Naked Ambition

September 2nd, 2013

September 2nd, 2013

Karsten_Skrabal (2)  Daniel_Janesch (2) 

One of the world’s most unique festivals takes places each Summer in Pörtschach am Wörthersee and welcomes over 29,000 visitors and participants to  the shimmering emerald lake of Lake Wörthersee in Austria.  Combining art, music and fashion, Warpaint takes a look at the World Bodypainting Festival.

Karsten_Skrabal (1) Daniel_Janesch (3)

Now in its 16th year, founder Alex Barendregt is thrilled at the exponential growth and interest which the festival has achieved: “The World Bodypainting Festival is a constantly changing event.  The art of bodypainting not only changes in the competition; within the WBF, artists have the opportunity to show their work in exhibitions, installations, show acts or performances using different media.

“The WBF has grown to a one week intense experience to enjoy, explore and learn about the world of bodypainting.  We entertain visitors with a huge program, always with the bodypainting idea in the back.”

With body painting, photography, costumes & special effects, dance and shows, the festival is a veritable melting pot of artistic styles and forms.  Attendees can get involved with workshops, demos and exhibitions, learning the secrets behind the artistry and theatrical drama which brings every professional to the Mecca of Bodypainting.  A total of 45 nationalities were represented in the competitions, from every continent of the world and this year the festival welcomed first-time representatives from the Philippines and India, who joined their multicultural cohort to compete.

“The crowd is just amazing,” Alex continues.  “We have representatives of 45 nationalities in the WBF with such various culture, habits and specialities.  The exchange of friendship and learning from each other makes the festival a huge festival of art and peace, like nowhere else.”

  Ewalt_Wandler DSC_5438

There are three main World Cup categories – Brush/Sponge, Special Effects and Airbrush – as well as separate competitions for Facepainting, and the night-held contest for UV World Fluoro Award.  This year’s theme was Planet Food, with a special, final day theme of Holy Geometry.  Artists flexed their creative muscles to create jaw-dropping, inspiring and visually stunning work.

The competition this year was especially fierce and resulted in two competition firsts.  For the first time there was a double World Champion, as Italian Matteo Arfanotti clinched the title for Best Bodypainter in the Brush/Sponge category, as well as scooping the award for Best Facepainter.

Scott Fray Winners SFX, Brush & Sponge, Fluoro

Scott Fray also achieved the incredible feat of being the only artist in the world to have won all three of the major categories, after winning the Airbrush category this year.  As a former World Champion in both the Brush/Sponge and Special Effects categories, it was a truly remarkable achievement.

Alex was hugely impressed with this year’s winners.  “Their art was technically great and the jury liked their great ideas to the given themes.  Congratulations to them.”

The winners of the individual categories were:

Amateur Award: Airbrush – Edina Vadocz (Hungary)

Amateur Award: Brush/Sponge – Anne Caze (France)

World Award: SFX Bodypainting – Houyam Hajlaoui (Belgium)

World Award: Brush/Sponge – Matteo Arfanotti (Italy)

World Award: Airbrush – Scott Fray (USA)

World Award: Facepainting – Matteo Arfanotti (Italy)

World Fluoro Award: Marina Vakhlialina (Russia)

SFX Make Up Award – Sofia Bue Pedersen (Denmark)

WBF Show Award – Fiorella Scatena (Italy)

It was a close call for British contender Pixie Lisette Lawrie and her kawaii-inspired tasty treats artistry, who just missed out on a podium place, coming 4th in the Amateur Award in the Open category.

Next year’s competition is running from Monday 7th to Sunday 13th July 2014, and promises to be even more spectacular as the festival continues to go from strength to strength.

CREDITS: WBF/Daniel Janesch, Ewalt Wandler and Karsten Skrabal

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By Deborah Murtha

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