Skin Wars : my take as a body painter

GSN just ordered a new body painting competition reality show which will air sometime next year.

Between this show and the newly announced Naked Vegas body painting documentary on SyFy, I’m very glad to see body painting gaining acceptance in the mainstream culture and these shows will take it even further.

From the description, sounds like it’ll be similar to other reality competition shows like Face Off on SyFy.

The part that I’m not too crazy about with shows like this is that a lot of times the focus is on the dramas and personalities rather than the craftsmanship. I sure hope this is not the case with this show.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of challenges that the body painters will compete on. I’m sure I can get some ideas and learn new techniques from watching the show.

While I’m on the subject of learning, I want to touch on what competitions do to a body painter’s growth.

I’ll start with the pros first.

Competitions can push a body painter to try new things that are outside of his comfort zone because he doesn’t get to choose the problems to work on. The pressure and, in a lot of cases, the painter’s ego can actually encourage the painter to take risks and come up with new things. In other words, competitions can produce growth.

Now on the down side.

I believe competitions are bad for the body painter’s soul.

It can put the painter in a position where he secretly or openly wants other body painters to fail. This is even more true for a broadcasted competition like the Skin Wars show because the media attention amplifies it, so more at stake for each painter, which means more incentive want others to fail. This means, instead of growth, the painter would experience degradation in his relationship skills.

Another down side is that the whether the body painter wins or loses, both could very well distort his self perception. If he wins, his head could get too big and make him stop improving. If he loses, he could be discouraged from creating. It’s a lose-lose proposition.