Category: inspiration/ideas

Living Art America 2017 – 3rd Place at North American Bodypainting Championships

 

Heal the body, heal the world” was the theme for the 2017 North American Bodypainting Championships, hosted by Living Art America. On October 14, 2017, U.S. and international body painters converged on Greensboro, NC to present our interpretations of the theme. We had 6.5 hours to complete our pieces and this year I was assisted by my friend and body painting colleague, Anja Yamaji. I’m so pleased to share that we were awarded with 3rd place in the professional category!

In preparation for this piece, I spent hours researching and brainstorming and eventually, a personal story emerged.  The final result became an illustration of my experiences from the past year. During the presentation to the judges and audience, I gave the following explanation as our model, Emma Dubin, walked the runway:

“This piece is about the analogy of a seed for healing our bodies and healing the world.

“Individual seeds need nourishment and care. Last year, I was dealing with anxiety about climate change and the planet and my body and brain were suffering for it. Friends around me noticed, and encouraged me to go back to basics with nourishing foods for my body. Next, I reconnected with nature through gardening and rediscovered the childhood joys of watching a seed grow. Like a seed, my roots were developing and I found that there were others around me who were concerned about climate. I participated in marches and saw the phrase, ‘They tried to bury us, but they didn’t know we were seeds.’ We may feel buried by stressors, but we’re still growing. I joined an organization that empowers citizens to reach out to their representatives in Congress about climate. I went to Washington D.C. with them in June and I’ll never forget the moment when over a thousand of us walked in front of the U.S. Capitol building on our way to meetings with our members of Congress. We were like a swarm of seeds, coming together, and lifting each other up by reaching out and supporting those around us.

“While I was in D.C., I also learned about Our Children’s Trust (represented in the faces on the front of the torso). It’s a group of young people from across the United States who have brought a lawsuit against the U.S. government to secure the legal right to a safe climate and a healthy atmosphere for all present and future generations.  Their efforts send a message that the next generation of seeds is rising up, changing the landscape, and actively seeking to heal the world.”

Scroll down to my photo gallery for more images and a peek at my sketches. The Greensboro News & Record’s photo gallery captured some behind-the-scenes of the event too.

Thank you to the 2017 judges: Craig Tracy, Robin Slonina, Jinny Houle, and Alex Barendregt. And thank you to Scott Fray and Madelyn Greco for organizing such a wonderful event!

Connect with me on FacebookInstagramTumblr, and Twitter.

The caption with our names is incorrect. View the full photo gallery here: http://www.greensboro.com/gallery/all_galleries/bodypainting-championship/collection_587259b7-04f3-5600-9e36-873fd7c38db0.html#3

Living Art America 2016 – North American Bodypainting Championships

Living Art America 2016 - Bodypaint by Breanna CookeOn September 24th, I was one of many U.S. and international body painters who converged on Greensboro, NC for Living Art America’s 2016 North American Bodypainting Championships. This was my first time in the professional category and there were some phenomenal competitors. We had 6.5 hours to complete our pieces and many artists worked with an assistant (I’ll be looking for an assistant next time!). The theme for the event was “Face of Change” and my piece is about changing the face of climate change.

I care deeply about the environment and my initial research and design was focused on so many of the negative images of climate change. I was being dragged down into despair each time I worked on the piece. However, a week before Living Art America, I attended the National Drive Electric Week event in Dallas and my spirits were lifted. I met so many inspiring people who are passionate and vocal about renewable energy and promoting change. After attending that event, I revamped my design with only a few days left before heading to Living Art America. I turned the focus from the negative and focused on the positive scientific discoveries and renewable options that already exist. A friend shared a research study from the University of Illinois at Chicago about artificial leaves that can turn CO2 into fuel and I made that story the main focus of the design (Read the full article here). Keep in mind, my design is just my artistic interpretation of their research, it’s not what the artificial leaves look like.

Presentation to Judges

Below is the description that I presented to the judges of Living Art America:

Living Art America 2016 - Breanna Cooke

“Carbon dioxide, the invisible yet leading factor in global warming, has caused some of the most sensitive organisms on our planet to become the face of climate change. Events such as widespread coral bleaching from warming oceans (seen on her shoulders), have become the saddening images we associate with climate change. On her forearms and lower legs, we have bioluminescent plankton, that light up when they’re disturbed. Her hands and feet are covered in them to represent our human impact and disturbance of nature.

