Another spectacular World Bodypainting Festival has drawn to a close and once again, we find ourselves in one of the most enviable spots of all. Our two first-place trophies are snuggled securely in the plane’s overhead bin and we have time to reflect upon the wonder of it all.
As many of you who know us understand, we have always chosen to step out of a category once we have won it, leaving room for other artists to climb the mountain. We hadn’t any idea that this decision, made early on, would propel us year-after-year into learning new skills and attempting new categories as the large WBF trophies continued to collect on the mantel.Our first WBF in 2010 was the festival that started it all. We walked around with wide eyes, just trying to take it all in. We were largely unknown, unrecognized, just another pair of paint-smudged artists from somewhere in the world, trying to find our way from one end of the festival to the other. When our number was called tied first going into the qualifying round, some curious eyebrows raised, when we ended up second in the world that year, we were over the moon!
Then the Festival moved to Portschach, where it currently resides. It is from this place we have carried home a first in Brush & Sponge Category (2011), first in Special Effects Category (2012), first place in Airbrush (2013) and now unbelievably, first in UV/Fluoro Night Effects Category AND a first in Classic Facepainting Category. In a string of great years at the festival, it seems 2014 is the best yet!
Not a single one of these wins was accomplished by us alone. We have had incredible support from our friends & family foremost, but also from the community where we reside, the community of artists worldwide and from fans of this art form around the globe who communicate their compliments for our efforts.
Over the years we’ve been deeply honored with everything from assistance in the financial realm, to product from suppliers who believed in us. Friends have given of their time, talents and even lent their bodies, to help up create props, costumes, headpieces and practice paintings, everything we needed to feel confident and prepared in each competition. Some friends even make the journey with us, a number that grows every year! Then, there are the people we’ve crossed paths with, as well as many we’ve never even met in person, who send their most supportive, loving energy along with us to a scenic little town in Austria, year-after-year.
We’ve been blessed with competition models who have dedicated their hearts and souls to upholding the highest professional standard, beautiful souls who truly care about bringing our art to the jury and stage as we intend it. It’s impossible not to mention Kim OnArt at the epitome of this standard in our eyes and yet, in 2014 we did not paint her, freeing her to elevate the art of Kris Bulow to a well-deserved second place in the 2-Day Airbrush competition.
This year, our models were put to a different challenge, learning and rehearsing a three-minute stage show of our creation for the UV Category. The unique talents of our group of five lit up the stage with excitement and we claimed our win by a huge 12-point lead over the competition. Here’s a description of the action:
The first model on stage for our “Pop Art” theme was Betty Den Boer of the Netherlands, swathed in a glowing blue burka as animated images of Middle Eastern Pop Art swirled on the screen above her. Then, the painted and costumed aerial silk dancer Jessica Watson Miller ran around her, climbing upward to begin her performance, beckoning to the grounded woman. As the music hit a crescendo, the Burka Girl removed her covering and raised her cape to reveal a face painted inside and her own painted, costumed body. Then, dashing her garments aside, she joins the aerial dancer upstage.
Next, our Atlas, played by famed bodybuilding bodypaint model Sean Jones, burst onto the scene. He bore beautiful Ashley Breaux, concealed inside an inflatable globe on his massive shoulders. Sean was our fully painted showpiece model, commanding the catwalk while striking poses to musical hits, as cosmic scenes played overhead. He returned to Ashley, lifting her gracefully up-and-out of the Gaia prop at just the right moment, while Betty returned to the stage with fiber-optic LED wings, which she spread at the moment of Ashley’s “birth”.
With 4 dancers now on stage, a commanding and serious voice-over prompts “Mankind’s Eternal Questions”… Including finally, “What Does The Fox Say?”, prompting that song & cuing the 5th model (and co-artist), Madelyn Greco to enter in a glowing, blinking, fluorescent fox costume on roller skates, jumping, spinning and causing an audible gasp and applause from the crowd! The “What Does the Fox Say” video plays in the background & as a final gesture, Sean runs & throws the globe into the audience (hitting the judges first, oops!) & everyone bows, “The End”.
After holding hands all together backstage, awaiting the announcement, the little group screamed and cheered at the news! Everyone ran to accept the first place trophy and congratulate each other and the on a job well done.
Equally well done the next morning, was another first place effort by Scott Fray & model Helme Calfee in the World Award Classic Facepainting Category. Hot Rod Helme wowed jury & festival-goers ALL day long as he stayed completely in character, thrilling new friends and fans. Scott beamed and waved as thousands of onlookers cheered his historic fifth victory!
Also thrilling and touching was Nadja Hlutchcovsky’s tribute piece to her favorite influential body painters, done in a pop art style. This was also in the classic Facepainting category. Madelyn was moved to tears immediately upon seeing a portrait of her own face flanking the model’s. Scott’s wry visage was represented similarly on the other side. We were really floored by this honor and will remember it always, so typical of the loving, supportive camaraderie that you find at the World Bodypainting Festival. We are happy, once again, to carry this beautiful spirit along with us, until next year.