In 2016, I had the good fortune of competing in the biggest bodypainting competition in the Western Hemisphere—Living Art America’s North American Bodypainting Championship, which was held at the Greensboro Coliseum in North Carolina. A panel of experts rigorously screens artists worldwide, and I was surprised as anybody that the panel thought my work worthy of entry. I couldn’t afford to travel to the competition on my own, so I enlisted friends, family, and art supporters to donate to my cause in a GoFund me campaign.
When I finally arrived, I realized I might be in deep water when I learned that everyone had an assistant for the event, and I was without one. How would I complete the painting by myself when all other participants had double the work hands? I went to the meet and greet that first night to get advice. I met bodypainter extraordinaire, Liliana Sepulveda Hopman, who painted me up and I began to relax. I was with my kin, my comrades in the strange biz we found ourselves in, and I knew I would be ok. And I loved what she painted on me… Now I finally knew what it felt like when the kids I face paint say, “Mommy, I’m not taking a bath tonight!!” #northamericanbodypaintingchampionship #bodypainting #lilianasepulvedahopman #facepainting #tats #bodyart
I found an assistant within a day, Catherine Rocheleau Maquilleuse, who also needed one herself. An incredible artist and people-painter from Canada, I had been blessed. I don’t know what I would have done without her.
I was still stressed out to say the least. Craig Tracy and Robin Slonina from Skin Wars were going to be judging, and from the looks of the artists’ supplies around me, I dreadfully realized I was one of the only few artists using only brush and sponge. The rest of the group from around the world had air compressors for air brushing, which can speed up highlighting and detail work. Thank goodness I had that extra set of hands.
The time had come to throw myself in the ring, and do what I could–only my best. I learned a lot from the experience, and was not as prepared as I would have liked to have been because of so many commitments to my other artistic projects before entering, but my model Jessica Monroe was superb in her professionalism and her enthusiasm for the goal.
It was a nerve-wrecking experience. Competing was always one of my favorite aspects of committing to the world of bodypainting. And working alongside the best in the world was incredibly beneficial to me in helping me grow into a better artist. As well as humbling because I realized I still had a lot more to learn. But I am thankful for the experience, and am indebted to all those who supported my trip in donating to my GoFund me campaign. I am deeply thankful to all those special individuals who were willing to support the creation of art!