Body painting stories

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In the late s, Austrian Alex Barendregt stumbled across s-era fashion photographs of German model Veruschka covered head-to-toe in body paint. He was intrigued, but his research failed to turn up any major events that showcased the art form.

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So in he decided to stage what he calls Europe's first body-painting festival. Two decades later, body painters from over 50 countries are preparing meet in the south Austrian town of Klagenfurt for the 21st annual World Bodypainting Festival on July This year, participants will compete in 12 ranging from brush and sponge, airbrushing, and team body painting to special effects makeup and installation art.

The event will also include a music festival, food market, and a week of workshops before the main competition weekend begins. This year, Barendregt is especially excited by the participation of native communities. A group from Easter Island will be attending the July festival to compete with the traditional body painting techniques their communities have been using to tell stories for hundreds of years. Body painting has been a medium of expression since the early days of humans.

In more modern times, artists have dipped their toes in the art form and it has periodically gained the attention of the fashion coterie. Body painting has recently taken a more mainstream turn. With the help of media attention garnered by festivals like this one, body painting has become the subject of a reality TV show, Skin Warsand is increasingly being recognized as a fine art form by museums and Body painting stories around the world. Classically trained artist Cheryl Ann Lipstreua third place champion at the World Bodypainting Festival and contestant on season two of Skin Warssays that body painting found her.

After learning of the medium, Lipstreu became a model for another artist before deciding to buy her own paints and try out the human body as a canvas for her work. I know what that feels like from having been a model.

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'They'll know my stories just by looking at my face': Indigenous body painting a way of reclaiming culture