Body Image and Body Paint
Zebra Body Paint Key West Fantasy Fest by Body Painter Jennifer Montgomery
When it comes to body painting , I’ve learned that body image is a big factor for many of the women I’ve body painted . It’s understandeable, as body painting puts us in a vulnerable position … Getting painted , typically by a stranger ….naked . Furthermore , the images and messages we are fed by the media and society in general put pressure on women to look a particular way or be a certain size to be considered beautiful, feminine, sexy ,etc….. all of which I’ve found is certainly NOT the norm . Through the art of body painting, I’ve discovered that those airbrushed images we see in magazines , online , and on billboards and advertisements are simply not authentic . It was during my very first body painting that I really discovered this . I was painting a very beautiful , slender model whom was also a mother . During the painting ,she was criticizing her stretch marks from giving birth . I thought she was beautiful and hoped she would honor herself more. The end result of the painting was that she loved her art,she rocked it in the photoshoot and the “imperfections” were airbrushed out during editing. I was grateful for the experience. As a woman that struggled with an eating disorder in my past,I was always very sensitive to body image. I used to read fashion magazines and honestly believed that the models were naturally flawless. The truth is,those images are exactly that -“images”. They are manipulated and airbrushed to create a look or a desired artistic result . While I’m not criticizing that, being behind the scenes practicing my art has helped me gain perspective.
A recent experience with a first time Fantasy Fest partygoer in Key West really resonated with me . It was her first body paint experience for this event. I was told by her friend ,that is an annual body paint client ,that she was a bit apprehensive about the process initially. After some design planning and conversation during the process , she warmed up to the idea. Her design was a zebra print which coordinated with a skirt she was wearing . The results were amazing … She absolutely loved her body paint which ended up matching her skirt just beautifully, it looked like it was a one piece dress when all was completed!! I was so happy for her and with the results. I was proud of the courage to go through with getting body painted and to the privilege to display my work on her body. The thing is, this art is an interactive process. I go with the flow of the process and at times am equally unsure of how it may turn out. When my client is thrilled with the art, that makes me happy.
I love my job and I especially love when a woman takes absolute delight in herself after seeing her body painted . I connect with so many beautiful ladies in my body paint experiences and feel absolute joy when they love how they feel after being body painted. In my opinion , all women are beautiful. It’s a mindset and a feeling rather than looking a particular way as far as I’m concerned . I think we should all feel amazing in our skin and celebrate who we are . Thank you to everyone that offers me the opportunity to learn , grow and connect through sharing my art – it means so much to me to have a job that I appreciate .