Arnold Sports Festival USA 2019: Body Paint competition

Location: Greater Columbus Convention Center, 400 N High St., Columbus, OH 43215

This is my first year attending the Arnold Sports Festival. Prior to looking at the schedule, my friend, Andrew Livelsberger (, told me that the body paint was a must see (he knows I love art). The body paint was in the EXPO ($20 in advance, $25 at the door).

Here are a few pictures of those who participated in the body paint competition:

Arnold Sports Festival USA 2019: Body Paint Competition Artist Patrick Todd Reed, Model Terry “Tree” Gordon
Arnold Sports Festival USA 2019: Body Paint Competition Artist Patrick Todd Reed, Model Terry “Tree” Gordon
Arnold Sports Festival USA 2019: Body Paint competition: Emilie Campbell, IG @emiliecampbell_artiste. Assistant: Rose Hamel IG @, Model : @fitktm
Arnold Sports Festival USA 2019: Body Paint competition: Artist: Emilie Campbell, Assistant: Rose Hamel

Tell me what you are doing.

I am from Montreal; so, excuse the English. I speak French. We do body paint, prosthetics, head piece, and shoulder piece. Everything.

Sidebar: Her English is much better than my French! I enjoyed talking to her. It is interesting that people who speak English as a second language apologize for not speaking better, when I don’t know 3 words of French. Enough said.

Arnold Sports Festival USA 2019: Body Paint Competition: Cheryl Ann Lipstreu, IG: Cherylannlipstreu, model: Dyon Holmes IG @rtofdyon
Arnold Sports Festival USA 2019: Body Paint Competition: Artist: Cheryl Ann Lipstreu, model: Dyon Holmes

Why body paint? How did you get involved?

I got involved with body painting because I became a model myself. Even though I am a professional artist for a living, I fell in love with the art form. Once I saw it, I felt it, it turned into a living art piece. It rang true to my soul. This is my calling as an artist. Ever since then, I have been traveling the world participating in competitions. I filmed GSN (formerly known as the Game Show Network) skin wars and came in fourth place there. I came in third place at the worlds, North American champion 2015, and the emerging artist champion 2014. This August, I am going to Korea to compete. Body painting is an ability to express myself in an art form that is as ancient as civilization, but as modern as it could be. It is incredible to be at the forefront of that.

What was your preferred medium prior to body paint?

I am a classical painter, so I apprenticed under different master artists. I did oil painting, acrylic painting, water colors, illustrations, murals, and portraits.

Why the Arnold?

It is a fitting mixture; body builders look at their bodies as fine art sculpting. It is more difficult for the body builder because they must go through the pain to sculp their body. As an artist we can appreciate bringing our art to a level of world champion artists. The level of art is going to be spectacular. The Arnold is a fitting place to have those two worlds combine.

What advice would you give a young person who wants to do what you are doing?

They must wait until they are 18 years old. Up until age 18 they should practice makeup. The products that are used are the best makeup in the world. They use makeup for movies, for theaters, and performances. Watch all the free makeup tutorials on YouTube. Educate themselves, take any type of art class and all the drawing, and painting classes.

Arnold Sports Festival USA 2019: Body Paint: Jonathen Kinney, Instagram @johnathenkinney, Model Harmoni Marii Sauder IG @harmonimarii
Arnold Sports Festival USA 2019: Artist: Jonathen Kinney, Model Harmoni Marii Sauder

Why body paint? How did you get started?

I have been a professional body painter for about 15 years. and a professional artist for about 22 years since I was roughly 18 years old. I have been air brushing for about 22 years. and a professional face painter for about 12 years. It all kind of went hand in hand. I participate in a lot of competitions and exhibitions.

Are all body paint competitions similar? How do you prepare for the competition?

They usually all give you a time. For competitions, it is usually about 6 hours. To prepare for the competition, you will make headpieces, props, and accessories to add to it. Most of it is all body paint. Some painters plan out everything. I plan about 20 to 25%. The rest, I like to create in the process.  I usually know what my color schemes are going to be. I want it to be spontaneous. It changes and it transforms when you paint the art work. Art is a creative process.

Was there a theme for the body paint competition?

This year the theme was Arnold Cinema. Arnold was involved in over 51 movies. Some of the ones that stand out are “Total Recall”, “Predator”, and “Terminator”. There is a lot of different types of art that you could incorporate and be creative.

Tell me about your piece for Saturday.

She was a female predator. She had a huge predator on her back. The head piece and shoulder piece were very elaborate. I custom made it with cellophane; EVA foam and it was covered with gems. She had a staff that lit up (LEDs).

What is EVA foam?

It is versatile. It can be sculpted, carved, and painted. You can make different types of props with it.

What advice would you give a young person who wants to do what you are doing?

In the state of Ohio, I give about a 35-minute motivational speech to young people at schools. I talk about being a professional artist and overcoming challenges. People are going to tell you no, and you are not able to do something. I have failed more times than I can count. My speech is about all the times that I failed and all the times that I wanted to give up. I was raised by a single mom. My high school art teacher didn’t know I existed. I didn’t go to art college. I tried to work doing air brush many times. I’d fail, and I get back up and try again. Here I am 22 years later. If you really want to do something, you have to do it you can’t let anyone tell you you can’t. If you fail, you must get back up and start painting.

Anything else?

I think it is important to do what you love to do for a living. There are not enough people in the art field that show other young artist that they can do this. I shook Arnold Schwarzenegger’s hand this weekend. I have a long list of things that I have done that I never would have done if I had given up.

My take on the Arnold Sports Festival USA 2019: Body Paint competition:

I LOVE watching artists create. The body painting was in the Expo which was CROWDED. I found it challenging to return to the area due to the number of people. My suggestion is to have a bigger aisle surrounding the booth so people can stop and view without constantly being bumped.