Skin Deep Models Become Walking Canvases at Bodypainting Festival

Naked models were turned into an artistic medium at the fourth German Bodypainting Festival this weekend. Among the creations were futuristic androids and even a "Bavarian extraterrestrial."

Naked women have always played a central role in Western art. For centuries artists have been using nude models as a subject in a quest to hone their skills and pay tribute to the beauty of the human form. Now the latest thing -- at least in the exotic genre of bodypainting -- is to use the models themselves as a medium.

Fifty-five artists from Europe and beyond gathered for the fourth annual German Bodypainting Festival this weekend in the German town of Ingelheim am Rhein -- the "German capital of bodypainting," according to organizers Peter and Jörg Tronser.

The motto of this year's festival was "Exotic Beauty," and models were transformed into fantastic landscapes, futuristic androids and even what was described as a "Bavarian extraterrestrial."

The artists, who came from Israel, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland as well as Germany, used theatrical make-up which is resistant to sweat but comes off easily in the shower. The models were naked except for tiny thongs and had to stand completely still for hours as the fantastic creations were painted onto their bodies.

The weather over the weekend was cold, and models were reported to have goose bumps. Most of the models were female, although one man also offered up his body as a canvas.

Karin from Switzerland told the news agency DPA that she didn't have any inhibitions about turning her body into a canvas. "I don't mind taking my clothes off, because I work as a naked model in my free time," said the 29-year-old model, who is a technical draftswoman in her day job.



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