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Face Off: Naked and Painted blows the doors open on the burgeoning art form of body paint. Whether you’re new to the craft or a seasoned veteran, this medium will never cease dazzling. In fact, as the experts interviewed in this special agreed, the fascination with adorning the body, be it with mud, paint, or prosthetics has been around throughout all of recorded history. And it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon!
In fact, recent years have seen the capital-A Art of body painting take the spotlight from works of novelty, spectacle and scintillation. That isn’t to say that an artist can’t use their airbrush for works of whimsy or even commercial enterprises, but the perception of this practice is shifting, much to the pleasure of the owner of Naked Vegas, Red. This make-up artist-turned-leader of Las Vegas’ hottest body painting brigade is thrilled to see her work step out of the sphere of “naughty” and into the arena of the impressive and awe-inspiring.
Whether simulating clothing, transforming models into fantastical creatures, camouflaging a figure seamlessly into the background, or boggling the mind with the versatility of the body, body paint in all of its guises has emerged as a surprising, inspiring medium. The common thread that has drawn many of the artists featured to it, however, is bittersweet: Its ephemerality. Knowing that your masterpiece is one loofah away from the void is exhilarating for some, and heartbreaking for others; everyone is grateful for the invention of the camera when it comes to body paint!
And the satisfaction isn’t only for the artists. Clients are frequently baffled by the allure and versatility of the medium (It’s amazing how a naked body slathered in paint can sell almost anything!). But, as stunning as these pieces are to see, it’s the model who gets the most uniquely freeing experience out of being painted. The artists’ faces light up when recounting how their canvases undergo a metamorphosis from self-consciously hugging their chests to proudly flaunting their newly emblazoned bodies!
And even though Naked Vegas is the newest kid on the block, body painting is no stranger to Syfy’s airwaves. Both the first and second seasons of Face Offfeatured challenges that dared the competing artists to dip into a potentially new and unfamiliar bag of tricks when they sprung a room full of naked models on them! Despite being unexpected, these challenges inspired incredible moments of triumph and wit that have had staying power in the Face Off canon. From Jo’s turning a rookie mistake into a challenge win to Tom addressing a tricky situation with humor, improvisation, and a plant in his model’s butt-crack, to Brea having to reapply her entire makeup after her model couldn’t hold up to the rigors of being a body paint subject, these challenges stole the spotlight and reminded fans across the country about the spirit of artistic tenacity that setsFace Off apart from its contemporaries.
Of course, no episode of Face Off is complete without a jaw-dropping transformation. So, while the cameras were rolling, the cast of Naked Vegasdropped by the lab to demonstrate two styles of body painting in front of McKenzie’s eyes. Red and Heather whipped up treacherously gorgeous rendition of the gorgon, Medusa that could freeze you on the spot if she weren’t so hot! And Nix (a Face Off alum ironically eliminated just before his season’s body painting challenge) and Wiser literally painted their model into a corner as they made her disappear against the Face Off wall with a highly technical camouflage job.
The results, unsurprisingly, were stunning, and McKenzie even let the models get in a few words: A Face Off first! But in the world of body paint, seeing is believing, so don’t just take our words for it; check out our galleries and share your favorite looks with the uninitiated. Happy painting!