One of the things Georgina Ryland loves most about body painting is that it doesn’t sit on a wall like a canvas. It breathes and moves around. It’s transformative. It’s a walking illusion. It’s a fashion statement.

This self-taught body painter fell in love with the art form after doing make-up for a Halloween look. She began doing face painting shortly thereafter, which quickly expanded to the whole body. Ryland has been body painting for six years now.

Georgina Ryland's <em>Jurassic World<em/> body painting
Georgina Ryland’s Jurassic World body painting

“As I’ve delved further into make-up artistry,” says Ryland, “I’ve realized that the limit of what can be achieved, is the artist’s imagination. … It is a medium where the subject can bring the piece to life unlike any other creative outlet.”

Ryland works routinely against limitations. Initially, as a student of film and television, she recognized she wasn’t on the most creative path. So, she changed direction. In 2014, she transitioned to the Australian Academy of Cinemagraphic Makeup where she could escalate her creativity and combine her passions.

<em>The Little Mermaid<em/> inspired body painting by Georgina Ryland
The Little Mermaid-inspired body painting by Ryland

Shortly after graduating, Ryland participated in Battle of the Brushes (beauty/fantasy category) at IMATS, placing second. She says this did wonders for her confidence as an artist. The experience also helped her shift focus onto detail work within her body paintings.

It’s clear Ryland isn’t afraid of a challenge. And, in fact, rushes towards them at full speed.

“I love the sheer scale of creativity in this industry,” says Ryland, “and the people themselves are truly inspiring—from their skillsets and capability. This industry also requires you to learn and improve almost daily; I love learning new things, so it is a very exciting career path.”

A lionfish body painting by Georgina Ryland
A lionfish body painting by Ryland

Ryland has cleared many hurdles on her path to becoming a body painter. Hurdles, which she says, have mostly been mental. “In the fast-moving pace of social media and the creative industry,” Ryland explains, “it can sometimes be hard to overcome creative blocks and it can be easy to lose confidence in your own work. I have been focusing on challenging myself to create work better than the last, which has made me very determined in improving my craft and happier with my quality of production.”

To stay inspired, Ryland looks to a variety of sources, predominately nature, organic textures and scenery. “I like to do pieces inspired by pop culture and movie releases,” she says, “but I also look towards traditional art pieces and occasionally tattooists if I feel stuck. I have also been focusing on developing concepts from random ideas recently.”

Leopard body painting by Georgina Ryland
Leopard body painting by Ryland

Ryland’s career continues to move steadily forward, with many accomplishments in the six years she’s been working. Some of the most pivotal moments have been when she was commissioned to create a body-painting time-lapse for the Australian release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 for Marvel or when she assisted the JMB FX team on Thor: Ragnarok. Ryland has also reached the top six of the NYX FACE Awards Australia; and has had her work showcased in Laud Magazine, Shuba Magazine, Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Entertainment Weekly, George Takei Presents, Daily Mail and Instagram’s official page.

Her most recent work has been with the Queensland Ballet on numerous productions over the past year. This new experience has given Ryland a taste of theater and she is eager for more, expressing desire to further pursue make-up application in this arena.

Body painting Georgina Ryland calls "Sunday Morning"
Body painting Ryland calls “Sunday Morning”

But Ryland wants to continue to grow and learn as an artist, to broaden her range. “I will be studying hairdressing, so I can further my experience in film and theater work,” she says. “My long-term career goals would be to work as an artist in residency or on campaigns with some of my favorite brands doing body-paint pieces. I am very keen on exhibiting more at trade shows too; I am very excited to be at IMATS Los Angeles in January 2019.”

Ryland’s work is sure to serve as inspiration at IMATS and throughout the body-painting world. You will have a chance to see her live at IMATS L.A., where she will demonstrate at the Mehron Makeup booth. She says, “They are the brand I usually use for my paints so I’m very excited to be there!”

Hope to see you there!

Get your tickets to IMATS L.A. here. 

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