By Mary Windsor, Staff Writer
Published in print Oct.8, 2014
The North American Body Painting Championship was hosted at The Elm Street Center Empire Room this past Sunday, September 28. 17Days art and culture festival revolved around this event for the year.
This competition is one of the largest of its kind, with artists are from all over the world, New Zealand, London, and Vienna, all gathered in Greensboro for this event.
In the afternoon, the artists were held in a large, open room with their supplies and models as they began to work.
They had two hours to create a fantastic design on a nude body before the runway show that evening. Supporters of the event were able to walk around and watch as the artists brushed, blotted and spray-painted in a fast frenzy to meet their deadline.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said one guest, Melinda Banes. “It’s amazing. I wish they had done more promotion for this event. Everyone needs to be here.”
The competing artists ranged from expert level, with experience and credentials, to locals who had stepped up to support Greensboro and were performing in this type of medium for the first time.
Angela Roberts, recent contestant on Skin Wars, a reality television competition for body painting, was present and competing as well. Her canvas was her fiancé.
This event catered to the older demographic in Greensboro that have been apart of the art scene for decades, but this event brought out the younger socialites who found out about the event though social media.
Kristina Parker, a 24-year-old stylist who dabbles in body painting, found out about this event through Facebook.
“This is all very cool,” said Parker. “I was surprised to see that we [as body painters] used the same products. I’m so glad I came out tonight, it was worth driving from Raleigh. I definitely will come to anther show like this one and spread the word as much as I can.”
That night, the line for the runway show was out the door. The hour wait to get in was worth the wait as the models took the stage in poise, grace, and confidence.
Showcasing their intricate and extravagant designs, the models strutted and interpretively danced down the runway with ease as viewers clapped, cheered, and encouraged them on.
Competitors were split between categories of experience: Emerging Artists and Professional. They were each given the same theme, “A Day in the Life,” but all of the models were drastically different from each other.
Many took this theme to heart and established emotional and sentimental pieces of art to capture their meaning, as they visually created fighting off their demons, mental illness, dealing with grief and overcoming cancer.
Others were sillier and used themes from hobbies or interests, such as Doctor Who, circus and carnies, forest fairies and even unicorns.
Mindy Reeves, a circus performer and model for the weekend, inspired her artist to create a circus inspired piece of art on her body. Harry Blair, an illustrator for The O’Henry Magazine was present as well, and came in seventh place in the competition of Professional Artists.
An avid 17Days supporter and Greensboro native, Mike Johnson, explained, “Art in every medium is important. It’s important to not sexualize these bodies and see them for what they are – fantastic creations that cannot be made on canvasses,” said Johnson. “Everyone should be exposed to this medium. Today has been fabulous, just fabulous.”
There were sixteen competing in the Emerging Artists category, and to place a vote, all guests must donate one dollar, which was then donated to 17Days to support local art in Greensboro.
This event was hosted and run by Scott Fray and Madelyn Greco who are five times world champions in the art of body painting.
They are the first and only artists to ever win all five World Awards.
The overall winners of the competition will be traveling to Atlanta Georgia to compete in the final installment of this competition.