Living Canvas: Painted Up Down Under


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Body Painters Create Walking Works of Art at Australian Body Art Carnivale - AOL News

(May 18) -- Some artists work with canvas -- others prefer skin.

Some of the world's top body painters gathered in Oz over the weekend, where they turned humans into living works of fantasy at the Australian Body Art Carnivale 2010 in Eumundi.

It takes patience, a steady hand and even more patience to create these walking works -- some full-body paintings can take all day to complete. The artists use a combination of airbrushes, paintbrushes and makeup brushes to get the designs and textures just right.

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Dewayne Flowers, a U.S. body painter who was not at the event, says he can spend up to eight hours creating designs similar to the ones you see here.

Flowers, who is based in Georgia, says body art paints are generally nontoxic water-based paints that wash off easily. And while body painting may look like a recipe for a rash, Flowers says he's never seen a bad skin reaction.

Like many body artists, Flowers got his start in more traditional art -- but found that he didn't always have the attention span to finish a complete work on canvas.

"I can paint a canvas and walk away from it and get bored with it," he says. "A canvas won't tell you to come back and finish the job, but a person will."

Of course, a canvas isn't footing the bill -- and when it comes to body art, the bills can add up quickly when you consider how temporary the work is. But Flowers, who charges between $200 and $1,200 for a body painting session, says that's the wrong way to look at it.

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"Just because it didn't take two weeks or three months to paint on canvas doesn't make it any less valuable," says Flowers. "There's still an artistic vision and effort and talent that went into the painting."

The theme of this year's event in Australia was "fantasy," which means the streets of Eumundi saw plenty of fairies, elves, plant-people and made-up creatures over the weekend. Blogger Lisa Hayes captured the scene on her site, "A Life of Unlimited Possibilities."

The three-day event, which began in 2007, also featured pavement art, vehicle art and wearable art made of recycled or secondhand materials.