Interview of Joanna Ciesla & Ania (model)

During the 2003 European Body painting Festival of Seeboden, I noticed Ania and the work of Joanna. When I learnt that this was one of their first body paintings, I wanted to know more about her work. I hope you are as curious as I am and you will read their interview until the end.Among other things, you will discover a modern dance group where the dancers are bodypainted.

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

Joanna: My name is Joanna Ciesla. I am 27. I was born in Poland and I live in Cracovia, in Poland. I work as a make-up artist for the television: photo shooting, mode shows. I teach make-up in a school for aesthetics. I study Art in the Institute for Arts in Cracovia, I am in the fifth year. I study painting, and for my diploma, I am preparing a thesis on the subject of Body painting and Body art.

(Joanna at work during the European Body painting festival 2003 - Vikings - Model: Ania - Photograph (C) Jacek Bulik)

Question 2. Are you a make-up professional? Do you give courses. Any other artistic activities?
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?

Joanna: I have spent the years 1995-97 in Paris where I studied professional make-up in the « l’Institut Technique du Maquillage ». Durant that period, I discovered body painting for the first time. Since then, I am fascinated by the results and designs on a body. Body painting is not my main activity, it is rather a hobby, because there are few, if any, opportunities here. It is not known here in Poland. I work with Agnieszka Glinska (3rd Prize of European Festival in 2003) she has her own modern dance group (, where the dancers are painted. So I body paint them when they are on a tour all over Poland.

(European Body painting Festival 2003 - Vikings - Model: Ania - Photograph (C) Jacek Bulik)

Question 3. What do you like most in body painting? 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 bodypaintings?

Joanna: We work with the Kryolan products.
My body painting projects and topics are not really different from what I paint on canvas. A lot of designs inspired by nature: plants, animals. I love to explore the relationships between shape and colour, shadows and light. Then there is also "The Woman". With body painting, I try to stress her beauty. It is a challenge, but I try no to loose any bit of feminine beauty. Same on canvas. I represent women (never nude) in a little sad, meditative, melancholic postures.
When I do a body painting, I am out of this world, beyond reality. I am relaxed. I feel full of joy. Sometimes, I am very critical about what I do, but I am obstinate, and I want to finish what I started and attain my goal. It is true that, when I start painting the body of my model, I feel inspired by what she is, her being, her character, her state of mind. I know how to improvise and I like that.

(Joanna at work during the European Body painting Festival 2003 - Cabaret/Lisa Minelli - Model: Ania - Photograph (C) Jacek Bulik)

Question 4.(question for 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 sister paints. Which bodypainting has left you with the best memories? Where was it and why?
How do you feel during and after a body painting?

Ania: It was my first contact with body painting during EBF. I study painting, but canvas, not body. Joanna told me that she needs model for the festival, and I fought that it could be funny. It was a very interesting experience becoming a part of picture. I knew, picture was important, not me, but on other hand, it couldn’t existed without my body. I could give them a life. I like Joanna’s art very much. We study together, so I know what she can, and that she is a very talented young painter. I liked both body painting from on EBP. I felt very good as a Viking and as a Lisa Minelli . I felt comfortable, because I knew that I’m a part of very good picture. I told with Joanna about the picture only, when I saw that she was very tired. I tried to help her starting working again. I didn’t feel naked, even I wasn’t painted all. I didn’t think about, it was just a part of art. After competition I came in to lake, and in one moment, when make-up was uncompleted, I felt naked. It was very funny, after all day, I had to borrow a towel, to go back to the tent.
It was a hard work, I had to stay since six hours, but it was very nice. It was completely different, then my everyday work. While Joanna was working, I couldn’t move, so I was bored so much. I told with watching people and photographers, and smoke a lot. I met a lot of very interesting people.

( Body painting by Joanna Ciesla - Photograph (C) Jacek Bulik )

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