Body art is art made on, with, or consisting of, the human body. The most common forms of body art are tattoos and body piercings, but other types include scarification, branding, scalpelling, shaping (for example tight-lacing of corsets), full body tattoo and body painting.
More extreme body art can involve things such as mutilation or pushing the body to its physical limits. For example, one of Marina Abramović's works involved dancing until she collapsed from exhaustion, while one of Dennis Oppenheim's better-known works saw him lying in the sunlight with a book on his chest, until his skin, excluding that covered by the book, was badly sunburned. It can even consist of the arrangement and dissection of preserved bodies in an artistic fashion, as in the case of the plastinated bodies used in the travelling Body Worlds exhibit.
Body art is also a sub-category of performance art, in which artists use or abuse their own body to make their particular statements.
In more recent times, body became a subject of much broader discussions and treatments that cannot be reduced to the body art in its common understanding. Important strategies that question the human body are: implants, body in symbiosis with the new technologies, virtual body etc. Scientific research in this area, for example that by Kevin Warwick, can be considered in this artistic vein. A special case of the body art strategies is the absence of body. The most important artists that performed the "absence" of body through their artworks were: Keith Arnatt, Andy Warhol, Anthony Gormley and Davor Džalto.
Above Photo: Taken from Encyclopedia Britannica- Girl with body paint for puberty ritual, Monrovia, Liberia-Thomas S. England/Photo Researchers
The interests of this group include (but are not limited to)...
History of Cosmetics (Antiquity-16th Century)- Make-up, Hair Dye, Nail Polish, Tooth Blackening, etc.
History of Body Painting- Cultural/Religious applications of Body Painting around the world.
Makeup in Theater- From the East to the West. Chinese Opera to Kabuki, Shakespeare to Broadway.
Traditional body painting
Body painting was very common used in the early 12th to mid 14th century by religious practitioners in rituals. This is an example of Gothic Art. It was common in the areas of countries we now refer to as France and Germany. Examples were displayed on frescoes, but primarily worn by members of the church clergy under robes. Primarily symbols on the arms, chest and back, these forms of identification led to Dalecarlian form of writing found in many northern European countries.
Body painting with clay and other natural pigments existed in most, if not all, tribalist cultures. Often worn during ceremonies, it still survives in this ancient form among the indigenous people of Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific islands and parts of Africa. A semi-permanent form of body painting known as Mehndi, using dyes made of henna (hence also known rather erroneously as "henna tattoo"), was and is still practiced in India and the Middle East, especially on brides. Since the late 1990s, Mehndi has become popular amongst young women in the Western world.
Indigenous peoples of South America traditionally use annatto, huito, or wet charcoal to decorate their faces and bodies. Huito is semi-permanent, and it generally takes weeks for this black dye to fade.
Actors and clowns around the world have painted their faces—and sometimes bodies—for centuries, and continue to do so today. More subdued form of face paints for everyday occasions evolved into the cosmetics we know today.
Face painting is the artistic application of cosmetic "paint" to a person's face. There are special water-based cosmetic "paints" made for face painting; people should ask before having face paints applied what products are being used. Acrylic and tempera craft paints are not meant for use on skin and are not acceptable, nor are watercolor pencils or markers. Products not intended for use on skin can cause a variety of issues ranging from discomfort to severe allergic reactions. Just because the product is marked "non-toxic" does not mean it is meant to be used on the skin.
From ancient times, it has been used for hunting, religious reasons, and military reasons (such as camouflage and to indicate membership in a military unit). In re-entered the popular culture during the hippie movement of the late 1960s, when it was common for young women to decorate their cheeks with flowers or peace symbols at anti-war demonstrations.
For several decades it has been a common entertainment at county fairs, large open-air markets (especially in Europe and the Americas), and other locations where children and adolescents are. Face painting is very popular among children at theme parks, parties and festivals throughout the Western world. Though the majority of face painting is geared towards children, many teenagers and adults enjoy being painted for special events, such as charity fund raisers.