
working out at a gym for the first time. Besides the physical aspects,
there are some specific items that probably look easy to most people, but
are instead very challenging. Drawing a strait line on a canvas is easy and
no matter how you angle the canvas, your eye perceives a strait line.
Drawing a strait line on a curvy body on the other hand will only look like
a strait line from one angle. Inevitably the angle that the photographer
has chosen to shoot the model will not be the angle that you were standing
when you drew the strait line and it is now clearly a curve. I was also
taught a lesson on a project where I drew perfectly symmetric circles on a
model's back and then when I asked her to raise her arms, all of my circles
became ovals. It's a tricky canvas to work on and I've learned a lot of
things by trial and error. I personally don't consider body painting
difficult, but some of that is because there is no required out come when
you are creating art. Even my asymmetric ovals were acceptable in the long
run since the viewer's mind has a way of interpreting the images as they
wrap around a model. I welcome competition and challenge anyone who thinks
it looks easy to give it a go. Anyone who thinks it looks difficult,
conversely is probably better prepared to face the challenges and trudge
forward as a body painter.
Is this an easy task job? Would you recommend this job to others?
Anyone who has an interest in trying body painting I would surely recommend
giving it a whirl. Is it easy task job? No. The difficulty of the actual
painting isn't significantly different, but all of the factors surrounding
it make it very challenging to keep producing. Scheduling times, booking
models, finding locations, and brainstorming ideas are all very critical
elements that need to be worked out prior to putting paint to flesh. I have
found that once a painting is complete, the process is not. The photo
shoot, the photofinishing, the scanning/printing/uploading/e-mailing of
images are also critical elements for my marketing efforts. I do enjoy all
of the steps in taking a project from conception, through the body painting
session, and then sharing the images on my world-wide website. Is it easy?
No, but if it were, I think that I would have a lot more competitors out
there. If it were as easy as opening a jar of paint and telling a
supermodel to disrobe while you painted her naked body, I think the line of
single men volunteering would extend for miles on end. On the other hand,
for someone with an artistic flair and a well-rounded desire and ability to
create and market, I highly recommend body painting as a rewarding and