“However, in order to slow the prevalence of these images and events, scientific discovery will be, and must be, the new face of climate change. In July this year, engineers created a new kind of artificial leaf (shown on her stomach) that efficiently converts atmospheric CO2 into a burnable fuel, and it only uses sunlight for energy (shown on her chest).  It is essentially doing photosynthesis, like plants. So instead of producing energy in an unsustainable one-way route from fossil fuels to greenhouse gas, we must reverse the process, remove excess CO2 and find ways to fuel greener, more sustainable cities (seen on her thighs).

Living Art America 2016 - Bodypaint by Breanna Cooke“But until we can implement new discoveries like this on a wide scale, we must actively cut our carbon emissions. This means embracing the renewable energy sources that already exist, such as energy from wind and solar (seen on her back and sides).

Our world has already changed with rising temperatures and sea levels (shown in the waves encroaching on our cities), but with science, we can go forward.”

Stage Presentation

After judging, the models have an opportunity to present the work on stage. I chose the song “Save Our Planet Earth” by Jimmy Cliff since it has a powerful yet upbeat message about protecting our planet.

Awards Gala

At the Living Art America Awards Gala, I received a Special Judges’ Award from judge Robin Slonina (Skin Wars’ Judge, Owner of Skin City Bodypaint), in recognition of the message and design I had chosen. I was absolutely thrilled by the award and left feeling inspired to keep sharing the message to #saveourplanet.

 

For more photos, connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter.

UPDATED: 10/19/2016 – Correction to “University of Illinois at Chicago,” instead of “University of Chicago”.

NYC Bodypainting Day 2015

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Photo by Leif Atman

Bodypainting Day 2015 was a spectacular celebration of art! What better way to bring art to life than to paint it on a human body.

We started out the day at Daj Hammerskjold Plaza at noon.

A photo posted by breannacooke (@breannacooke) on

We spent the afternoon painting our models, meeting other artists, and answering questions from spectators. The theme of this year’s event was “What the world needs now…”. It was intentionally vague to give the artists lots of room for expression. My interpretation of the theme is: “What the world needs now is…clean water.”

A photo posted by breannacooke (@breannacooke) on

After painting, we paraded to the United Nations, boarded double-decker buses, and drove around New York City, sharing our art. We stopped at a few locations for group photos and had an incredible response from people on the street.

 

A photo posted by breannacooke (@breannacooke) on

 

For more photos, check out these articles and links:

Bodypainting Day website: http://bodypaintingday.org/

Photos by Leif Atman: https://flic.kr/s/aHskgzmBSD

Photos by Dez Santana: http://www.dezsantana.com/bpd

Gothamist – NSFW Photos: 100 Fully Naked People Get Bodies Painted, Then Head Over To The U.N.- http://gothamist.com/2015/07/19/nsfw_photos_100_fully_naked_people.php#photo-7

NY Observer – Naked in NY: Why more of us are taking it all off http://observer.com/2015/07/naked-in-new-york-why-more-of-us-are-taking-it-all-off/

NY Post – See everyone who ‘hung out’ at national nude bodypainting day http://nypost.com/video/see-everyone-who-hung-out-at-national-nude-bodypainting-day/

Mashable – Bodypainting Day used naked people to expose New Yorkers to art http://mashable.com/2015/07/22/bodypainting-day-2015/

Newsweek – Get to Know the Naked Models of NYC Bodypainting Day

http://www.newsweek.com/get-know-naked-models-nyc-bodypainting-day-nsfw-355359

NY Daily News – Naked models in New York City serve as the canvas for artists on National Bodypainting Day http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/naked-models-nyc-painted-national-bodypainting-day-article-1.2296858

TimeOut NY – See stunning photos from NYC Bodypainting Day http://www.timeout.com/newyork/things-to-do/see-stunning-photos-from-nyc-bodypainting-day

Village Voice – BODYPAINTING DAY TRANSFORMS NUDE FORMS INTO ART (NSFW) http://www.villagevoice.com/slideshow/bodypainting-day-transforms-nude-forms-into-art-nsfw-7393283?utm_content=buffer8e149

The Co-Ed Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society blog – Painted Ladies (And Gentlemen) https://coedtoplesspulpfiction.wordpress.com/2015/07/19/painted-ladies-and-gentlemen/

Der Tagesspiegel (in German): http://video.tagesspiegel.de/nackte-kunst-body-painting-day-in-new-york.html

Now on Amazon — “Everyone Colors: Amazing Sea Life” coloring book

Everyone Colors: Amazing Sea Life is available on Amazon

 

Exciting news: My coloring book is also available to order through Amazon!

