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Adrienn Levai with a full body paint

Bodypainting (or body painting) is the art of painting on a human body.


Bodypainting is considered as one of the most ancient forms of art and has a long tradition in most countries of the world, especially on the African continent. From the beginning, it also included the application of colours to the female breast. For example, the Himba, an African ethnic group living in Northern Namibia, use a mixture of butter fat and red ochre to protect their bodies against the harsh desert climate. Himba women usually do not cover their breasts and are known for their unusual sculptural beauty.[1]

Besides this kind of full bodypainting, people in Africa and all over the world have many variants of traditional bodypainting for purposes like ceremonies, ritual events and for warriors (generally men).

Busty Himba women with their typical ochre bodypainting
A busty Surma woman with painted breasts in Ethiopia
A busty Krahô woman with painted breasts in northeastern Brazil[2]


In erotic and big bust art, there are different styles of bodypaiting:

Painting the whole body in a single colour

This distracts the focus from superficial colour details to the form of the body. The technique is often used to give a body a statuesque appearance. Big breasts can be accentuated in a considerable way, especially when using shiny colours. This kind of bodypainting is often used in fine art as well as fetish photography. In 2008, Muffia, a division of Reality Kings, seized the subject and produced Star Trix, a pornographic parody of the Star Trek series starring Jayden Jaymes as an alien with green skin.[3]

Dita von Teese in a half-ready silver bodypainting
Photo: Peter W. Czernich
Bodypainting: Walter Stein
Dita von Teese showing the final result
Photo: Peter W. Czernich
Bodypainting: Walter Stein
Jayden Jaymes with green skin in Star Trix

Painted clothes

This allows breasts to appear clothed despite of being shown nude and is is often used for commercial, but also for adult photography. One of the best-known examples of painted clothes and perhaps of modern bodypainting artwork in general[4] is the Demi's Birthday Suit cover photo of the August 1992 issue of Vanity Fair showing Demi Moore wearing nothing but a painted suit.

In 2008, photographer Ron Marsh shot Amberly Ash as a bodypainting version of the comic character Jessica Rabbit with the red dress painted on her body.

Demi Moore in a painted suit
Photo: Annie Leibovitz
Bodypainting: Joanne Gair
The famous Vanity Fair cover of Demi Moore
Photo: Annie Leibovitz
Bodypainting: Joanne Gair
Amberly Ash as Jessica Rabbit
Photo: Ron Marsh
A painted clothes example from the adult industry
Model: Danielle Derek
A busty participant of the 2008 Fantasy Fest with a painted top

Partial bodypainting

For this variation, only parts of the body are painted or the body is covered with smaller drawings, leaving most of the skin natural.

Heidi Klum with butterflies and flowers all over her body
Bodypainting: Joanne Gair
Lil' Kim with Louis Vuitton logos painted on her body
Photo: David LaChapelle
Jenna Doll with flowers painted on her breasts
Kelsi Monroe, Shae Summers, and Veronica Rodriguez in soccer themed lesbian threesome

Colour smearing

Sometimes colour is simply smeared on breasts or the whole body, more for the feeling of it rather than aiming at really painting the skin. In adult pictorials and films, the painting procedure itself is often shown too and becomes part of the sexual act, mostly ending in hardcore play.

Amber Lynn Bach in a pictorial with real dispersion paint "accidentally" smeared on her body
Chloe Veria with colour smeared on her breasts and body
Kelly Madison in a bodypainting hardcore scene

Human graffiti

Aspen Stevens with human graffiti for
Makayla Cox with human graffiti for
Ava Fiore with human graffiti for her social media videos

Techniques and colour types

Brush and sponge

A brush is a device with bristles or other filaments used for applying the paint to the model's skin. It allows the bodypainter to draw fine details as well as larger designs, but often leaves visible traces. For larger areas of a single colour, a sponge is often preferred . This tool consists of porous material and can take more colour than a brush, making larger colour areas look more consistent.

