When it comes to body art, tattoos might be the first thing that comes into your mind. A great thing, body painting will make you like a walking masterpiece without the permanence of tattoos. While traditional body painting is done for rituals and ceremonies, the body art in our modern times paved the way for a more artistic expression. Whether you wish to bathe your skin in abstract patterns or breathtaking scenery, keep on reading for the 50 cool female body painting to express your creativity.
What is Body Painting?
Just like tattoos female body painting is a form of body art. However, body painting is temporary since the designs are only painted on the skin, but it can last for a few weeks depending on the paint used. Have you heard of mehndi or henna tattoos? They are considered as one form of body painting instead of tattoos since they are only temporary. Female body painting can range from face painting to full-body painting.
Do you know that body painting has a rich history? While some men paint their faces to prepare themselves for war, some women painted dots on their forehead as a symbol that they were married. On our modern times, female body painting can be simple or complex, and is dependent on occasions whether it is an art, campaign, festival, political protests, or advertisement.
History and Origin of Female Body Painting
Back in the ancient times, female body painting was used as a form of art, which were proved with archeological evidences. Do you know that ancient people have used natural pigments found in fruits, clay, charcoal, and local plants to create paint? Nowadays, paints used in female body painting are non-toxic, but some still use a liquid latex that can cause heat stroke for some.
History states that body painting is closely related to spirituality, tradition, and culture of the ancient people. In fact, ancient tribes used female body painting in their rituals and ceremonies. Some rituals that needed female body painting includes wedding, rank in the society, rites of passage, wars, and even funerals.
A great thing, ancient traditions influences our modern traditions. For instance, some Indian brides opt for female body painting that they showcase during their wedding ceremonies. Do you know that female body painting became popular in the 1960s when Western artists became more creative in their artistic expressions? In fact, they aimed for unexpected, shocking, and expressive art with female body painting.
In 20th century, female body painting became popular on entertainers, theater actors, and circus performers. Are you familiar with the Coachella and music festivals held every year? Female body painting is also an instrument to channel women’s festive and hippie attitude. If you like, you may just paint your face with flowers or peace symbols that will also give you a bold statement.
Indigenous and Contemporary Female Body Painting
Most tribal cultures opt for female body painting using natural pigments. Think of plants, clay, ask, chalk, and such to paint body designs during cultural ceremonies. If you’re familiar with semi-permanent tattoos that are made from henna leaves, then you’ll have an idea how an ancient female body painting is made. Some even call the female body painting as huito, which is semi-permanent and takes longer time to fade. According to history, female body painting is common in tribal cultures, especially during ceremonies.
In fact, body painting is rooted from one’s personal, social, cultural, and spiritual expression. Do you know that there are even rites of passages that require female body painting? Weddings and funerals are some of the most common celebrations that feature female body painting, but birth of a child and even spiritual rituals are part of them.
More than that, female body painting can signify one’s power, position, and status in the society, along with spiritual protection from evil and revelation of one’s natural beauty. When it comes to Native Americans, female body painting are a big part of culture, tradition, and identity. In fact, some people refer them as the “Red Indians” because they painted their bodies, which serve as a protection for evil.
However, different tribes have their own style of female body painting, and each tribe designate specific designs intended for ritual ceremonies and even war. When it comes to Indian female body painting, Mehndi is their traditional body art. The body painting is done with the help of a henna dye that is used for painting brides’ body before the wedding.
In our modern times, there are lots of festivals and events held to showcase female body painting. However, the debate on female body painting as an art form is not yet over. This is especially true when female body painting is used in political protests. A great thing, female body painting is sometimes showcased at festivals, football matches, and even parties.
Other artistic side of female body painting includes live performances, television commercials and such. In fact, some female body paintings are showcased in different sci-fi films mimicking alien creations and other creatures. There are also some fine art body painting and competition female body painting that allow artists to showcase their skills.
Female Body Painting and Fine Art
Even though this body art is controversial, female body painting has its place in fine art. In fact, there are some models that are deeply appreciated for artist’s body painting and narrative art. A great thing, in the early 1990s, female body painting became more accepted in United States, making bodies a great canvas for art enthusiasts and even photographers.
In fact, there are some body painters who manage to camouflage their models into the background. It is more than a typical provoking and shocking female body painting, as it is also a new form of painting that send messages—thanks to the avant-garde movements of the era. However, a violent movement came up in 20th century when female body painting developed as an action art.
Why Go for Female Body Painting?
