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5 elegant ways to feature body paint at a tradeshow -without alienating your base

Occasionally I hear an undercurrent of fear about body painting when collaborating with a client or pitching to a prospect. Unfortunately, the images that get circulated on the internet most, are ones you would never consider for your trade show booth or corporate event: spring break shots of intoxicated college kids at Daytona Beach, or home-painted animal faces on body parts you wish you hadn't seen.

Even the beautiful and tasteful body art in Sports Illustrated is not appropriate for a corporate event. As a result, when the person tasked with drawing crowds for their company's next trade show appearance hears "body art", those are the images that come to mind first.

In the world of #CorporateBranded #BodyPaint, one of my biggest focal points is making sure the art is appropriate for the audience. Creating a body art piece that aligns with the client's branding and draws focus to the message is a given- and the FUN part for me : )

The challenge- and perhaps the more important piece- is to LET THE MESSAGE SHINE THROUGH without the distraction of possible offense or discomfort. There are so many ways to do this, and I've used them all. Here are a few examples.

1. Use male models. Usually for trade exhibits clients choose to have models painted from the waist up only. I create pants or leggings in advance that match the colors, branding, and design. Male models are the safest bet for an event with a conservative audience.

2. Creative "faux shirt" solutions. I frequently create custom coverings when I paint female models. These match the theme of the design, and cover way more than a bra or bikini. See the image above for an example of a cloud themed covering that was a huge hit with everyone from upper management to the interns.

3. Distract their eyes with lots of "stuff". Another popular solution that works well is to add clusters of 3D elements- such as foliage, butterflies, gems, foam latex shapes (hearts, flowers, machinery parts, etc). These simultaneously cover and break up the contours of the human body and distract the viewers' eye- drawing their eyes instead to the client's message.

4. Fabric draping. A few yards of beautiful fabric- creatively draped and accented with decorative elements such as butterflies, gems, flowers, or leaves- will cover everything you might be worrying about, and still leave plenty of real estate for your message to be painted.

5. Backless dresses. A halter top or backless dress- in your company colors- is a simple and effective solution. Leaving the entire back, shoulders, and arms free for your messaging to be showcased using this powerfully engaging art form.

Body Painting is a growing trend that is taking the world by storm- especially with the increasing popularity of shows like #SkinWars. Don't let old body paint myths and misconceptions interfere with an opportunity to grab your audience- at the intersection of your product and their interests!

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