Last tuesday I had one of the most interesting body painting commissions I have had so far. I was booked to create body painting for a No Smoking promotion. My assignment was to create the damages of smoking on to three models. This was the first time body painting was used for something like this in Finland. Usually body art is thought to be just fantasy and pure imagination, but this case was an amazing example how body painting can be used as a visual storyteller of facts too - the paintings conveyed a real message in a very memorable way.
The case took a lot of planning beforehand. I was provided with really good anatomical reference pictures by my client as their wish was to have as realistic paintings as possible. The damages of smoking in the human body are serious so everyone agreed the end result should be somewhat exaggarated, shocking even. I was happy I was given artistic freedom to adjust the realism and create my interpretation of the concept.
I had a team of three collegues helping me and it still took us 7 hours to execute the detailed designs. But it was all worth it. The models attracted enormous attention in Kamppi and Helsinki city centre. People stopped to really look at them and we heard comments like "haunting", "scary", "influental" and just "wow". Body painting really brought harmful effects of smoking on the skin - and left them permanently in people's minds.
What do you think? What kind of other messages could be painted on bodies? Are there any limits?
Riina's world of body painting
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