Do you know that the way you decorate your body—whether you love getting tattoos, having a full manicure, indulging in whitening treatments, getting a certain haircut and hair color and such—can reveal a lot about you? Back in the ancient times, people used their bodies as a canvas for art that also represent their social standing, past experiences, social identity and such.
Other women go for female body painting because they believe it will give them protection from evil, bless them with fertility and gain connection with spiritual realms. Some also believe in rituals and traditions that make them try the female body painting too. Some rituals are beautiful while some are otherworldly, but they are an essential part of one’s history.
Some cultures use female body painting to narrate their history, spirituality and traditions. In fact, some are proved through historical records and even archeological paintings on cave walls. Just like tattoos, body painting will show one’s thoughts and emotions. No wonder, some modern forms of arts were deeply influenced by ancient traditions and practices.
If you’re into arts, then you’ll see female body painting as a form of expression. Some women even go for drastic expressions to express their individualities, which is more than just a female body painting and tattoos. Think of body piercings and scarification other women use just to justify their self-expression. Female body painting is just temporary, so you don’t have to deal with permanent consequences.
Do you know that female body painting is considered a sub-category of performance art? You may think of acting or theater play when it comes to performance arts, but female body painting is also used to make a statement in performances. If you’re an artist, then you’ll also find female body painting fun, and if you’re an art enthusiast, you’ll find the body art creative and breathtaking.
How Female Body Painting Works?
Unlike the traditional canvas, body is trickier to deal with—not to mention unexpected movements, sweat, and the kind of paint that you’ll use. More than that, female body painting is a tiring process that takes time. As a rule of thumb, prep your skin and keep it hydrated since the paint will surely dry out your skin even more. Also, do not put body creams, body moisturizers, body oils, or even body lotions on your skin, along with tanning products and deodorant that will interfere with your paint.
According to experts, glycerin-based paints are being activated with water. If you’ll put a moisturizer before getting the body paint, the moisture will smear your paint even it gets dry. The same thing applies to wet or damped hair. If you have a dripping hair, then it will surely interfere with your paint, so always come with a dry hair. When it comes to live performances that require moving and dancing, you can use alcohol-based paints that are long lasting, though they are harder to remove.
If you’ll be the model for female body painting, then you have to stay still for hours until the body painting is done. Most of the time, water-based paints will be removed with typical soap and water, but it won’t be able to last longer and withstand sweat and rain. On the other hand, some alcohol-based paints are more long lasting, but will require some alcohol too to be removed, while waterproof paints will require some cleansing oils to be removed.
Expert’s Tips on Female Body Painting
We all know that female body painting is fine art, but it still has different approach than the traditional painting. Do you know that as an artist, you’ll need to consider your model’s body shape? If you will not go for full painting, then you’ll also consider the colors that will flatter the skin or eyes. If you’re working on a theme, make sure you have the right colors to get the similar looking characters. This is not just a freehand project as you’ll need to spend some time planning on your design.
If you’re into makeup, then you’ll have an idea on strobing, contouring, and highlighting to bring out your best features. Do you know that body painting can also do the same thing? If you like, you may even paint a different face on a model’s face just to mimic a certain character. In fact, some female body painting creates optical illusions.
Some even enjoy female body painting because they can bring their favorite characters and even animal spirit into like. If you’re feeling down, think of a tiger or cheetah that looks fierce, or even your favorite super hero that will make you feel confident. Some women even go for temporary body paints with flowers, yin yang symbol, religious symbols and such.
When choosing your paint on your female body painting project, choose for long lasting yet skin safe formulations. If you’re still on doubt on trying out female body painting, think again. Your favorite foundation, mascara, bronzer, blush on, eye shadow, lipstick and other cosmetics can also be considered as a type of body art. Have you noticed that there are also waterproof foundations and even leg makeup?
Female body painting is just a level up of your traditional makeup routine. In fact, there are also long wear foundations that you can use on special occasions, along with color correctors and eye shadow palettes that you can experiment with. Even if there is a specific paint that is used for female body painting, you can experiment with your traditional makeup to have an idea on your designs.
If you’ll go for water based paint, they could not last longer and cannot withstand sweat and water. A great thing, they are non-toxic and non-allergenic, and are easier to manipulate with typical brushes, makeup sponges, and even airbrushes. Water based paints are usually removed with soap and water, but some will require oil based cleansers, makeup removers, coconut oils and such.
When it comes to metallic body paint, pay attention to the ingredients as metallic sheen and strong pigments can cause allergies for some. While airbrush paints are easier to apply, they can be toxic to our lungs. If you want a waterproof or long lasting paint for your female body painting project, go for alcohol based paints.
