FROM LEFT: Chad Washam, model Victoria Schmidt as female Drax character, Shelby Patton and Kristen Smith | Photo courtesy of Eric Anderson
FROM LEFT: Chad Washam, model Victoria Schmidt as female Drax character, Shelby Patton and Kristen Smith | Photo courtesy of Eric Anderson

European Body Art had plenty to celebrate at its July 25 open house, including the new art gallery it has added to its Costa Mesa, Calif. facility. But to company owners Jaro Turek and his wife, Stacy Nielsen, the event was more about its guests: make-up artists, industry professionals, friends and family.

“The reason we’re here today is you guys,” Turek, the company’s CEO, told the crowd of approximately 100.  “We want to tell you how much we appreciate you and what you’ve done.”

It took a while for EBA’s eight-member team to make the space, which it took over from a fence distributor in 2014, its own. A sleek showroom was added. Facilities were installed to develop new formulas and manufacture product on site. During the process, the company introduced a new line of effects make-up to augment its body make-up brands. Both Turek and Nielsen felt the time had come to hold an open house and have some fun.

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(TOP ROW, FROM LEFT) Lenka Urbanova, Fredy Diaz, Jaro Turek, Alden Silvestre, Luis Abrajan, Anhuar Abrajan, Stacy Nielsen-Turek,
(BOTTOM ROW) Sammi Nielsen, Jonathan Ljunggren

“I wanted this evening to be friends and business partners getting together, having a good time and appreciating what we’ve all done,” Turek told Make-Up Artist magazine early in the evening.  “We forget to look back and assess what brought us to this point and look at the people who are part of it. This is why we are here today.”

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Model Victoria Schmidt as a female Drax character

Local make-up schools Make-up Designory and Cinema Makeup School were on hand to create a little magic, European Body Art style.

In one area, MUD instructor Chad Washum was busy at work with recent grads Shelby Patton (an IMATS 2015 Battle of the Brushes winner) and Kristen Smith putting the final touches to a body painting. “We’re doing a female version of the Drax character from Guardians of the Galaxy,” said Washum, estimating that, in all, the trio applied 13 separate silicone pieces. “Painted entirely with European Body Art.”

In the other room, CMS instructor Wendy Ann Rosen was overseeing a team that included Maryam KJ, Kristen Pruitt, Kodi Marx and Justine Reilly in a creation dubbed Joshua Tree.  This body painting featured white, jagged limbs set against a brown bark-inspired background that streaked from head to toe across model Danielle Babb. The creation was inspired by photographer Brian Leatart. Rosen had worked with him for a project titled Mannequin Menageries. “We replicated mannequins, using make-up,” says Rosen. “He [Leatart] asked me to interpret four different photos of Joshua Tree. This one is a little more abstract.”

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FROM LEFT: Kristen Pruitt, model Danielle Babb, Wendy Ann Rosen, Maryam KJ and Kodi Marx

Familiar faces in the crowd included make-up artists Tracey Anderson, Miranda Jory, John Goodwin, Carlton Coleman, Barry Koper, Bruce Spaulding Fuller and Naimie’s Beauty Center co-founder Sam Bekerian. Prizes were raffled off at various times, including EBA gift certificates and a limited edition autographed print by body painter Craig Tracy. Body painter Paul Roustan was on hand to autograph his book Roustan Body Paint for a raffle winner.

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Model Danielle Babb, with make-up by Kristin Pruitt, Maryam KJ and Kody Marx; Hair by Justine Reilly

But the star of the evening was the gallery. Only a month old, the newest edition to the European Body Art headquarters features work by such artists as Tracy, Goodwin, Roustan, Anastasia Durasova, Nix Herrera and Lisa Berczel, each displaying his or her unique talents using a European Body Art product.

“That’s a vision that Jaro has had for a very long time,” said Nielsen about the inspiration for the gallery. “I’m really excited about how it looks. These are artists that mean something to us. So it’s not just their artwork. It’s who they are. It’s very special to us to have their work in the gallery.”

“Every picture up here represents a different stage of the road we have taken over the past five years,” added Turek. “The expansion of European Body Art, the different points we’ve reached, are all up on that wall.”