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Everybody, Paint Your Body: A Look Inside the World Bodypainting Festival

Everybody, Paint Your Body: A Look Inside the World Bodypainting Festival

(Photo: Karsten Skrabal)

The 17th Annual World Bodypainting Festival wrapped up this past weekend after a week of live competitions, workshops, “living art” installations, and parties. This annual event attracted the best bodypaint artists from 47 countries — plus models, students, and thousands of world-class partygoers. Here’s a peek at some of the wildest eye candy from the week.

World Bodypainting Festival

(Photo: Georg Schmitt)

The festival is typically held in a rural region of Austria. This year it was in the leafy lakeshore burg of Pörtschach am Wörthersee, best known in prior years for hosting an annual ATP tennis tournament. The festival site, Bodypaint City, temporarily engulfed Pörtschach, which has only 2,600 permanent residents.

World Bodypainting Festival

Body.Circus (Photo: TEMPTU)

The theme for this year’s festival was Pop Art. The program was a fascinating mix of practical workshops, a midmorning Electronic Picnic, and a freestyle glitter competition. But the real highlight for many is the perennially popular preparty, “Body.Circus – The Bizarre Club Experience” presented by the makeup line, TEMPTU

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Body.Circus (Photo: TEMPTU)

Body.Circus is traditionally held the night before the main festival, and this year it took place at a Gothic castle in the city of Moosburg, one village over from Pörtschach. The dress code for Body.Circus is described as “shrill, fancy, surreal, body painted, face painted, or simply elegant.” 

World Bodypainting Festival

(Photo: Daniel Janesch)

During the main three-day program, the event site was comprised of four different areas. There was “Body Paint City,” where interactive events appropriate for all ages were held from morning through evening. The “Electronic Pier,” where there was a daytime DJ and dance area. The “Green Stage,” which had a mix-and-match lineup of live music and art programming. And finally, the “Main Stage,” where all of the headline events took place. 

World Bodypainting Festival

An artist and model prepare to compete in one of the awards presentations. (Photo: Georg Schmitt)

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(Photo: Daniel Janesch)

On day two, awards were given for the highly competitive ”UV SFX Facepainting” category. United States artists Scott Fray and Madelyn Greco represented their home country like champions, taking first place in face painting and UV effects.

During the qualifying heats for the “Brush and Sponge” category, some artists took an extreme — and unsettling — approach to ensure their work would stand out in the field.

World Bodypainting Festival

(Photo: Karsten Skrabal)

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(Photo: Karsten Skrabal)

The spectacular final-day program on July 6th included a fashion show, a presentation for creative makeup (presented by MAC Cosmetics and M.i.a.), a  performance by reggae group "Inner Circle," and the bodypainting world awards. After all awards and accolades had been bestowed, a fireworks display kicked off the annual “Color Splash” paint party. The final party is a colorful free-for-all, with hundreds of attendees participating and the DJ lineup flown in from London. 

World Bodypainting Festival

(Photo: Anton Glocker)

All images copyright:  World Bodypainting Festival

Lena Katz is a writer, sometime book author and development producer for unscripted TV. She goes cuckoo for big characters and stories that seem too wild to be true. She’s never where you think she is.

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