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Thursday, 12 July 2012

World Body Painting Festival.

5,6,7,and 8/7/12

Portschach, Austria.

OK people, hang on to your hats. This is three days of paintyness as Suzanne and her crazy face and body painting friends call it.The World Body Painting Festival is held in Austria every year and this is the fifteenth anniversary, so it's well established.

It's a great time to catch up with old friends, meet some you've only spoken to over the net, and make some new ones as well. It's also a time to be blown away by the creativity of the artists in attendance. Check out the photos below and you'll know what I mean.

Before I get into the festival proper I'd like to mention a couple of our new friends. Meet Lisa...

Suzanne, Lisa, and I.

Lisa is only fifteen and lives in Klagenfurt, the next village, and she’s out and about at the festival by herself. She is a very intelligent young lady and we sort of adopted her (or she adopted us) for a few days. She came in very handy a few times as a translator as well. We met her dad Harold and her little brother Johnathon on Sunday. They are a really nice family and it was a pleasure to meet them. Lisa is destined for great things in her life, don't be surprised if you read about her curing cancer or developing a new sort of clean energy. You can do anything you want Lisa. *Please see edit below.

Then there was Kira. Wow, what can I say? What a dynamo! We met Kira at the first bar we went to and it became our regular bar after that because of Kira. She works harder that anyone I know and has energy to burn. I made a goose of myself (no big surprise I know) by going up to a gent who was obviously the owner, and telling him how great Kira was, and that she was the reason we've been there every day and not eaten anywhere else. I wasn't sure he understood me so I told Kira as well, and she said “Oh, that’s my dad”. Turns out that Kira is in partnership with her dad and owns the restaurant. I guess that explains why she works fourteen hour days and doesn't stop. Another young lady with a big future.

Kira post painting by Suzanne late in the evening. 

The lovely Kira with a couple of old people. 

She also has a cool dog called Romeo.

I guess body painting attracts a certain type of person and they are a genuinely great bunch of people. Dare I say almost a nice as motorcyclists? What I loved about the festival was that although we saw some of the best painters in the world, there were everyday painters there as well, having a go. I'll stick my neck out here:

I believe that all the girls who attend the face and body painting Vegemites (Jams) in Perth are good enough to compete at this festival. I'm not saying you would all qualify for the final ten, but I know some of you definitely would. We'll have to sit down and have a long talk when we get back and plan an Aussie Assault for sometime (next year?) in the future.

WARNING - If nudity offends you, please don't scroll down any further - move onto the next blog.

Oh yes, and get a life.

OK,time for some photos. I took around 1600 photos so I'll just post a few that really struck me. I won't caption them, just enjoy the stunning work from the different categories:

Brush and sponge - Painted using brushes and sponges only.
Airbrush - painted using an airbrush.
Special Effects - Using anything on the planet to make a BIG impression.

The theme for qualifying was Inner Fears, and for the finals it was Avant Garde.

This guy is fantastic Dave Johnson is his name and he's from Queensland.
Check out his awesome didge based music. Sort of a modern one man band.

I want one of these shirts.

Suzanne couldn't help herself. More shopping.

But even after seeing all of the above and more, what still gets me more that anything else is the look on kids faces when they see their painted face in the mirror. It's priceless.

Saturday afternoon it hit me. Suzanne went back to the hotel to get something and I had 10 minutes by myself. I stood there and thought “I’m in a beautiful part of Austria. The mountains over there are the border to Slovenia. I’m taking hundreds of photos at the World Body painting Championships. How fortunate am I?” We've been flat out since we got on the bike and this is the first time I've really had a chance to contemplate what we are doing. I think I got a bit of a surprise when I realised. On Monday it’s time to relax, slow down, and take it easy. We don’t have to be anywhere until the end of July when we will be attending a Horizons Unlimited meeting in Greece.

Results in any kind of competition that is judged not measured in seconds or height jumped etc are always going to be open to discussion. You’ll never get 100% of people to agree on the same outcome. Being a judge is a very difficult job and I take my hat off to them. They did a fantastic job and worked long hours over the three days of the competition. But…in my very humble opinion, Flavio Bosco from Italy was well and truly robbed of first place on the airbrush category. Flavio finished second and I’d be fine with that if he was beaten by a creation that was obviously stand out brilliant. No disrespect to the artist who won, but I believe Flavio’s work was truly a cut above everyone else’s during the competition. He finished third last year, second this year, so I guess he’ll just have to wait til next year to put his First Place trophy on the mantle. You can view Flavio's work at:

We love it here so we've booked another night at the hotel so we can have a leisurely pack up tomorrow. We also need to send home a package of stuff including all the Kryolan paint Suzanne bought yesterday. It’s her favourite paint so we had to buy some. I just have to remember how much money we are saving all the time. : )

Where’s Rex’s Buff?

I hope you're enjoying this as much as your Buff is Rex...A little cutie for you today.

*(UPDATE: It is with great sadness that I add this to our blog. I was devastated to find out that in 2016 Lisa (at the top of the page) took her own life. To have spent time with someone so intelligent, who was such a huge personality, and honestly could have gone on to achieve anything she wanted, and find out she is now gone is just so, so, very sad. Obviously her demons overpowered her and she felt that this was her only option. Can I please ask that if you are ever in this situation, grab a friend, sit down, and talk to them. Please.

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