Since the 1960's exotic body painting has been an artistic outlet for many individuals.
Body Painting History
The revival of body painting as an art form began in the 1960's and that can be contributed to the liberalization of mainstream society. Nudity, instead of being seen as immoral, was being viewed as something beautiful and natural.
Some of the earliest instances of body art can be seen in the ancient tribes of South America and Africa where the men would paint their bodies as camouflage and to put fear into their enemies. A debate rages on as to the first occurrence of body art in Western society and many believe the first use was during the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago. Max Factor, along with his model, were arrested when he began to paint her body with his new make-up formulated for the movies. A simple form of body painting can be found at any amusement park or local fair in the form of face painting.
Exotic Body Painting
Exotic body painting is body art that is considered to be one of the most ancient forms of art. Body painting, unlike tattoos, is not permanent and does not stain the skin like Henna. Body paint only stays on the skin for a few hours.
Exotic body painting uses the naked form (male or female) as a canvas. The natural lines and curves of the human body in its natural state can lead to many beautiful paintings. Body art is often seen to depict something wild and animalistic like a cougar or lion. In the casual sense, the body can be painted much like a tattoo, ranging from the mythical to the very real.
In the 50's and early 60's, exotic body painting involved covering a naked body with paint and having the subject roll around on a large canvas (or other medium) to transfer the paint. This technique of painting creates an image transfer reflected as an outline of the human form or a shadow figure. The art was rarely monotone and more than one color would be used. Sometimes more than one model would be used for each color in order to create several contrasts.
Body painting does not have to be for photo shoots or clubbing. Couples can participate in exotic body art in their own homes as a way to heighten sexual release. The couples can explore their partner's body on a most intimate level as they spread paint all over them.
There are a great many artists that work as professional body painters and much of their work can be seen all over the world in television and movies. A good example would be the Natrel Plus ad campaigns where models were camouflaged as trees. The science fiction genre is another great example where body art can be used commercially. Exotic body painting, with certain parts strategically covered, is often found on the covers of magazines.
Sports Illustrated in recent years has had sections dedicated to body art. Some feel this SI's way to get around their own "no nudity" policy. In 2005, Playboy released a Playmates at Play at the Playboy Mansion calendar where Karen McDougal and Hiromi Oshima appeared in body painted bikinis.
Final Word on Body Painting
Body painting can serve as a means to transform a person on the outside. They can become virtually anything they want to become. They can be made into a spirit, a fantastic work of art or even change genders. Body painting can make a person into a map of some far off land or serve a political statement. Visual appeal can be emphasized and allegiances advocated.
The body paint can serve as a way to empower a person or to protect them for initiation in certain rites and rituals, funerals and weddings, all of which are times of change and transition.