A bodypainter working with a busty model at the 2005 World Bodypainting Festival in Seeboden, Austria...
...and adding more details with her brush

A busty participant of the 2008 New York Village Halloween Parade having her breasts painted with a brush...
...and presenting the result among other painted participants


An airbrush is an air-operated tool that sprays the paint on the model's body by a process of nebulization. This allows smooth colour transitions and a consistent thin covering of the skin without brush traces.

Model Michiko getting an airbrush bodypainting at the 2008 German Bodypainting Festival in Mainz, Germany...
...and presenting the result
Bodypainter Marco Licata working on his airbrush project at the 2006 World Bodypainting Festival in Seeboden, Austria
The final result: an homage to a painting by the Belgian surrealist René Magritte
Photo: Vanjo Grobljar
Le fils de l'homme (1964) by René Magritte


Fingerpaint is usually made for small children to provide an easy way for them to paint without further tools. It typically comes in pots and is applied with the fingers. It has, however, also found its way into adult photography.

Karina Hart with a pot of fingerpaint
Lana Brooke applying fingerpaint

Liquid latex

Liquid latex is a special material that works like a colour when painted onto the body, but becomes a garment and can be worn like clothing after drying.

Le Bell in a liquid latex top and a "real" latex skirt
Red in a tube top made of liquid latex
Fabiola Campomanes wearing gloves made of liquid latex


At some occasions, powder is used for bodypainting purposes. At South American carnival events like the Rio or São Paulo Carnival for example, bronze or gold powder is often used in combination with oil to add a glittering effect to the dancers' shiny skin. Canadian photographer Martin Perreault used graphite powder as a theme for a pictorial with Bianca Beauchamp, and German bodypainter Walter Stein even sells the gold and silver powder he developed as a base for his very consistent and smooth body paint.[5]

Renata Frisson having bronze powder applied to her breasts at the 2009 Rio Carnival
Bianca Beauchamp in a fine art study with graphite and oil
Photo: Martin Perreault

Other substances

Brooke Burke with beaten gold on her body

Apart from different kinds of colour, powder and rare cases of beaten gold applied to a woman's skin, other fluids are often used for fine art and adult pictorials. This technique comes close to colour smearing (see above), but the original function of the substance is mostly not to provide colour, but it is used for its viscous and shiny properties.

The line between decorating ("painting") a body and the mere pleasure of smearing liquids on it without wanting to achieve a certain result is hard to draw. Several websites have emerged that focus on the "messy" or "splosh" fetish, i. e. covering the body with various (mostly gooey or viscous and often edible) liquids to create sexual arousal. Mud wrestling can also be regarded as a niche in this field, as the goal of winning a fight often becomes less important for the spectators than seeing the fighters covered with mud and exposing their breasts. Wax play, on the other hand, is often seen in BDSM contexts, because it mostly hurts when poured over naked breasts. Another popular topic is the shiny appearance of wet breasts as such, be it by water, oil or body fluids like sperm or urine.


Linsey Dawn McKenzie covered with blue plaster
Milena Velba's breasts covered with wallpaper paste
Photo: Bernd Daktari Lorenz
Eden Mor (left) and Nadine Jansen in a mud fight
Photo: Bernd Daktari Lorenz
Susan Wayland pouring wax over her breasts
Photo: Norman Richter


Yvette Leigh's body decorated with sugar icing
Faith smearing ice cream over her body
Dana smearing yoghurt over her body
Chloe Vevrier with chocolate sauce smeared on her breasts
Merilyn Sakova pouring milk over her body

Bodypainting in public

While many bodypaintings are made for studio photography, they are also used at public occasions.

Bodypainting festivals

Bodypainting festivals have become popular events where both amateur and professional meet to show their works and often compete in contests. The World Bodypainting Festival in Seeboden, Austria, has become the biggest festival of this kind, attracting thousands of participants and visitors each year. Other popular events are the American Body Arts Festival in New York, USA, or the German Bodypainting Festival in Mainz, Germany, or the Face and Body Art International Convention in Orlando, Florida, USA.

A busty model at the 2007 World Bodypainting Festival in Seeboden
A busty participant of a body-
painting festival
Lidiya Krasnorujeva participanting to a bodypainting festival

Parades and events

Many parades and events throughout the world have developed quite lax clothing habits, with participants showing their breasts or decorating their bodies with bodypainting.

