Interview of Mario Speleman (English version) click here for Nederlands

I met Mario during the body-art show/competition in Putte (Belgium) on December 7, 2003.

Check his web site:


Question 1. : A few words about the 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?

Mario I live in Sint-Niklaas, a city between Antwerpen en Gent.
No, for the time being, I have no children.
I had a technical education, I studied A2-Mechanical, I also graduated, but I had doubts that I would ever follow this direction.
Starting when I was eight, I followed weekend courses in the Academy of Sint-Nikaas until seventien. These were drawings of still, en drawings of human models, with different techniques, pencil, pastel, etc.
After I graduated in A2-Mechanical,I registered for a graphical curriculum in the high school of Sint-Lucas in Antwerpen . I stayed only one year, because in their eyes, I was not gifted enough to complete these studies.
To hear that was like a slap in my face, so strong that during more than one year, I could not bear to see a pencil, and I tried to ban out of my life everything in relation with drawing.
But the wheel turned when I met en discussed with a good old friend from school. He told me he was following private lessons in airbrush, and I was immediately interested and one week later I started following lessons too. This lasted a bit more than one year. Then with a lot of self-study and attempts, I tried to improve myself. And you can be sure I am still working on it!
To enjoy the little things in life, to go out, nice evenings, to do favors, and I enjoy airbrushing, of course




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

Mario For the moment, I am still working 40 hour a week in a factory that makes building materials. I also give week-end lessons in - can you guess it - yes, airbrush.
On top of that, I also do airbrush paintings on request on all kinds of supports. Have a look on my web site:
This goes from t-shirts to - amazingly enough - funeral cars!?
If this leaves me some time, then I will take part in shows and meeting in Belgium.

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?

Mario By chance.The manager of a shop was looking after something special for the opening of his business. He called me and asked me if I would accept to do a body painting. The first time, I was literally shaking on my legs, and I thought, why did I accept and start with this?!
No, I don't do much body paintings, only on request from shops and associations.
Yes, I participated in one competition "" in Putte, en I had a nice score. I was second in the category "airbrush body painting" only two points awy from the winner!

Question 4. 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 body paintings?

Mario Let me tell you first what is not nice. It is not permanent. You have put your heart and soul in it, your model goes to the shower, en everything goes away!! Heeeeelp!!
Now seriously, I understand that your paintwork cannot stay there forever, but still it is too sad to see it disappear.

The nicest: the shape of the body and you must adapt your drawing to it, this is never simple, always a challenge.
The most difficult: the face, you must work on a small surface, you must take into account the sensitive spots. Therefore, I do most of the painting with pencils and sponje, and to a small extent, with the airbrush.
The products that I use are : Fantasy make-up and animation,
I always work according to a theme, which is most of the time chosen by the client. From there, I try to find a concept, and after the thinking, I express it as a body paint.

Question 5. Do you always work with the same model? How do you choose a model? Describe your relationship with the model during the work.Do you have your own studio? Do you work a lot home?
Do you work sometimes outdoor? Have you already been painted? How did you feel? Did you like it?

Mario Yes. There are a few pre-requesites, or maybe this is not the right word, rather qualities that I look for in a model.
These are: firstly "shining" your model must have this special "thing" that people will look a second time. Secondly: the model must not be shy or prude because she will be nude in public, and this is not so simple, because there are a lot of men and women around looking at your body and breasts.
Thirdly, the circumstances in which the model must work are far from ideal. A cold place, or no warm water to wash, these things happen sometimes.
When I find these qualities in a model, then I would not want to change. Even when the model is entirely covered with paint, you can still the "shining" of her personality. And it provides an extra dimension to your bodypaint.

Pleasure? Oh No!!!

So I am not looking for other models right now.
Relationship: a good understanding between the model and the painter is key. Without it, (**Zonder dat heb je wrevel**)your work will not reach the level that you intended. How? By speaking of everything, by enjoying the creation, and not seeing the people coming to see as an interference, but as a sign of appreciation. If the people stay or come back, then you know you are going in the right direction.
I have my own studio, but it is equipped and arranged for the special paints used on motors etc. To try out body paintings, I use the photo studio of a friend.
So yes, I work home, but only with special paints.
Outdoor, vey rarely, mainly because this is Belgium and the weather is not really good.I tried to paint myself or have someone to paint me, but I don't have the qualities that I look for in a model. I prefer to be the painter en to give the other role to someone else.
My feelings: (**onbehagen), not confortable, as opposed to feeling wonderful when I apply the paint.

Question 6. (Question for the model).



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

Mario My feelings during the body painting? Pffffffffffffffff
In the beginning, I am unsure. You don't know how it's going to come out and if it's going to be fine. Then you feel depressed if it's not going in the right direction, but you have to go on, take courage again, to never give up is my moto. Het is not even in my dictionary!
And when you see that it is going well, then you have a lot of pleasure and joy of your work and you become ecstatic about your creation. And if the public likes it, then I am perfectly happy!

Question 8. Can you tell us about your plans and needs about body painting.Things that you would like to do and have not done yet?

Mario Plan: a lot to become even better, that's for sure !
body painting comprises such a variety that the range of possible styles and executions is infinite, so that you not only learn from your own experiences, maar also from the work and the style of other body painters. So my need is to observe and to enjoy.
Other projects, yes in the area of face painting. And I am nowhere about working with special effects and accessories. So I have a long way to go, but as long as I do it with pleasure and enjoy it !

Regards Mario, ART-FX, Special Painting


Back to the Interview Main Page