Interview of Mike Shane (body painter) & Biggi (model)


Question : 1. A few words about the country, town or village where you live; do you have children? what kind of studies have you done or your profession? What is your artistic background?

Mike My name is Mike Shane. I was born in 1970 in Luxembourg. I started painting and drawing in my early childhood and visited my first art school at the age of 16 at
the Lycée Technique des Arts et Métiers in Luxembourg City.
There I got my first skills in drawing and very first contact with graphics.
After 2 1/2 years in school and a superb adolescence, I decided to leave Luxembourg and move to Vienna. I wanted to learn more and get to know more people.
In 1989 I was accepted at the „Höhere Graphische Bundeslehr- und Versuchsanstalt Wien", a very good reputation art school in Vienna.
A new life had started…
I was far away from home in a city of 2 million people… compared to Luxembourg (400.000 inhabitants) a HUGE city.
At this time I discovered „anonymity"… for me a very new and exciting feeling.
Graphics and painting were the 2 dominating topics in the new art school.
First contacts with nude-painting and first intellectual contacts with arts in general made these years very exciting for me.
In this time I also met my girlfriend, Karin, with whom I’ve been together ever since. (12 years, no children)
Still being young and restless, I decided again to change school before the end.
This time it took me to St-Pölten (lower Austria) where a new school had opened its doors.
The „Design-Studio" was said to be the most job related school for Graphics, Illustration and Commercial Design in Austria. I signed in for Illustration (interpretative) and who would believe it…I finished the year and finally had a degree in Arts.


Body Painting Festival Seeboden - 2003


Question : 2 What are your professional activities? Make-up? Training classes? Other?

Mike Ever since I’ve been freelancing as an artist. Having had several „long time-breaks" working as a receptionist in a 4 star -city- hotel.
My first „real" independent time began in 1999, when I founded an „event-visualization" company by name of „The Visualizer". Together with a couple of friends we worked out concepts for event decorations and produced them.
End 1999 I got to know the people of SAM models & artists. And that is where and when the whole body painting-thing started off!

Question 3. how have you discovered body painting? Describe the circumstances. How did you start doing body painting your self? Have you done a lot or a few?Have you participed in events, competition? Which ones?

Mike When the guys from SAM showed me their portfolio, I noticed a body painted body and asked them
if I could join them when they do it again.
They agreed and a couple of weeks later called me and invited me to a show they had organized.
They said I should bring my brushes and that I could help.
When I arrived there I was faced with 12 people…10 girls and 2 guys….and NO painter, except me.
I almost panicked but I finally agreed on taking the challenge.
After 10 hours all the people were painted, and most of them really looked great…that was the moment when I got hooked.

Mike Shane & his model. Theme: Monza.


A few months later SAM and I created www.body and began to promote our new business.
At first, we all worked for free. Making live-shows in bars and discotheques. Invented concepts for possible clients and little by little, the jobs came in.
It took about 3 years to successfully integrate www.body in the market and to reach a good position and create a good basis for further artistic activities.
In these 3 years I painted between 150 and 200 bodies together with my team consisting of: (photography)
biggi (web-design, organization and model)
max (body painting- and set assistant)
bine (styling and make-up)
and our models: tanja, claudia, gloria, gloria c, sonja and ossi.

The only festival I participated in until now is the „World Body painting Award" in Seeboden.
My best position there was „Vice-European Champion" in 2001. I was really happy with that title which also helped me to get more attention by TV-Stations and the press. Something very useful for promotional work!
Works of mine have been displayed on many TV-Stations mainly in the German speaking countries.

Question 4. What do you like most in bodypainting? What do you find most difficult? What products do you use (paints and accessories for special effects)? What is your inspiration? How do you find ideas for new body paintings?

