Warmly welcoming the most brilliant global bodypainting talent to shine, in the new American Home of Bodypainting Competition.
The year of 2016 marked a dramatic shift for Living Art America’s annual production of the North American Bodypainting Championships with a relocation to North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad. In the supportive new environment of neighboring host cities, Greensboro and Winston-Salem, NC, we were pleased to offer competition slots to 50+ artists from 5 continents, in three categories. The Professional Category, the Emerging Artist Category and the UV/Blacklight Category artists were pre-selected by a qualifying round jury of industry experts. These artists were then invited to create works based on this year’s theme, “The Face of Change” for the competition.
In addition to the main days of the competition, this year marked the inclusion of the world’s first all-bodypaint-themed film festival, which officially opened the evening offerings on Wednesday night at the Crown of the Carolina Theatre in Greensboro. The Film Festival proved very popular, achieving standing-room-only audience attendance. Featuring an eclectic mix of highlights and showcasing global artists and local talent alike, a world-premiere EDM music video and short film projects centered around bodypainting were shown. Capping the evening was Natalie Fletcher’s documentary of her 2015 road trip project, undertaking the painting of 100 bodies in 50 US States. This headliner gracefully underscored the message of self-love and body positivity that flowed throughout the offerings.
Wednesday also marked the start of the WB-Academy Workshop Classes, all of which were offered for artists in classroom space provided by The Cultural Arts Center in Greensboro, under the auspices of Arts Greensboro and the 17 Days Festival. WB-Academy classes continued until Friday and afforded students individual attention from some of the industry’s top names.
Thursday Evening held a meet-and-greet cocktail hour at Greensboro’s beautiful and historic O’Henry Hotel. Jazz musicians and the featured vocalist all sported face & body art in honor of Living Art America’s distinguished visiting artists. Friday found attendance in full swing for an artist/model/patron party at Revolution Mills in Greensboro, following a paint jam with some of the participating artists. In addition to the atmosphere lent by the beautiful models created that day, the evening held incredible aerial cirque entertainment provided by Triad Aerial Arts and a full jazz band headed up by bodypainted songstress, Sara Strable.Saturday marked “The Day” that our Pro Category Artist Teams as well as Greensboro arts-lovers and The 17 Days Festival had all been waiting for, The 2016 Professional Category Competition, staged at The Greensboro Coliseum Complex Special Events Center! Artists from across the country and around the globe descended to create their vision and make their collective mark on the level of quality that can be expected from competitive international artists of this caliber. This year was a high-water-mark for that level of quality, with some of the most complex, expressive and technically superior works ever created on the human body. The public in attendance for the day ticket had an unparalleled opportunity to view the creation phase in it’s final two hours, while those who attended the evening’s stage presentations could marvel at these works brought vibrantly to life through the graceful and evocative performances of their human canvases. Attendees found themselves colorfully welcomed to the North American Championship Stage by glorious fabric art that spanned nearly the length and width of the ceiling by Atlanta artist Helme Calfee, as well as whimsically eye-catching and towering sculptural pieces by artist Greg Carter of Raleigh. The evening show also featured the breathtaking aerial silk performance & contortion prowess of Triad Aerial Arts, a world premiere live-performance music video in full bodypaint by award-winning country music artist, Angela Reign of Atlanta and the complete big-band jazz/swing stylings of Triad favorites, Karon Click and the Hot Licks. One BIG surprise of the night featured a beautiful marriage proposal between the head of Vintage Sound & Light Company, Charlie Kroksh and his lovely intended, Allé. He popped the question unexpectedly (to audience and Allé) on stage, while Sabrina Woods of Triad Aerial Arts framed the couple with a slow-turning white silk arch, deftly manipulated from her vantage point, high above the stage. After such a moving display and an emphatic, “Yes” from the bride-to-be, it was time for the final results of the day’s effort by all of the artist teams. The evening’s emcee and Competition Director Madelyn Greco, read the results in reverse order. In fifth place, from the USA, Tiffany Beckler of North Carolina took the stage. In fourth place from Italy came Emanuele Borello. He was followed to the stage by the third place team representing the countries of Brazil/Italy, led by Alex Hansen. In second place, the next country announced was India, as the team of Sanatan Dinda claimed their vice-champion status. Finally, in the moment all had been waiting for, the team from South Korea/Germany, led by South Korean Moona J. Weaner and assisted by Julie Boehm, took the stage for her joyful reclamation (she was Pro Category Champion in 2014) of The North American Bodypaint Champion title. The new 2016 champion artists, assistants and models took their final bows and basked in the glory emanating from a full-house audience clearly pleased with the results.
