Human bodies become exotic animals and crashed cars, or blend almost seamlessly into intricate backgrounds, with careful application of body paint and a bit of acrobatics. These 31 works of art turn people into living canvases, sometimes celebrating the graceful shapes and movement of their bodies, and at other times, disguising it.
Alexa Meade’s 2D Paintings on 3D People
Those aren’t two-dimensional paintings on a flat surface; they’re real, live people transformed into human canvases by artist Alexa Meade. “The models are transformed into embodiments of the artist’s interpretation of their essence,” says Meade. “When captured on film, the living, breathing people underneath the paint disappear, overshadowed by the masks of themselves.
Wallpaper People by Emma Hack
Painted models virtually disappear into patterned backgrounds in works by artist Emma Hack. The models must be painstakingly hand-painted to match up perfectly with backgrounds that are often very complex, and then remain perfectly still so the scene can be photographed. It can take as long as nineteen hours to apply the makeup for a single scene.
Human Animals by Gesine Marwedel
The graceful, flexible bodies of performance artists are an ideal medium for artist Gesine Marwedel, who uses paint to turn them into animals like flamingos, dolphins, hummingbirds and tigers. “Body painting is not just paint on a living canvas, it is picking up the body shapes in a subject and the painting on the body,” Marwedel told PSFK. “It is the transformation of a human being into a breathing, moving, living work of art.”
Painted Alive: Brilliant Work by Craig Tracy
Owner of the world’s first gallery dedicated to fine art body painting (located in New Orleans), Craig Tracy creates his own beautiful and surreal body painting portraits that blend human models into backgrounds or turn them into psychedelic works of art. Rather than hiding the models, however, Tracy celebrates the shapes of their bodies, often exaggerating them and using them for creative effect.