Rio Carnival

Ângela Bismarchi with an ornamental bodypainting at the 2007 Rio Carnival
A busty 2008 Rio Carnival dancer with painted breasts
Viviane Castro with a portrait of US president Barack Obama painted on her leg at the 2009 Rio Carnival
Lívia Andrade with silver breasts displayed in an open bust outfit at the 2009 Rio Carnival

São Paulo Carnival

A busty 2008 São Paulo Carnival dancer with a full bodypainting
A busty 2008 São Paulo Carnival dancer with a bodypainting
A busty 2009 São Paulo Carnival dancer with painted nipples

Mardi Gras

A busty 2003 Mardi Gras participant with a bodypainting
A busty 2004 Mardi Gras participant with a butterfly bodypainting and pierced nipples
A busty 2005 Mardi Gras participant with painted breasts
A busty 2009 Mardi Gras participant with a bodypainting

Fantasy Fest

The Fantasy Fest is a street party held annually on the last week of October in Key West, Florida, USA. It started in 1979 as a party, but soon acquired a life of its own and grew to more than 100.000 visitors and participants. The celebration now lasts ten days and includes balls, costume competitions, AIDS fundraisers, bodypainting, drag queen contests and costume parties, culminating in a big parade where people wear humorous and fantasy outfits.

The clothing of the participants is often very revealing and comprises a great variety of erotic outfits, including deep cleavage, transparent and open bust clothes, painted breasts and bodies, pasties, nipple tape, nipple shields and nipple chains. Some participants simply go topless or wear only a bodypainting on their nude bodies.

The "Bodypainting Lady" with a painted top at the 2004 Fantasy Fest
A busty 2006 Fantasy Fest participant with painted breasts
Violetta Storms with a leopard bodypainting at the 2007 Fantasy Fest
The "Pasties Lady" with a painted top at the 2007 Fantasy Fest


The Loveparade started as a kind of political movement in the summer of 1989 in Berlin, Germany, four months before the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was organised by Matthias Roeingh, known as "Dr. Motte", "a DJ of the Berlin underground scene who wanted to use the international language of music as a medium for spreading peace and love, and promoting world unity." Since then, the Loveparade has grown into the world's biggest techno dance festival[6] with 1.6 million participants in 2008.[7] As a result of the general love slogan and with increasing commercialisation, more and more people who were not originally involved in the raver scene were attracted to the festival, and the number of commercial bodypaintings increased.

A busty 2007 Loveparade participant in Essen, Germany, with a commercial bodypainting
A busty 2007 Loveparade participant with painted breasts
A busty 2008 Loveparade participant in Dortmund, Germany, with a painted, nearly washed away top

Street Parade

Busty 2005 Street Parade participants with painted breasts
A busty 2007 Street Parade participant painted in gold

Bike rides

Public bike ride events have become a more and more frequent means of expressing political views as well as showing naked bodies, often in combination with bodypainting.

The Solstice Cyclists (also known as The Painted [Naked] Cyclists of the Solstice Parade or The Painted Cyclists) is an artistic, non-political bike ride which constitues the unofficial start of the Summer Solstice Parade and Pageant, an annual event sponsored and produced by the Fremont Arts Council (FAC), Seattle, Washington. The parade was started in 1989 by Barbara Luecke and Peter Toms and quickly grew to thousands of spectators and hundreds of participants.[8] The Solstice Cyclists have originally emerged from streakers who crashed the parade, but over the years, the bike ride became a discrete part of the event, with participants emphasising bodypainting and other forms of creative artistry done in the spirit of the parade.