Saturday Winner’s Circle
Professional Artists Category
1. Artist Moona Weaner, S. Korea, assisted by Julie Boehm, Germany. Model – Kristina Guede, Atlanta, GA, USA
2. Artist Sanatan Dinda, India, assisted by Panchali Banerjee, India. Model – Fairland Ferguson, Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
3. Artist Alex Hansen, Brazil, assisted by Giusy Campolungo, Italy. Model – Anna Stephens, Atlanta, GA, USA
4. Artist Emanuele Borello, Italy, assisted by Mandi Ilene Schiff, USA. Model – Melissa Hudson, High Point, NC, USA
5. Artist Tiffany Beckler, Calabash, NC, USA, assisted by Ruby Blanco, NC, USA. Model – Sara Bloo, Raleigh, NC, USA
Sunday found a fresh crop of competitors ready to converge upon a new venue, Winston Salem Arts District’s historical gem, The Millennium Center. The Emerging Artists were set up in the building’s former courthouse space (a room complete with jury bench and witness stand), while the UV Competitors were given the low-light situation of the building’s lower level to create their pieces in a blacklight setting. Like Saturday’s event, the public was invited in at a certain hour to see the works-in-progress and also to view the UV installations while notable Winston Salem band, “Foxture” played their set on the lower level. Differing from any competition to date, All-Access VIP Pass Holders were invited to stay and hear the jury presentations by the Emerging Artists. Each artist detailed their concept via a microphone set at the witness stand, while their models ascended the steps to a high stage set up for optimal viewing directly in front of the immense Judge’s Bench, which held the five jury members with ease. After judging, models were sent to photography and everyone readied for the “Art with a Heart” Charity Gala, to be presented in the Millennium Center’s Main Level Ballroom. Special contributors to the evening enjoyed a cocktail and dinner hour at the tables surrounding the catwalk and special entertainment by the Triad’s own Crystal Bright & Jeremy Haire. As the audience joined the room, the evening was kicked into high gear with another live-performance, world-premiere music video (featuring bodypaint) by globally-recognized EDM sensation, “Quilla”. As Sunday was the day all awards were presented, recognition was given to some speakers for brief notes on the supporting arts organizations, the city of Winston Salem and Living Art America itself. Chairperson of the Gala and 2015 Professional Category Champion, Cheryl Ann Lipstreu spoke on behalf of Winston Salem’s AFAS (Art For Art’s Sake) Group along with Tim Adams and introduced the Mayor of Winston Salem, Alan Joines. Randi Layne, Scott Fray and Madelyn Greco (the evening’s emcee) all spoke as co-producers of Living Art America and Randi also spoke on behalf of the Gala’s main Charitable organization, The Chelko Foundation, empowering women through arts grants and partnerships. A special award was given (an original ink drawing on paper by Cheryl Ann Lipstreu Fine Art and a hand-sculpted trophy by Brad Spencer) to benefactor Joy Greco, whose contributions to Living Art America 2016 enabled the move of the competition to North Carolina. Following this opening, The Emerging Artist Category took their eagerly anticipated catwalk turn before the audience, followed by the teams from the UV Category. The jury was introduced to the stage, including artist & instructional master, “Vargas” of NYC, Robin Slonina of Skin City Bodypainting of Las Vegas, Mehron Artist “Jinny (Genevieve Houle)” of Canada, World Champion Craig Tracy of The Craig Tracy Gallery, New Orleans and Alex Barendregt of the World Bodypainting Festival, Austria. The jury presented some special artist encouragement awards and the 2nd Annual “Scott Fray Competitive Spirit Award” winner, Deborah Brommer of the USA was presented by Cameleon Bodypaint. It was then time to recognize the winners and the Professional Category Artist Champion Teams were presented with their hand-sculpted, Brad Spencer original trophies. Then the UV Champion team was announced, Ren Allen and Tiffany Beckler from the USA. Finally, the top three from the Emerging Artist Competition were called out. In third place, Lauren Bracewell of San Antonio, Texas came to the stage. In second place, another artist from the USA, Aubrie Goodnoe of Dandridge, Tennessee arrived to celebrate her placement. In first place, the team from South Korea was announced, and Jeon Mi Kang, assisted by Lee Yu Jin of Seoul’s MBC Makeup Academy ascended the stage to claim their prize, marking 2016 as a year for Korean domination.
A great evening for live music, guests were also treated to the magnitude of talent offered up by Nick Hagelin (of NBC’s “The Voice”) and his band, who capped the evening with driving musical force and soaring vocals.
Sunday Winner’s Circle
Emerging Artists Category
1. Artist Jeon Mi Kang, S. Korea, assisted by Lee Yu Jin, S. Korea. Model – Emma Dubin, Butler, TN, USA
2. Artist Aubrie Goodnoe, Dandridge, TN, USA, assisted by Inga Lamb, USA. Model – Leah Gibson, Dandridge, TN, USA
5. Artist Lauren Bracewell, San Antonio, TX, USA. Model – Elaina McGann, Greensboro, NC, USA
UV Blacklight Category
1. Artists Ren Allen, Jonesboro, TN, USA & Tiffany Beckler, Calabash, NC, USA. Models, Lyrika Holmes (GA), Kat Booth (NC, Alex Iman (NC), Brittney Isphording (NC), Jack Regal (NC)
Now in its seventh year of production, Living Art America is the most prestigious US-based event of its kind and awards the largest cash prize to artists offered in the Western Hemisphere.
1. photo-Craig Shafer
2. model-Ivy Rose, artist-Whitney Mears, model-Anna Stephens, artist-Alex Hansen, photo-Mark Williams
3. model-Emma Dubin, artist-Jeon Mi Kang, photo-Suzy McCalley