First place World Facepainting Winner WBF 2014

photo by Kim Cannon, model: Helme Calfee

Another spectacular World Bodypainting Festival has drawn to a close and once again, we arrive back in the States refreshed, recharged and excited to pour our energy into Living Art America 2014. We hope you enjoy this collection of highlights and favorite moments. We want to thank Alex Barendregt and his crew for another beautiful festival experience filled with excitement, vibrancy, amazing art and pure magic, created by artists from 48 countries. We enjoyed workshops offered through the Academy Program, another outrageous Body Circus and PINK Austria evening events, the world premiere of the “HOME of Bodypainters” movie, a fascinating Global Bodyart Conference, The Body Art Fashion Show by Karala B., live music and of course, the competitions!

The artists who created the most newsworthy buzz at the festival were definitely Americans and also LAA’s very own Scott Fray and Madelyn Greco! The pair had already made history last year as the first artists to take home consecutive first place trophies in three different World Award (the top distinction) categories. Many artists from around the world were quite curious to see what they had in mind this year. On Festival Friday, those questions were answered as the pair prepped five models (including Greco) in three hour’s time, for the World Award UV Show Category Competition.

Fourteen artists had just three minutes to make their stage presentations. With stunning video backdrop, an aerial silk performer, a performer first concealed by a burka that opened to reveal a stunning face, a massive showpiece fully painted bodybuilder, a petite performer who emerged from a prop carried onstage and a Lady Ga-Ga-esque Fluorescent Fox character spinning and dancing on roller skates covered in twinning lights, Scott and Madelyn’s Team LivingBrush brought the excitement! Their performance was enough to bring home that fourth first place win they had been seeking as well, in a massive 12 point victory over second. Madelyn offers a great in-depth piece on Livingbrush’s blog.

On Festival Saturday, some surprised eyebrows raised to see Fray walk into the prep tent for the Facepainting Classic Category, his fifth of the World Award competition categories to try. Scott and model Helme Calfee got down to business (well actually, we hear Helme caught a catnap) with a two-hour painting for the “Pop Art” theme. “Hot Rod Helme” wowed jury & festival-goers ALL day long as he stayed completely in character, thrilling new friends and fans. Scott beamed and waved as thousands of onlookers cheered his historic FIFTH first-place victory in a row, across five World Award Categories, accomplished in four year’s time!

The other great American story of the festival (and only other award for the US this year) was Trina Merry, who claimed the Installation Art Award, in it’s second year of presentation at the festival. Trina commanded a team of artists, producing painted models who moved delicately among a series of backdrops draped in the lush green of the surrounding Austrian landscape, for a one-hour presentation on the festival grounds.

Some of Living Art America’s 2013 Pro Category competitors captured top honors as well. Lorie Hamel of Canada pulled out a First Place win in the spectacular Special Effects Make-up Category. Alex Hansen of Brazil dominated the Airbrush Category, taking home first place (a trophy he created), as well. Riina Laine of Finland reached the pinnacle in the Brush and Sponge Category, capturing first place, while LAA’s 2013 Pro Category Champion Johannes Stotter (Italy) took second. Our Pro Category 5th Place Winner, Hyun Yong Jin (S. Korea) was a  finalist in Special Effects Category. Living Art America’s 2014 Emerging Artist Category Winner, American Cheryl Ann Lipstreau was a finalist finishing in 12th Place, in her first time in the pro Brush and Sponge Category. LAA Pro Competitor Deborah Brommer (USA) was another finalist in the Brush and Sponge Category, turning out beautiful work with assistant, Ashley Breaux. We were certainly proud of all of the work created by both our US-based artists, as well as our past and reigning champions from abroad.

After the awards ceremony and fireworks, another crazy Colorsplash Afterparty found people of many nations covering each other indicriminately in multiple layers and colors of paint, as the festival officially closed for another year.  Many artists and aficionados remained in Austria one more day to enjoy a “Mellow Monday” boat outing, waterpark visit and farewell dinner.  We will certainly carry all of the sights and sounds, as well as the wonderful warm feelings with us, as we move on to crafting our own brand of excitement for some of these same artists, as well as new contenders. We hope you ALL will join us for Living Art America, so please stay tuned!