Mike Every time I have a new body painting to do, I basically have NO idea what I will paint.
Of course, if I paint for a client and he wants his logo displayed, I paint the logo the way it’s supposed to look, but then… I have no idea what follows.
I am an abstract painter, also on canvas. Therefore the greatest challenge I find in my work, is to make it look balanced. I invent shapes and spread them over the hole body…trying to create tension.
The biggest challenge with body painting though, in my eyes, is the fact, that you are basically NOT allowed to make mistakes. When the color is on the skin, it is practically impossible to remove it without destroying the design…that is why good body painters really start sweating while working…it’s a VERY strenuous situation.
It gets even harder if, for example, you have two body paintings to finish in a certain time in front of the public.

Basically I use Kryolan, but I also use Fardel and Eulenspiegel. I mix them all!

For the moment inspirations for new body painting-ideas, come from brainstorming with my friend
photographer and business-partner, with whom I’ve been working with for the last year.
Together we work on a project called „Action-Painting", a „live-on-stage-body painting-event"…where liquid color is splashed and poured on bodies. The show is either documented photographically by, or is being „live-filmed" and projected on a screen, live on stage.



Question 5. Do you have always the same model or so you have several models? How did you meet them? Describe your relationship with the model during the work. Do you work home, in a studio? Do you work sometimes outside, in the open? Have you been painted yourself? What was the feeling? Did you enjoy the experience?

Mike In my eyes a good body painting needs 3 factors to come out REALLY good: the painter, the model and the setting. I personally think, that all 3 components are equally important.
Therefore I try to treat my models with the highest respect.
My models have been chosen out of 700 girls and boys from the files of SAM models & artists.
We called 80 and invited approx. 20 to the casting. That was in 2000 and I still work with 5 of the girls
from that casting.
For me the most important thing with the models is, that they do not act shy towards the public.
They can only make a good job when they feel comfortable. They need to feel the need to be the center of attraction. They need to „love" it!
On set, I try to create a decent atmosphere with music, food and drinks. Trying to make the waiting
times for the models as less strenuous as possible.
I mostly work „on location" since I have no atelier where I live. And also the transportation of a body painted model is NOT without stress!

If however I work outside…nature or any other outdoor location, I also try to keep everything as comfortable as possible for the crew. (NOT very easy!)
For myself, I only have been painted once but I’m definitely NOT made and meant to be a body painting model! The feeling though was great and I can imagine, that, if it’s not too cold, it
can be a very sensual feeling. Although I prefer being the painter.

Mike Shane & Biggi


Question 6. (question to the model) How do you feel when you are painted? Confortable,uneasy, clothed, naked? Was it difficult the first time or not? Do you give suggestions or opinions while you are being painted, or you don't say anything about the work while your father paints? Which body painting has left you with the best memories? Where was it and why?

Biggi My name is biggi. I was born and raised in Vienna and I love living in this nice and culturally interesting city.
Since I’m still young, I live together with my boyfriend without children. I always try to enjoy life as
much as I can …also job-wise.
I discovered body painting through a model agency.
It was a real great experience and the fun-factor was so high, that I continued posing for a couple of years and grew into the Viennese body painting-scene.
Since I also do web design, I take care of www.body
I love EVERYTHING about body painting. The fun, the contact with other people and models and
being able to change roles.
Being a body painting model requires endurance and time. For me, standing still and NOT talking is the most difficult part! J
When I am totally painted I feel more or less dressed. Only the fact that a couple of guys stare at my breasts reminds me that I am naked.
My first painting was pure pleasure. Since we were 5 models, nobody really had a problem getting naked.
During the painting process I love to talk about the topic of the painting and if I have ideas or remarks, I communicate them to mike.

Basically, I have nice memories and stories to tell about every painting I participated in. Because of the changing location, the changing topic and the changing clients every body painting session is different.
My emotions got very high and I shed a teardrop or two, when all of a sudden, while standing in the shower (festival 2001), our name got called out, because we had made the second place. The whole painting was washed off and I had to go on stage fully dressed.

Question 7 How do you feel during and after a body painting?

Biggi After the painting, and after the shower I feel REALLY clean!
I love sitting together with the team, smoke a cigarette and talk about the day. Sometimes, we are able to get to look at the first pics made during the day.

I wish my body would never change so I could be a body painting model all my life.
Also I’d love becoming rich through body painting, since it is the BEST job in the world!!!

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