Body Painting: Ancient Form of Ornamental Expression - Today's Modern Art

  • August 06, 2012
  • Jenna Maxwell

When you put on your makeup this morning, you probably weren’t thinking that you were practicing a form of body art.  Body art, however, has expressed itself through the ages in many formats, and most certainly the use of ordinary cosmetic makeup is one of them. 

Body art has been around since the beginning of time.   From a historical point of view, body art dates back to the earliest days of man.  Well-preserved mummies in Ancient Egypt from about 2000 B.C. have been discovered showing elaborate tattooing all over the mummified bodies.  Body art over the years has been exhibited in numerous formats in addition to tattoos, however.  Body piercing, body painting, body re-shaping, scarification, dying with henna and even the simple use of makeup can all be considered to be forms of body art.

Today’s body art covers a wide range of mediums as well as levels of expertise in application.  Extreme body painting has become popular in many areas of the country, some designs exhibiting very prolific artistic prowess and expression with the paint literally covering the entire body from head to toe.  On a much simpler level, face painting is a popular practice that can easily be found at local fairs, carnivals, amusement parks and other events.  Body and face painting is a non-committal way of getting the truly compelling look of tattooing, but since the paint washes off, it isn’t permanent.  Since the effects of face and body painting are short-lived, this allows the wearer to go as elaborate and fancy as he or she may desire, truly experiencing the effects of the art, as some of the designs that are out there are in a word, amazing.

Other forms of body art that also resemble tattooing without permanence are airbrushed on stencils and the use of henna, a natural dye that stains the skin temporarily.  These types of “tattoos” are temporary as well and last anywhere from 5-10 days, depending on what type of ink, dye or paint is used.  In any case, these techniques allow the wearer to experiment with body art without any fear or regret.  An added bonus is that new designs and patterns can be used at any time.  What could be better?

Our complete line of face and body paint, stencils, airbrushes as well as other body painting supplies will get you started in experimenting with this exciting and dynamic form of artistic expression.  From the simplest designs to those that are very advanced and more elaborate, body art is here to stay.  Jazz up your best costume look with some of these easily created and fabulous techniques!