Everyone Colors -- Amazing Sea Life by Breanna CookeThe books are still printed on-demand, so they’ll ship just as soon as they’re made. If Amazon is where you shop or you’re already ordering something, then nab one of my books there. It’s eligible for free shipping on orders over $35 or Amazon Prime (it will be sent with 2-day shipping after it’s printed)!

Don’t forget to share your coloring and tag #EveryoneColors!

Order from Amazon here:
http://www.amazon.com/Everyone-Colors-Amazing-Life-coloring/dp/1512177709

Read the story behind this coloring book here.

Connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter.

A Day in a Dragon’s Life

Ever wonder what dragons do all day? You may think that they just hoard gold and breathe fire, but dragons lead a surprisingly normal life. Here’s a glimpse into what goes on:

First, they sit and think.

Breanna Cooke's green dragon costume inspired by Ysera, the Dreamer from World of Warcraft. Photography by Brian Merlo

Then they start working on some chores, like mowing the lawn,

Breanna Cooke's green dragon costume inspired by Ysera, the Dreamer from World of Warcraft. Photography by Brian Merlo

And watering the plants.

Breanna Cooke's green dragon costume inspired by Ysera, the Dreamer from World of Warcraft. Photography by Brian Merlo

They spend time keeping their claws nice and tidy.

Breanna Cooke's green dragon costume inspired by Ysera, the Dreamer from World of Warcraft. Photography by Brian Merlo

They take breaks by watching movies,

Breanna Cooke's green dragon costume inspired by Ysera, the Dreamer from World of Warcraft. Photography by Brian Merlo

And make afternoon snacks.

Breanna Cooke's green dragon costume inspired by Ysera, the Dreamer from World of Warcraft. Photography by Brian Merlo

They clean up the dishes,

Breanna Cooke's green dragon costume inspired by Ysera, the Dreamer from World of Warcraft. Photography by Brian Merlo

And mop the kitchen floor.

Breanna Cooke's green dragon costume inspired by Ysera, the Dreamer from World of Warcraft. Photography by Brian Merlo

Then to top off the day, they go for a car ride! Wheeee!

Breanna Cooke's green dragon costume inspired by Ysera, the Dreamer from World of Warcraft. Photography by Brian Merlo

Photography by Brian Merlo

Interested in seeing how this costume was created? Check out my blog post: Green Dragon Costume

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr!

Get Your Tickets – Living Art America’s Bodypainting Events in Atlanta Oct 2-4

BodyArtBall

If you live in Atlanta, you’ve got 3 amazing opportunities to see beautiful body painting this week!! Be sure to buy your tickets in advance, tickets will not be sold at the door.

Thursday, October 2nd 
Fluoro Show – UV/blacklight body painting feat. performers from Atlanta Ballet
INFO: http://www.livingartamerica.com/flouro-show
TICKETS: http://living-art-america.ticketleap.com/ultra-violet-fluoro-bodypainting-show-in-3d/

Friday, October 3rd
Body Art BallA vaudeville style art exhibition of entertainers and circus performers that will act as living canvases.
INFO: https://www.facebook.com/events/550736555048907/
TICKETS: http://living-art-america.ticketleap.com/body-art-ball/

Saturday, October 4th
North American Bodypainting Championships – Bodies As Works of Art (This is when I’ll be painting!) –  Come for a fantastical runway show and see the final works of art by the competitors.
INFO: http://www.livingartamerica.com/
TICKETS: http://living-art-america.ticketleap.com/bodies-as-a-work-of-art-the-north-american-bodypainting-champio/

See you there!