The Critical Tits ride started in 1996 at the annual Burning Man event in the Black Rock Desert, in Northern Nevada, USA. On a day when the Critical Mass bike ride was taking place in San Francisco, five female participants of the Burning Man festival painted their chests, got on their bikes and rode through the camp shouting "Critical Tits." Each year since then the ride has more or less doubled in size. In 2008 there were more than 5.000 riders.[9]

The Sidney Body Art Ride is an annual event held in the middle of February in Sydney, Australia. The essential idea behind it is an art project from Jake Lloyd Jones called The Human Rainbow.[10] It consists of hundreds of painted cyclists riding in groups to form a rainbow that travels through the city to a beach where the riders march into the sea and wash off the paint. 100 % of the funds raised go to the Children's Cancer Institute Australia.[11]

A busty 2006 Solstice Cyclist
A busty 2007 Solstice Cyclist
A busty 2007 Solstice Cyclist
A busty 2007 Solstice Cyclist

Busty participants at the 2001 Critical Tits bike ride[12]
Sydney Body Art Ride participants forming the Human Rainbow
A busty 2009 Sydney Body Art Ride participant

Fashion shows

One of the first combinations of bodypainting with fashion was the midnight blue Crêpe Dress designed by famous Yves Saint Laurent from his autumn/winter 1969 collection.[13] It is an open bust dress combined with a gilded metallic breastplate created by sculptor Claude Lalanne. The breastplate was a mold of the breasts of Veruschka, a model from the 1960s,[14] which was usually replaced by golden body paint at fashion shows.[15][16] The dress, which is today considered as one of Saint Laurent's "most dramatic outfits",[14] was presented again by Yfke Sturm[16] at the retrospective fashion show of Yves Saint Laurent on January 22, 2002,[17] in Paris.

The Crêpe Dress together with Claude Lalanne's breastplate
One of the first photos of the original Crêpe Dress from 1969
Yfke Sturm (left) wearing the Crêpe Dress at the 2002 retrospective of Yves Saint Laurent in Paris

From then on, bodypainting has been added many times to fashion shows to give them a special touch or to simply attract attention:

  • On September 3, 2008, Davorka Tovilo takes part in a show by the Bavarian traditional clothing manufacturer Angermaier on behalf of the Munich Oktoberfest.[18] Unlike the other models, she is only wearing panties with the rest of the clothes painted on her body.
  • On October 12, 2008, the American jewellery manufacturer Bullets 4 Peace launches the label with a presentation in Hollywood that even shows all models in bodypainting,[19] some of them wearing panties, others completely naked.
Davorka Tovilo with painted clothes at the 2008 Angermaier fashion show in Munich
A busty model at the 2008 Bullets 4 Peace fashion show in Hollywood

Promotion and advertisement

As painted breasts are still "covered" and not completely nude, many companies started to use painted busty female models as a medium for advertising and promoting their brands and logos.

  • In March 8, 2006, the South Korean mobile phone company VK Mobile shows painted models to promote their products at the CeBIT trade fair in Hannover, Germany.[20]
  • From September 29 to 30, 2006, American bodypainter Mark Greenawalt creates several bodypaintings at the Mr. Olympia event in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, for the booth of ThermoLife International, a supplier of bodybuilding suppliments.[21]
  • In 2008, the South African advertising agency Grey South Africa launches a campaign for the Lifestyle brand to promote their ultra thin panty liners, showing nude busty women with painted clothes.[22] Although the authenticity of the bodypainting was discussed,[23][24][25] the campaign received considerable attention throughout the world.
Painted models promoting VK Mobile at the CeBIT 2006
A promotional bodypainting for ThermoLife
Model: Beata
Bodypainting and photo: Mark Greenawalt
A photo from the 2008 Lifestyle Ultra Thin Panty Liners campaign

A busty participant of the 2007 Fantasy Fest in Key West, Florida, USA, with a promotional bodypainting for
Marta Zawadzka with a promotional bodypainting for Shell
A busty model with a promotional bodypainting for Perrier (curiously carrying a Coca Cola bottle)


Bodypainting has also become popular in sports, especially soccer. Many fans paint their faces in the colours of their favourite team, and sometimes women even show themselves in a soccer jersey painted on their body. On June 15, 2008, the SexySoccer 2008 match was organised in Vienna, Austria. The two teams, Austria and Germany, consisted only of female players with outfits painted on their skin.[26] The popularity of bodypainting combined with soccer even lead to the creation of two hardcore websites dedicated to female performers wearing painted soccer outfits: Sex-WorldCup 2006 and SexEuroCup, both run by DDF Productions.

