This year I wasn't competing which was totally new to me. I had thought I would just chill out and enjoy other artists' work, but turns out my week was full of action and activities, I didn't even have time to go for a refreshing swim in the lake! Hot and sunny week included my first workshop at the World Bodypainting Academy program, my fine art body painting exhibition, parties and jury duty at the world awards. So much fun!
Once again, the highlight of my year was the World Bodypainting Festival in Austria. Since 2007 I have spent a week every summer amongst hundreds of artists and thousands of visitors from all over the world enjoying and indulging on this amazing art form called body painting. There is no place like this - a small village of Pörtschach by Wörthersee lake turned into a melting pot of art for a week. It's our mecca. Our home.
The workshop "Key elements of competition design" was a success with some wonderful students, fun and laughter. I loved it and even better, that the students were over the moon! I really hope to be able to give workshops like this more, it's so rewarding to see students learning and discovering new skills in themselves.
What a wonderful opportunity was given to me by Alex Barendrengt, the organiser of the World Bodypainting Festival, and Hotel Schloss Leonstein. I got to have my own fine art body painting exhibition at the hotel and it was an official side event for the festival week. I was so pleased to see so many people there, getting together for drinks and enjoying my art.
I had 17 artworks in total showing. This was also an amazing chance for to me show preview of my Wonder Women - the WAU project. Six pieces which are done were introduced to the guests and the feedback was overwhelming. People loved the idea behind the series and encouraged me to go forward with the project. It felt so good and especially when two pieces were sold immediately! What a wonderful evening with some awesome people, music and art. Thank you Alex and Jörg Goby of Schloss Leonstein!
More image galleries from the event:
Gallery by Art Fashion Studio/ Dmitri Moisseev - WBF2015: Riina Laine Art Exhibit
Gallery by Bertrand Orsal - Riina Laine's exhibition - WBF 2015
Gallery by Hotel Schloss Leonstein - Hotel Schloss Leonstain meets World Bodypainting Festival 2015
Like the Wonder Women - the WAU Project Facebook page to follow and learn more about the models etc!
THE JURY DUTY
After winning the World Awards last year, I decided early on I wouldn't compete this year but instead I'd just have a break and enjoy the festival as a visitor. But what an honour was it to have the invitation to join the jury - to sit behind the same table with six amazing iconic artists. I couldn't refuse of course, but it felt quite surreal (Haha, it would have been good idea for the theme for the finals "Surreal- reshape your reality"!).
As I have written here on my blog before about the judging (Can you judge body painting?) it is a very hard job. I have been in the jury for many body painting competitions around the world, but this time was by far the toughest. Hundreds of artists in different categories, so many wonderful artworks... We sat in the hot jury tent for over 4 hours each day, scoring over 100 paintings each day. It's difficult to describe what it was like - it was humbling, rewarding, tiring, exciting, fun, difficult, everything at the same time. And I am very happy of this experience. I learnt so much and I think this helps me to grow as an artist too.
Here are some pictures of the fun times I got spend with my fellow jury members. :)
The jury for the World Bodypainting Awards 2015: Ernst Wieser (Austria), Jinny (Canada), Craig Tracy (USA), Gabriela Hajek-Renner (Austria), Fredi Schmid (Switzerland), Riina Laine (Finland) and Scott Fray (USA).
WORLD BODYPAINTING FESTIVAL = HOME.
Will you be there in 2016?
Within the past month I have been sitting in the jury at Helsinki Bodypainting Competition in Finland and Baltic Body Art Competition in Latvia. It is always an honour to be invited in the jury as well as very humbling, because how can you judge art? I've seen competitions as a judge in South-Korea, the Netherlands and Norway too, very different styles of paintings and I have been scoring works by so many amazing artists. It is one of those things that is very difficult, and controversial as it is a matter of opinion. Giving points is truly very hard, and having competed so many times myself I know how exciting, and at the same time scary, it is when you are waiting to see what the jury thinks of the painting you have put your heart and soul into.
So I thought I would describe what things judges look at. In body painting competitions there is a criteria of evaluation that helps when you are facing this difficult task of giving scores to another artist's artwork. The categories in which the points are given vary between competitions, but the basic ideas behind them are similar - quality, technique, use of colour, composition, interpretation of the theme, overall look and originality.
Everyone likes different things and consider different things more important, but more often than not you can tell if someone's painting is very clean or messy for example. The technique, the brush work is judged according to the lines being clean and even, whether teardrops and other classic brush strokes are in balance and whether the base coat of the paint is opaque and blending good. It's important to have a flow on the painting, all different parts of the painting should go together well and create a good overall composition. I myself pay a lot of attention to the colours - I love colours in general. Too much black on the painting doesn't make it standout for me, but on the other hand too many colours thrown on the painting can also look like a chaos. A nice flow between the colours make even a "rainbow puke" look fabulous - a hilarious term another artist kindly used to describe my this year's final painting at the World Bodypainting Festival! ;) I love it!
