Body painting grew up. High fashion stakes claim on the art form, a practice of humble beginnings and street fair heritage. Clowns, rainbows and cat faces matured and you know that for gospel when RuPaul and Carson Kressley, high priests of fashion, dip their toes in the water.
“Skin Wars” is a body-painting competition show; the first of it’s kind. Rebecca Romijn is host, and given her experience as Mystique in the “X-Men” films, Romijn knows her way around a jar of body paint. RuPaul and Carson Kressley will join her in Episode No. 3 as guest judges.
Carson Kressley, in an exclusive interview with SDGLN, concurs with the network’s choice.
“Rebecca was body-painted for a Sports Illustrated cover too, so she totally gets it. Ru’s been body-painted his whole life with his makeup and transformation to RuPaul, ridiculously artistic and amazing.”
Carson continued, “They brought me in for the fashion challenge as well. It’s so fun because basically it’s nude people, and I love hanging out with nude people. They actually paint them to look like they’re wearing clothes. That was pretty cool.”
“But back to Rebecca, when movie stars like her host a television show it’s a good fit. She’s such a natural, and so funny and spontaneous and easy to look at.”
“We were waiting four hours for the body painting to be done and she ruined my cell phone playing dirty charades.”
I didn’t ask how that came about, how a cell phone was ruined but it did lead to some colorful, inner speculation. It seemed a good idea to change the topic with a favorite interview question.
“Tell me something about you that would surprise the general public, Carson, and make sure it’s something that won’t embarrass you in a week.”
A few skips, and Carson answered.
“I’m a really big equestrian, and just after I leave LA I’m going to Louisville, Kentucky for a week for a world championship horse show. I actually have won a couple of world titles there, so I’m hoping to do it again. It’s my passion and ridiculous hobby and my guilty pleasure, and I just love it.”
I have to admit, that is a great and unexpected revelation. Something a little juicier might have been nice, a little embarrassing, but I’m still wondering how Rebecca broke his cell phone playing Dirty Charades.
Equestrianism will have to suffice.
Regarding Carson’s interaction with RuPaul on the set of “Skin Wars,” Carson reinforced the general consensus about Ru.
“I’ve really gotten to know him on the set. He’s a fellow Scorpio, and we are fellow still-waters-run-deep kind of people, and what I get is that he is such an empowering person. Even on ‘Drag Race,’ everyone is sent off in such a loving way with such encouraging words. He’s a positive person and really tries to bring out the best in everyone, and that’s certainly something that I admire about RuPaul.”
Circling back to “Skin Wars,” I asked Carson if he could imagine a day that body painting became as popular as tattooing, as a less aggressively permanent form of expression.
“Tattooing has become super mainstream and definitely part of the culture,” Carson responded. “Body painting is a little less well known as a different kind of artistry, but I think the show will definitely bring that to the forefront, so maybe people will become more involved with it.”
I shared a premonition of walking down the street in a few years and seeing people in body paint and not cloth attire.
“It could be me,” Carson laughed and I’ll say, “Remember when nobody was doing body paint?”
So who knows? All the fun and expression and beauty and artistry of tattoos with out the pain and expense and permanence? Expression without the consequences of painful and expensive tattoo removal? Why not? Only time will tell if body painting is a cultural flash, or if “Skin Wars” is on the cutting edge of the next big thing.
Oh, and one last thing. Several folks asked me to ask Carson some tips for fashion for bigger guys.
“Size is important. Bigger guys tend to oversize, to try to camouflage, so the key is to wear the correct size. Wear things that visually slim the body, are well tailored. That will always be more flattering.”
Thank you Carson. My big friends thank you and I thank you for several vivid visuals today. I hope to see you on the subway in a few years in equally vivid body paint and we’ll remember the mainstream genesis in 2014, “Skin Wars.”
GSN (Game Show Network)
Wednesday evenings at various times
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Kurt Niece writes about visual arts for SDGLN. He is a freelance journalist from Cleveland, Ohio. He is the author of “The Breath of Rapture” and an artist who sells his work on his website.