Sara Luengo with a partial bodypainting supporting Spain
A busty Italian fan showing her painted jersey at a soccer game
The Austrian team at the SexySoccer 2008 match
Caylian Curtis in a painted soccer outfit posing for SexEuroCup

Free galleries

Colour smearing
Other fluids
Bodypainting in public
  • Picture gallery of the SexySoccer 2008 match
  • Picture galleries (groups A, B, C, D) at SexEuroCup

Free movies

See also

External links


  1. Jupke, Peter. Country and People of Namibia. Hunting-Portal Namibia. Retrieved on 2009-04-03.
  2. Indians in the state of Tocantins. Retrieved on 2009-04-04.
  3. Naked Movie Previews Star Trix Gallery. Max Porno. Retrieved on 2009-04-04.
  4. Singer, Natasha (2006-02-02). A Real Body of Work. The New York Times. Retrieved on 2008-11-23.
  5. Stein, Walter. Goldfingers Gold - und Silberfarbe (German). Retrieved on 2009-04-04. (Google translation)
  6. Berlin Love Parade - The Death of Dance?. Berlin Life. Lifeboat Limited. Retrieved on 2009-03-07.
  7. Loveparade bricht Besucherrekord (German). City of Dortmund. Retrieved on 2009-03-07. (Google translation)
  8. Burton, Lynsi (2008-06-19). 'Warts and all,' Fremont Solstice Parade continues surprises for 20 years. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved on 2009-03-08.
  9. Critical Tits Party FAQs. Retrieved on 2009-03-08.
  10. Jones, Christopher (2009-02-03). Sydney Body Art Ride. Bicycles Network Australia. Retrieved on 2009-03-09.
  11. Sydney Body Art Ride - Why Ride?. Retrieved on 2009-03-09.
  12. Templeton, Brad. Critical Tits. Retrieved on 2009-03-08.
  13. "Fall-Winter 1969 - Persian Carpet Coat and Oriental Lamé Dress" entry at 1962-1970 - Couture. Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent Foundation. Retrieved on 2008-12-03.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Menkes, Suzy (2004-03-05). Saint Laurent reborn. International Herald Tribune. Retrieved on 2008-12-03.
  15. Jackson, Sacha (2008-06-04). Made to measure. Montreal Mirror. Retrieved on 2008-12-03.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Lebrun, Caroline (2008-06-05). YSL, l'homme qui a modernisé la femme: Moulages habillés de mousseline (French). 01men. Retrieved on 2008-12-03. (Google translation)
  17. Todd, Stephen (2002-01-22). Yves Saint Laurent Spring 2002 Couture Collection. Retrieved on 2008-12-03.
  18. Schmitz, Martin. Wiesn-Modenschau: der Angermaier Wiesn-Auftakt (German). Retrieved on 2008-11-25. (Google translation)
  19. BodyArt fashion show Bullet 4 Peace Who is next What is next. Human Body Art & Paintings (2008-10-14). Retrieved on 2008-11-25.
  20. More photos from CeBIT. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved on 2009-03-08.
  21. Greenawalt, Mark (2006). Painted models in Thermolife Booth at Mr. Olympia Convention in Las Vegas. Retrieved on 2009-03-08.
  22. Macleod, Duncan (2008-02-27). Lifestyle Ultra Thin Body Painting. The Inspiration Room. Retrieved on 2009-03-08.
  23. Body Painting Ad Prints. Ad Sneeze (2008-02-27). Retrieved on 2009-03-08.
  24. Vu, Tam (2008-02-20). Lifestyle: Ultra Thin Panty Liners. KiwiPulse. Retrieved on 2009-03-08.
  25. Rehmeier, Mirco (2008-05-12). Nackte Frauen und Body Painting (German). Retrieved on 2009-03-08. (Google translation)
  26. SexySoccer 2008 website (German). Retrieved on 2008-12-05. (Google translation)