If one will do live performances or even play role on films and theater, then alcohol based paint is your best choice. Some even use liquid latex on female body painting since it offers full coverage. Some even say that latex body paint is the better alternative of costumes. However, some have latex allergies, so you have to do some patch test before applying the paint to the full body.
If you find the makeup version of body paints more appealing, then go for it. Most of the time, cream based body paint and makeup are used to create avant-garde editorials and shoots. A great thing, they work well with your makeup products whether it is a foundation, highlighter, blush, eye shadow, bronzer, or even lipstick. Also, most of these cream paints can be removed with your typical makeup remover. If you like, think of silicone airbrush body paints that makeup artists usually use.
If you find tattoos more appealing than female body painting, then you can experiment with henna. Unlike permanent tattoos, henna is only temporary and only stains your skin with a brown or red stain. However, there are some formulations of henna present in different colors that you can also experiment with if you love longer lasting body paint.
However, some colorful versions of henna are chemically altered, and might contain harmful ingredients like metal additives that can cause allergies. Also, going for henna on your female body painting will make the removal process harder, as henna last for weeks, and you’ll need to use peeling products and scrub to remove them.
Keep in mind that there are also some female body painting that uses body paints that are not FDA-approved. Depending on the paint used, a hand marbling body paint common on festivals where you can get a tie dye finish after you dipped your hands in a paint mixture. If you wish to improvise or save some budget, do not go for a DIY project using your school supplies of glue, glitter, sharpies, pens, colorful marker pens and such since they are not formulated for skin use.
Artists Known for Female Body Painting
Artists are creative and innovative where they can come up with different ways to express their thoughts and visions. If you think body painting is just easy and won’t need imagination to be done, think again. Body painter Liu Bolin is known for the Invisible Man art, where the models seamlessly blend into the background whether it’s a brick wall, landscape, garden, wallpaper, or even forest. According to Liu Bolin, he began his series of works to restore himself when he was neglected on his job.
Another artist that uses female body painting to blend models into their surroundings is Trina Merry. In fact, she is known for making live paintings as she camouflage her models into their background, and even create living sculptures. If you lover fine art and photography, then you’ll be amazed with Cecilia Paredes where she conceals her model into different patterns and textures.
Trina Merry and Liu Bolin are always compared since they both blend their models into the background. However, Liu Bolin works into outdoor environments while Tina Merry works in interior spaces, along with patterned wallpapers and creative interiors. A great thing, both artist use the human body as a canvas to express their emotions towards their surroundings.
If you love optical illusions and three dimensional art, then, you’ll be amazed with Alexa Meade as the artist does the opposite. She instead paints the portraits on the body, and photographing them that will create mind tricks. With her body painting technique, she blurs the fantasy and reality. In fact, she creates the idea of a living painting with female body painting. She even stated in her interview that she doesn’t like making things on a flat surface, but instead makes everything completely different and unexpected.
Female body painting might be expected to bring out the best in a human’s body but artist Johannes Stötter even paint animals as the design, completely hiding the humans. In fact, he uses one or more bodies to create the silhouette of animals. No wonder, he is into nature and his skill made the female body art more fantastic and unexpected.
If you love photography and fine art, you’ll be amazed with artist Andy Golub. He actually uses his models and the art of female body painting to create human canvas paintings. The painted models will actually pose on the ground and photographed to create unexpected art. According to him, female body art is all about accepting and loving your own body.
Female body painting isn’t all about going for full body paint or even blending the model into the background. Artist Emma Fay even creates visual perceptions with female body painting. In fact, she uses some symbols to express some social concepts, along with taking advantage some of body flaws like muffin top to express an opinion.
If you’re fascinated with optical illusion, the Natalie Fletcher will be one of your favorite artists. Do you know that she even studied traditional painting, but she finds realistic illusions more interesting? On the other hand, artist Gesine Marwedel uses her models to create illusions of positive and negative space. If you’re not a fan of female body painting that makes use of the whole body, then think of artist Guido Daniele’s trick.
The said artist actually uses some body parts and paints them with various designs that focus on the subject of nature. Yes, female body painting is a great and expressive art that will need imagination and creativity to work. If you’ll be one of the models to bring the art into life, pay attention on how it will show your individuality and help you appreciate the creative medium.
Apart from the choice of clothes we wear, our body art whether in a form of tattoos or body painting is an extension of our personality and a form of artistic expression. So, feel free to express yourself through body painting, and you’ll be one of the finest arts in the world.