In competitions artists are always given a theme to paint on and I think it's good - that way you have to put your thought into the painting and story behind it, and as a judge it is lovely to hear how other artist's think and how inspiring stories they come up with. Thinking "outside the box" is the key to finding a good story for your painting. Also in a competition it shows who has made an effort and really wants to do well. It is important I think, and maybe that's why I have always put a lot of thought into the stories of my competition pieces. This year I was rewarded with amazing points for my final winning painting "iLive - iDie" at the WBF (read it here) , and I think it shows that the story can make or break your competition painting.
Of course competitions are just one part of the world of body painting, and I think the only part where the creations are judged "officially". There are so many artists around the world, creating their own body art pieces with their own styles and stories behind the pieces, that I don't thinki it's worth spending time thinking who is better than someone else. I think it's better to just appreciate the variety and of course naturally you just know which paintings you like or don't like, for any reason. I myself like those artists' work who create something that touches my heart, pleases my eyes and is somehow surprising or new to me.
So my piece of advice - don't judge body painting, just love it!
One of the most common questions people ask me is how I have found body painting and why I have chosen it as my career. It's always a bit tricky one to explain as I can't quite remember when the real interest was born, and now I can't quite remember how my life was without body painting. But I will try and tell you a little bit about this love story.
Ever since I was a child I have loved painting and drawing, but I never really saw myself becoming an artist. I felt I wasn't perhaps creative enough or bohemian enough (yeah, all the artist stereotypes), and I also believed one has to have a job that makes your living but isn't fun. For some reason after high school and getting into the maths department at a university, I ended up ditching those proper career plans and moved to England to study to become a make-up artist. It was something artistic, something I thought I could try.
The make-up college was amazing and I felt I had found my way. During those two years I was introduced to body painting too, but I thought it is just a small thing I could do within make-up artistry. But some spark was lit up. I remember one of my friends reminding me throughout my first 6 years as a make-up artist that if I ever wanted to practice body painting, she would love to be my model. Again I don't remember why or how I found the World Bodypainting Festival website in January 2007. But that's when I called this friend of mine and asked her to be my model for the festival. Signing up for the competition at this festival (unknown to me at that point) gave me a push to start practicing body painting. I got the motivation as I didn't want to go there and embarrass myself for not knowing how to paint at all. So I practiced six months, on my own, with DVD's and books I ordered from abroad, attended the competition and made it to the finals. I was 34th, and for me it felt like a victory. Just like the whole experience.
The World Bodypainting Festival (WBF) in Austria is the mecca for lovers of this art form. I realised that from the first moment there. Thousands of people, a week full of activities and everything about body painting - it showed me a totally new world, something I didn't know body painting could be. I guess that first year at the WBF was the matchmaker for me and this art form. Since then, I haven't needed an extra push or motivation to practice and learn more, it has all been automatic and pure joy.
Over these years I have attended many workshops abroad, painted my friends in my living room, spent thousands of hours on internet researching other artists around the world and finding inspirational pictures. I have taken art courses in the open university to improve my general painting skills. My family and friends probably agree that I have lived and breathed body painting, and over the years it has become inseparable part of me.
So why body painting?
It's a combination of many things that make it fascinating. Human body is probably the most interesting and beautiful surface to work on, with endless possibilities. It's a three-dimensional, moving, breathing canvas, full of life and with a soul. I think body art speaks to all of us as human beings, we all understand human body. So I love the reactions of other people, the interest and curiosity that is awakened when they see body painting.
It's the energy I get to share with my model. the interaction with them, that makes this art form very natural to me. You get to share something profound through paint and the model brings my art to life through their body. It is very special.
I like the challenge I am faced with every time - I need to finish my painting on the spot, I can't keep on creating a body painting piece for months like you could with a normal canvas. I don't think my models would appreciate it much! Having only a day to create the whole painting also suits my impatient nature - I don't even want to think about how many unfinished drawings and normal paintings I have hidden in my drawers! I also like it that my artwork lasts only a few hours and then it is washed away - sometimes it's even a relief - but it continues to live in the photographs and memories.
I have come so far from when I started my journey with body painting, but I know we will go a lot further together. This is not just my career or a job, nor a hobby as many people think. This is my way of expressing myself and my creative needs. This is my path, a true passion in my heart, something I now know was meant for me.
Riina's world of body painting
My latest news and behind-the-scenes stories. New projects and ideas. Just everything body painting related you (or I) can think of!