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Green Dragon Costume inspired by Ysera, World of Warcraft

Halloween 2013 was the year for a dragon! I took most of my inspiration from Ysera in World of Warcraft. I’ve outlined most of the process in my tutorial on instructables.com. Go check it out there or take a look at my process photos below. I also won a 2nd prize from Instructables for my dragon, yea!

Design

BCooke_Dragon_SketchAndReference_01
Body Suit

BCooke_Dragon_Bodysuit_Process_02
Headpiece

BCooke_Dragon_Headpiece_Process_01
Prosthetics

BCooke_Dragon_Prosthetics_Process_01
Prosthetics continued

BCooke_Dragon_Prosthetics_Process_02
Wings

BCooke_Dragon_Wings_Process_01




Greek God or Goddess Costume for Late Night at the DMA

DIY Greek god or goddess costume.
DIY Greek god or goddess costume.

The Dallas Museum of Art invited me to write a guest blog post on how to create a quick Greek god or goddess costume in honor of this month’s Late Night at the DMA program. The event is celebrating their latest exhibit, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece, so attending in full costume is definitely encouraged. You can read my full step-by-step tutorial on the DMA’s blog Uncrated.

My tutorial also received a great write-up by the Dallas Morning News Arts Blog and they also explain how you can earn DMA Friend rewards points for dressing up. KERA’s Art & Seek blog also featured my tutorial in their Tuesday Morning Roundup.

See you at the DMA, in costume (of course)!

Egyptian and Mehndi-Inspired Body Painting

I had my paints out at an “Arabian Nights”-themed party and painted the night away! I painted 22 people over the course of the evening, but as usual, I started forgetting to snap photos of each one. I’m glad I created the boards of design options, it really helped give people direction. All of the designs done with brush and sponge.

Design Board. Offering limited options is a great way to manage your time with a large group of people.
Design Board (I added more options after taking this photo).

Harpy Costume with Body Paint and Wings

Harpy Costume | By Breanna Cooke

HARPY: Classical Mythology . a ravenous, filthy monster having a woman’s head and a bird’s body.

Below are some instructions on what I did to accomplish this harpy costume for Halloween 2011.

Step 1: Plan It Out

I first started out with a sketch based on some good ol’ Googling of harpies.  I particularly liked the ones in World of Warcraft.  As you can see, my final product evolved a bit differently from the sketch (colored wings became a bit too time consuming):

Harpy Costume Sketch | Breanna Cooke
Harpy Costume Sketch | Breanna Cooke

Step 2: Make Giant Wings

The frame is the most critical part to having awesome wings.  I commissioned the help of an expert in wing-making, Danielle Hurley.  Her craftsmanship is top-notch and the frame fit me perfectly.  I’d highly recommend contacting her if you’d like some wings.  Check out more of her work on her website or her blog.

To support the feathers, I made a frame from chicken wire and glued it onto some black canvas.

Harpy Wings: Chicken wire frame on black canvas.Harpy Wings: Gluing chicken wire on with hot glue.

I used black turkey quills and started applying from the bottom up.  I ordered 500 feathers (250 of each wing side) and probably used about 300-350.  I also used bits of black down from a feather boa to mask the transition of quills at the top of the wings.

Harpy Wings: Adding feathersHarpy Wings: Finished Feathers

Step 3: Make Bird Feet

I built my bird feet on top of an existing pair of boots that I knew were comfortable.  It helped that they already had pointed toes.  I used green craft foam to shape the toes and hot-glued them on.  The talons are fake bear claws. The bear claws were more proportional to my body than fake eagle talons.

Harpy Feet: Craft foam toesHarpy Feet: Toes and talons glued on

I painted the green foam with brown paint so it would all match. Then I covered the boots in tan liquid latex.  In hindsight, this may not have been the best material, but it gave it the rubbery skin-like texture I wanted.

   

I painted the final boots with acrylic paints (again, maybe not the best type of paint since it kept cracking).

Step 4: Paint Yourself

I painted myself with professional grade body paint using a sponge and brush.  I usually use the water activated cakes from the Paradise line by Mehron since I can buy them locally at Norcosto in Dallas. I also order online from Silly Farm when I have more time to spare.

The fangs were from a Halloween shop. I recommend going for the most realistic ones, even if they cost more. The nails were also from the costume shop and glued on with nail glue.

Step 5: Go Scare Small Children or Become an Object of Envy at a ComicCon