The New Zealand Body Art Showcase and Awards for 2018 celebrated a sold out 10th Anniversary show at Auckland’s Q Theatre’s Rangatira on Sept. 1. At the New Zealand Body Art Showcase and Awards the focus is on the performance as well as the artistry.

The Body Art Trust has conceived a show that tells a story from beginning to end. This year’s theme was “water.” The categories included: pollution, floating, submerged (an ultraviolet paint-only section), destroyer and resource. Models performed in painted and decorated glory across the stage in choreographed procession. This was all accomplished through many dedicated months of work.

Final Prep

On the evening of Aug. 31, teams of two to three (consisting of an artist, model and maybe an assistant) arrived at the Q Theatre. Consent forms were addressed. Complex individual choreographic notes were then given in order of appearance by Nancy Schroder, director of the Auckland Academy of Dance. With the choreography finalized and the spaces set up with tables, tarpaulins and tools, the teams departed, either to head to bed early or to while away into the small hours of the morning working on the finishing touches of their art.

Beginning slightly earlier than 8 o’clock in the morning on Saturday the teams returned to their stations to prepare for the day. Tools, paints, make-up, prosthetics, costume and props were organized for Act One. The energy in the painting room was focused yet relaxed.

Then the painting began.

Throughout the day the models changed from their human forms into water-inspired beings, coral reefs, sea critters and mythical creatures. With brushes down, Act One’s pieces were ready and Act Two followed suit shortly after.

Artists and models headed into a room for their pieces to be professionally photographed by Gino Demeer from Cactus Photography. Then the judges sat front and center as the models moved across the stage. Every detail was scrutinized.

Each judge used their personal experience in the industry and their long-standing familiarity with the show to carefully formulate their assessments of the body artwork and performance.

With the dress rehearsal over and judging over, it was then show time. The show opened with a dance, floating through Act One as the models submerged themselves into their characters. Paintings with visual messages about plastic littering the ocean, koi fish ponds and shipwrecks flowed seamlessly into Act Two, showcasing Taniwha and water-pipe inspired designs. The night was filled with unique concepts executed with finesse, leaving nobody unimpressed.

The Winners

Prize winners were announced as follows: Pollution Winner: Andrea Hows; Floating Winner: Hazel Munroe; Submerged Winner: Olivia Howard; Destroyer Winner: Stephanie Kendall; Resource Winner: Nastassja Benefeld; and Best Emerging Artist: Laura Stables. The Supreme Award winners were announced as: Outstanding Youth: Emma Van Santen; Supreme Performance: Lucy Lynch (model to Andrea Hows); Supreme UV Body Paint: Olivia Howard; Supreme Body Paint: Hayley Tamaka; Supreme Special Effects: Louise Paterson; and the Supreme Overall Winner: Andrea Hows.

Applause erupted the theater for the effort from the extremely talented artists. Even those leaving without prizes should feel proud of themselves for all their hard work and preparation for the show. The audience was left with the announcement for the theme for next year’s show by the director and creator Mem Bourke: The Song of Eve Myths and Legends, Past, Present and Future.

A decade for the New Zealand Body Art Showcase and Awards was celebrated that night, but with the theme for next year lingering in the minds of the artists, the next chapter has begun.

Read more about body painters around the world in our newest edition of Make-Up Artist magazine, Issue 134