Human Canvas - The Art of Body Painting
From transforming into a mermaid, siren goddess to bringing The Joker back to life, budding body painter Nina Nettle utilizes the canvas she knows best: herself. As a student at Vancouver’s respected Blanche MacDonald Fashion Makeup Esthetics School, Nina is forging an uncommon career in the art of body painting. We sit down with Nina as she offers a glimpse into the art of painting in and on your birthday suit.
Even within the ream of painting, body painting seems to be on the fringe of people's consciousness when it comes to forging a career in art. What made you want to pursue body painting?
HAPPINESS. Having a full time job drained me and I didn’t want to do anything when I got home. I rarely had 2 consecutive days off so doing a 12-hour paint job was also draining. I loved my job but I like painting more. My family and friends were the ones who pushed me to go back to school to do this as a career, and I'm glad they did. I'm 2 months into school and I haven't been this happy or had this much drive in a long time.
Do you think body painting is a craft that warrants more attention in the realm of art?
Definitely! It's an incredibly difficult art that takes an incredible amount of patience.
With reality TV shows like Face Off and Skin Wars gaining popularity there is an equally growing interest in body art. What do you think of these shows and could you see yourself being a contestant on one of those programs?
I love both these shows! I think anyone who is a contestant is extremely lucky as they take a lot away from it. It pushes each contestant to work on timing, creativity, and trouble-shooting, which are all things I have to work on myself. It would be amazing to be a part of either of these shows.
Obviously, the human body is unique to every person, meaning that your canvas is never the same. What do you think is the biggest challenge to painting on skin?
Painting anyone else but yourself! In my opinion, painting someone else is a completely different art. Painting a straight line is probably the biggest challenge.
I would be hard pressed to name a single well-known, distinguished body painter (though I discovered Joanne Gair doing research for this interview). Who are the artists that you gain inspiration from?
Johannes Stoetter is the first person to really grab me with his art.
What is a design and/or concept that you haven't created yet, but wish to conquer?
Since I'm so inspired by Johannes I really want to create a look with more than 1 person and really use the human body to my advantage.
Let's get hypothetical. Transport yourself to the future. We all have ideas of what success means in certain industries. A lawyer might make partner, an actress may win an Academy award, and a scientist might sell his patent. What would make you feel as though you had 'made it' in your industry?
Now that's a tough one! Don't get me wrong, receiving an award for doing what I love would be great, but putting on a show of my work would be extremely satisfying.
What would be your biggest piece of advice to those who wish to become a body painter, but are second guessing how to make a viable career out of it?
If [body painting] is something that truly makes you happy then do what ever it takes to get yourself there. Starting is the hardest part, not the long hours, not the crazy schedule. I second-guessed my career change for 2 years! Finally, I just stopped thinking about the "what if" and took the plunge. No more ifs ands or buts, just do it!
It's a dream sequence. Who is your idea celebrity male and female canvass?
Charlize Theron and Matt Damon.
Nina Nettle information and inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org