We tracked down recent award-winner Carolyn Roper, a makeup and bodypaint artist. She creates extraordinary, swirling designs that are drenched with imagination and colour and she’s worked alongside pop stars and best friends. When you’re a bodypainter, every day is different…
Well done for your win at the 2007 World Body Painting Festival. What was your winning design?
My friend and fellow artist Carly and I planned the designs together. For the first day’s theme of ” In the Year 2525 ” we decided on Nostradamus and an end of the world scenario for the back of the model, combined with Mother Nature rebuilding the earth on the front of the model. We used striking colours particularly for the back, with the image of Nostradamus looking out from the sun, surrounded by bare branches, skulls and beetles. The front of the design had a lot of fine detail with painted orbs containing a fish, a bird, a beetle, a dragonfly and a foetus.
For the second day’s theme which was “Chaos v Control” our design was based on the Hindu Gods of Chaos and Control. We painted mainly in pink, purple and turquoise blue with a delicate Indian pattern over most of the front of the body as well as the arms and legs. The back of the design showed a large eye in the centre surrounded by planets and a Hindu God on a white horse emerging from the waves. The painting took 6 hours on each day.
What sort of things are contestants judged on in their designs at the Body Painting Festival?
The judges award points for the originality of the design, the choice of colours, the painting techniques used and the overall difficulty of the design.
Do you think there are particular artistic themes that bodypainting lends itself to really well?
I don’t think there are any particular artistic themes that lend themselves to bodypainting, most ideas can be adapted to suit the body.
What would your ideal next project be?
Ideally my next project would be an iconic bodypainting that is around for several years to come.
Who would be your ideal celebrity to bodypaint?
Possibly Christina Aguilera, for one of her music videos!
What sort of bodypainting design requests have you had? Any really weird ones?
I do get some weird requests…some for naked bodypainting which I don’t do, and I once had a request to paint a bride and groom for their wedding.
When a client commissions you to bodypaint, do they decided what you’re going to do, or do they leave you to it?
Some clients give me a very clear brief, but sometimes for promotions clients have a general idea of what they would like, but are happy to leave the finer details to me.
Have you ever been painted yourself?
I have! In 2005 I travelled to New Orleans to do a body painting collaboration with the American body artist Craig Tracy. He painted me first and then I painted him. The designs are complimentary and are based on the wrought iron work that is a feature of New Orleans architecture. You can see examples of the work in progress and the stunning finished results on the Events Gallery of my website,