TAMPA, Fl. - Remember finger-painting as a kid? How the paint seemed to get not only all over the paper, but all over you, too? Some grown-ups are doing something kind of similar these days. It’s called "body painting" and it's a form of artistic expression that uses the body as a canvas.
We caught up with a group of artists preparing for a body painting show at a venue near downtown St. Petersburg called “The Art Pool Gallery.” The artists spent the entire day painting a range of colorful themes or motifs onto the skins of their models all the while working against the clock for the big evening event.
“It’s an organic piece that you’re working with,” said artist Joanna Ledingham. “Instead of a canvas just sitting there, you’ve got a living, breathing object.”
Joanna is working on an Asian fusion theme. Charlotte Stirk is her canvas.
“It’s a fun day, a long day. We’re exhausted by midnight, but just to be part of the process, it’s a good experience,” said Charlotte.
Charlotte admits it may seem a bit strange to do something like this, but she likens it to sky-diving.
“Finding that thing that makes you a little uncomfortable, then going past it, and pushing those bounds, and realizing it’s okay,” said Charlotte.
Later that evening, the crowd gathered for an art party and runway event at Art Pool Gallery.
Hundreds of art lovers and those who were just curious turned out to see the colorful spectacle of 25 artfully painted bodies. They got to see some of the art in motion before the big runway show.
The show was a festive one, kicking off with lighted hula hoops and even a fire-eater. Once the models hit the runway, all eyes were on theme. Some themes were dark, others flowery and feminine. There was a man who looked like a forest, another who looked like he was living under the sea.
Some women were scantily clad and painted suggestively, others looked like they had sporty outfits painted on. Charlotte Stirk took the stage, covered in her Asian-fusion motif, handing out trinkets to members of the audience.
“It’s a little bit empowering,” said Charlotte. “A lot of us have full time jobs, we have children, and we just like to step outside the box a bit. It’s just a fun night.”
Art Pool Gallery will hold another body painting event on March 9, along with a masquerade ball. For more details, go to artpoolgallery.com.