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Are you dealing with a professional body paint artist?

This article is written by a member of our expert community. It expresses that member’s views only. We welcome other perspectives. Here’s how to contribute to MM EDU.

Bodypaint art is becoming extremely popular lately, and many people want to try it. I encourage people to try it, because it can be an incredibly satisfying art form for all involved.


Model: cMicaWOW; Photographer: Hoodlum

However, I have noticed a problem recently, and that is the fact that there are many people out there claiming to be professional body paint artists that really should not be making that claim. It is GREAT if you want to work with an amateur, and help them gain experience, but if you are doing this I would at least like to be sure that you know what you are getting into.

Whether you are hiring an artist, posing for one, or looking to establish yourself as one, here are a few things to help you decide whether you are dealing with (or working as) a body painting professional.

A professional body paint artist will use professional tools and professional materials

A professional will use makeup, not paint. The makeup should bear a seal stating that the product is safe in your country to use on skin. Many products will be labeled “non-toxic”, this does NOT mean SAFE FOR USE ON SKIN!  Also, pens made for writing on paper, are not okay for marking on skin.

A professional should have an array of brushes, sponges, airbrushes, or other pro grade equipment. A professional will not suggest that they dip their hands in some bright color and then leave handprints on your breasts as an “artistic statement”.

Artists who do not use professional grade materials and/or equipment are taking chances with your health and should be avoided.  It is also unlikely that you will get good images from such a person.

A professional body paint artist will have some form of liability insurance, which covers body painting

IF something should go wrong, your painter should be prepared to deal with the consequences. Many photographers have liability insurance that would cover their studio, but would not cover their activities if they are body painting.

This is important, because body painting carries a small, but serious risk. If the makeup being used is contaminated and causes you to get an infection of some sort, the painter will need to be able to cover your hospitalization. If the painter accidentally stabs you with a brush, ruins your cell phone with spilled water, or causes some other mishap, you will want them to have the means to deal with the problem.

This is also just something that an amateur would never think to get, but a pro would NEED to have if they are dealing with professional level clients.


Model: cMicaWOW; Photographer: Hoodlum

A professional body paint artist will be able to give you references

A professional will have worked with others in the field. You should (no excuses) contact a couple people from the artist’s portfolio and ask them point blank: “Did (artist in question) do a good job, were you comfortable, and were there any problems or concerns?” PLEASE, for your own good, DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!

Personally, I also tend not to trust artists who do not have other artists (from their field) in their “friends list” or among their tags.

A professional artist will have professional grade images

Just as in other fields on Model Mayhem, the proof is in the pudding. If a person is claiming to be a professional body paint artist, they should have some good images in their portfolio. Images should be clean, crisp, and not have the appearance of being overly “fixed” in post-production.  A variety of images helps as well. Do not expect an artist who has a full portfolio of people painted gold to be able to pull off a realistic clothing illusion, and don’t expect to get a decent graffiti style image from someone who has a portfolio full of leopards and tigers.

Once again, working with beginning or amateur artists is fine, as long as you know what you are getting into, but if you want to be sure you are dealing with a professional, consider the information I have provided you with as a good place to start.

BodyPainter Rich

BodyPainter Rich

Rich has been making a living airbrushing and painting on people for 20 years. People wanting to learn more about airbrush, bodyart, and combining the two, are encouraged to check out his YouTube Channel or contact him about classes and seminars. www.secondskinimages.com/

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