The Living Canvas: Body Painting with Luciano Paesani

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Long Beach Comic Expo 2018 was held at the Long Beach Convention Center on February 17th and 18th. I am not as into comics as I once was but I make it a point to attend as many conventions as possible for a couple of reasons. One reason is that I still have a place in my heart for comics and so it is always great to see how passionate others are when it comes to the industry. The other reason (which is my main reason) is my love of cosplay.

Funny thing is I did not actually know that Long Beach Comic Expo (LBCE) had started when I arrived. I was actually on my way to Long Beach Mardi Gras to shoot some photographs for a completely different reason and saw a swarm of cosplayers as I made it to Ocean Blvd. I followed the group to the front doors of the convention center and since I already had my camera with me, I went inside and registered onsite.

After several hours of taking photos, two cosplayers caught my eye. They  were dressed as Lion-O and Cheetara (pictured above) from the Thundercats. Upon closer inspection I realized that their outfits were in fact airbrushed onto their bodies. The artist that painted them, Luciano Paesani of Paesani Designs was on hand to show off his masterpieces to the crowd. I spoke with Luciano who then informed me that one of the models, Scotch Hopkins would be painted into Aquaman the next morning. I was invited to witness the entire process which took 4 hours to complete.

Take a look at this slideshow that features images from the entire 4 hour session:

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The following is an interview that I conducted with Luciano Paesani soon after the body painting session.

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PlayStation Haven: Tell our readers a little about yourself:
Luciano Paesani: My name is Luciano Paesani, I am 53yo and live in Long Beach CA. I’ve been in love with art since I was a little kid growing up in Brazil. As any good artist I started by doodling with crayon on the furniture and walls at my house, my late father supported me on my passion and always provided me with all the materials to explore more in depth. I attended the Escola Pan Americana de Artes Brazil when I was 16 and graduated in arts. After a few jobs creating art for different advertising agencies I started painting my own canvas in Oil and acrylics. Once I moved to the USA at the age of 29 I got many jobs as a Muralist, but canvas was always my passion. Personally, one of the biggest influences for me was always Salvador Dali, I used to think ” Wow, all of that art comes out of his head? I am not that weird after all.” To me the world is a much more beautiful place if you can see it through the eyes of an artist.

PSH: How/when did you come to the realization that body painting was what you wanted to do?
LP: I remember a long time ago seeing an ad in a magazine where the model was wearing nothing but paint, my jaw dropped, it was love at first site. Next day I got my girlfriend at the time and simply told her ” Ok, I need to explore this.” Little did she know that she was about to undress and become my first body painting attempt. At the time I didn’t know about the proper materials for body painting and with time I learned what not to use, the paints that were harmful to the body and all of that important stuff. Once I was done with my first painting I knew that was it. To me until now, there is nothing more interesting than having a 3D, living’ breathing canvas.

PSH: What has been your most challenging commission?
LP: I have worked so many, parties, events, photo shoots and painting was always something that came natural to me that I am not sure anything was really challenging. I think I was scared when I was asked to collaborate with another body painting artist on a job for the first time. He was a very well-known and established body painting artist and I was just a beginner in my mind. It was definitely intimidating but the job came out fantastic.

PSH: You have worked with a number of celebrities including Nicki Minaj, is there a celebrity that you have dreamed of working with?
LP: Well, there are a few, but I think celebrities are just like painting any other people. Getting Jack Black body painted would be such a riot and give me so much room to create something wild and irreverent. lol… A Christina Aguilera concert is also in my list.

PSH: I met you during the recent Long Beach Comic Expo where you did live painting of the Thundercats and Aquaman. Do you have any plans to do something similar at other conventions this year?
LP: Yes, if everything goes to plan I will be body painting at the Wonder-con in Anaheim next month and the Comic-con International in San Diego sometime in July. Besides that, I will be trying to get sponsors and paint at as many conventions as possible.

PSH: A little birdie told me that you are a Street Fighter fan. Are you into any other video games?
LP: Hah… smart little birdie. Yes, I play video games with my son every time we get together. We love playing racing games like Gran Turismo, Need for Speed. We do a little fighting on Tekken and Mortal Kombat but I grew up with Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Space Invaders among other classics and love going back to them once in a while. Oh, and I love shooting zombies on Call of Duty ha-ha..

PSH: We discussed what celebrity you would most like to work with but in general, what would be a dream project for you?
LP: I would love to have the funds to do a short movie where all the characters were body painted. A movie based on how all of us independent of color, race, religion and status all are one very colorful creature. But maybe I can’t say more, or someone will steal the idea. hahaha…

But the biggest dream would be to travel the world body painting regular people from every country with something that represents them and turn that into a book.

PSH: I am sure one of the most common questions you are asked is “How can I get into body painting”? You actually teach face and body painting classes so tell us a little more about them and what students can expect to learn by attending.
LP: I teach Beginning Body Painting Classes and Advanced body painting Classes

At the Beginner’s Class you learn the very basics: How important it is to pay attention to the model and what makes them feel the most comfortable (since some paintings can go up to 8 hours), The right materials to use on the body, The different types of paint, when and how to use them, Brush and sponge techniques, how to create you concept and transfer it to the body, Balance and placement of colors that will give you the best results on the body, introduction to airbrush.

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Image Courtesy of Paesani Designs

At the Advanced Class you will learn and get in depth on how to blend your colors perfectly, intricate line work with a brush, creating more complex body painting designs, exploring light, shadows, negative and positive spaces, the different airbrush paints when and how to use them, creating body painting designs and techniques using airbrush, character creation, camouflage painting and an introduction to body painting live at events, body painting photo shoot.

They both come with different material packages and they both come with a final at the end of the classes where you get a professional photo shoot of your creation and a certificate of completion.

I also teach Prop fabrication with foam and other materials.

For prices and availability just check my website, I am always happy to teach.

PSH: Is there anything else that you would like our readers to know?
LP: Yes, I would say body painting is a very unique form of art, while you are body painting someone it’s a very personal, intimate and beautiful experience. So, if you decide to explore the world of body painting just please keep it very respectful It took some time to be accepted and respected as a form of art even thou it has been done for centuries. If body painting is not for you, explore any other form of art, it is the most liberating, mind opening thing you can ever do. This world needs more artists.

Five years ago I opened Paesani Designs, a body painting business for parties, events, private photo shoots, conventions and now it became even stronger with my new team mate April Granados, she is a valuable addition because she is a research queen and a great background in prosthetic fabrication allowing us to create even more intricate and realistic characters.

PSH: Thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us and for allowing us to see your work in action.
LP: Thank you so much Anthony for spending the whole day with me and the crew during the Long Beach Comic Expo. It was a pleasure getting to know you.

You can connect with Luciano Paesani and get more information regarding booking and his classes at:

Website: https://www.paesanidesigns.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paesanidesigns/

Twitter and Instagram: @paesanidesigns

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