Body Slam: A New Canvas Experience

Body Slam: A New Canvas Experience Photography by Dustin McLaughlin

The Body Slam art contest was a space for artists to create art in a time sensitive, circumstantial setting. The artists were challenged to form a lasting impression on viewers using a medium that is unique and striking but ultimately temporary. 

Crescentia Volz’s Tiger Lily was successfully developed and artfully executed. Like the artwork’s title suggests, Volz ultimately created a character. She was challenged to consider the audience’s experience of her live painting. She organized her process in a way that would allow viewers to watch her character come to life. “I planned the best way to paint the design, to maximize my time and make it interesting for the audience to watch” Volz explained, “I drew my design onto the base coat with a makeup pencil in a light green.” The audience was able to see the artwork develop from the base coat, to the under drawing and to the final artwork.

Volz also embraced chance by utilizing her randomly selected model as a base for her character. She took advantage of her model’s unique hairstyle. “While the base coat dried, I turned my model’s pixie haircut into a field of grass and a lily,” Volz said, “I used fashion makeup to emphasize her pixie nature.” The muddy texture on the arms and legs suggested her playful and impish demeanor. The bright green leaves and vibrant orange and pink flowers represented nature, with which nymphs and fairies are often associated. The subtle placement of glitter conjured the ethereal essence of the character.

Tiger Lily is a wonderful example of a temporary work that creates a lasting impression. Volz created a memorable artwork and a marvelous character through thoughtful consideration of her canvas and her skillful painting.

"Tigger Lily" by artist Crescentia Volz. Photographer: Dustin McLaughlin
“Tigger Lily” by artist Crescentia Volz

Model: Laura Klavitter
Photographer: Dustin McLaughlin



Ali Lynch

Lynch wanted to convey the feeling of being underwater. She loves marine life, especially drawing it. The ocean is a mysterious and almost alienesque part of the earth, but it’s also very calming. For her very first body painting experience she decided to paint something comfortable, and hoped the audience would connect with the work on a similar level.

Body paint by Ali Lynch - Photographer: Dustin McLaughlin
Body paint by Ali Lynch – Professional Tattooer, painter and mixed media artist from Dubuque, IA.

Model: Ryan William Andrews
Photographer: Dustin McLaughlin


Jessica Weis

Weis’ aesthetic tends to lean towards incorporating the human form with nature to convey human connection with the earth. She likes to use natural or found materials as media for this same reason. So it was natural for the artist to incorporate the tree as a part of the model’s body. The model was literally part of the tree with the trunk wrapped around her leg, thus symbolizing humanity’s ultimate connection with nature.

body paint by Jessica Weis - Photographer: Dustin McLaughlin
body paint by Jessica Weis – Painter and Portrait Artist from Fulton Illinois. Residing in Durango, IA.

Model: Elainee E. Koehler
Photographer: Dustin McLaughlin


Doug Mackie

Mackie chose to interpret the landscape of the body as an expression of the DNA connection that human beings have with nature and other extraterrestrial life forms. Mackie compares it to, but instead bringing out the various possible hidden beings from throughout the universe that could be residing inside us. The artists painted multiple beings coming out of the model’s torso to suggest that these beings are available to the model’s consciousness through his homo sapien DNA. The artwork implies that the model’s limbs are woven from the fabric of plant life and the soul of Mother Earth.

Body paint by Doug Mackie at Body Slam Competition
Body paint by Doug Mackie – Actor, sculptor, painter and computer graphics artist from Portland, Oregon. Currently living in Dubuque.

Model: Benjamin Willes
Photographer: Dustin McLaughlin


Andonia Giannakouros and Emily Appleman

In Giannakouros’ and Appleman’s work, they portrayed the ties between the human soul and the Earth through the four elements. The intense pigmentation of the tree represents Fire and its association with life, energy and strength. The clouds represent Water as a cleansing power. The clouds were centered around the face and spread to the torso to express the healing power of the mind. The night sky portrays air. The roots of the tree represent earth and its strengthening force.

Body paint by Emily Appelman and Andonia Giannakouros
Body paint by Emily Appelman – Mixed media sculptor and ceramic artist from Dubuque, residing in Durango, Iowa. and Andonia Giannakouros – Painter from Dubuque, Iowa.

Model: Haleigh Pappas
Photographer: Dustin McLaughlin


Terri Berg and Angelo Joseph

The concept of Berg’s and Joseph’s piece was to beautify the model with images of rejuvenation, goodness, and joy. They used imagery such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, animals and a sun motif, as well as positive phrases such as “be well” and “be love.” The imagery and phrases convey the living quality of being healthy and happy. The artists believe that the only way to effectively rebel is to be positive.

body paint by Terri Berg - Oil painter from St. Louis, Missouri; and Angelo Joseph - Painter and mixed media artist from the Chicago area. Both are currently living in Dubuque Model: Julie Schmitz Photographer: Dustin McLaughlin
body paint by Terri Berg – Oil painter from St. Louis, Missouri; and Angelo Joseph – Painter and mixed media artist from the Chicago area.

Model: Julie Schmitz
Photographer: Dustin McLaughlin


About The Author:

Jackie Banigan
Jackie Banigan

Jackie Banigan has a BA in Art History and a certificate in Museum Studies from the University of Iowa. She has interned in education and outreach at the Dubuque Museum of Art and the Figge Art Museum. She has a penchant for supporting local artists and developing community art programs. Banigan is a volunteer at the Dubuque Area Arts Collective.

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