Madelyn Greco- USA (artist)
A1. It’s my now-husband’s fault, entirely! We met when I saw his work at an outdoor festival and just wanted to be painted by him. Scott is fond of telling people it wasn’t til much later that he saw me with clothes on! I had no idea to follow would be the change of my life, my livelihood or location (I changed cities from 10 hours away to be with him), but I joined in assisting him almost immediately. I also hadn’t a clue then, that we would make history together as the only artist team to capture 5 consecutive World Championships in 5 separate World Award categories, sweeping it in 4 year’s time (We have 6 WBF trophies in total, counting two “Silver Ladies”, as well).
A2. I’m a lifelong artist with a degree from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh (PA, USA). I was a freelance graphic designer and burlesque/cabaret theatre performer and hadn’t ever considered makeup/bodypainting as a potential career. I tell people Bodypainting slowly swallowed up my previous life. It just became apparent that that was the path forward with the most success possible for us. I had fallen in love with every aspect of the practice, including some obvious therapeutic and healing aspects that painted people often experience. As my skills sharpened, I knew the experience of bodypainting was one of the best gifts I could offer to other humans in our world. It’s very gratifying for an artist, to see your work interact with the world - with life, breath, sight, emotions and imbued with the soul of the person inside of it. I paint many substates besides skin, but bodypainting is the only art form I create for that is truly alive and that holds an undeniable power!
A3. My husband Scott Fray, of course. Also with many students and artists I’ve mentored. We have locally The Carolina Bodypainting Guild, comprised of many of these same artists who’ve been bitten by the bodypainting bug - some as the result of direct interaction with us, through Living Art America - The North American Bodypainting Championships. I also have an ongoing collaborative project with dear friend and fellow World Bodypainting Academy instructor, Gert Leeftink of the Netherlands. Every time we spend a few days in one another’s company - we arrange to co-author a bodypaint, together. The results are always surprising and painting with him is very joyful and also stylistically freeing, for me. I first met Gert because his beautiful daughter Kim Leeftink was our model for most all of our World Champion successes as well as competitions abroad. These kinds of strong, familial bonds, such as Scott and I have with the Leeftink family seem very commonplace in our global bodypainting community, and are one of the gifts of this art form that we enjoy most!
A4. At the WBF, our five 1st Places came in this order: Brush & Sponge Category (2011), Special Effects Bodypaint Category (2012), Airbrush Category (2013), UV Category (2014), World Facepainting Award (2014). The biggest event in prize money terms is the Daegu International Bodypainting Festival, Daegu, S. Korea. We won that in 2012 and the top prize is One Million Korean Won, or the equivalent to about $9,000.00 US Dollars. The biggest stand-alone bodypaint event we’ve put on ourselves is Living Art America - The North American Bodypainting Championships, though we sponsored many smaller, regional exhibitions and competitions throughout the year as an adjunct, to that. “LAA” grew over 5 years of production to include artists who came to compete from 19 countries and 5 continents and was produced in 2 cites here in the USA. The largest bodypainting event we currently produce is “The Jan Tana Bodypainting Revolution”, an international series competition that takes place within Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Sports Festivals in the USA, Spain and South Africa. The USA Arnold Sports Fest draws 250,000 spectators through its doors and we present our artists & models on The Arnold’s Saturday Main Stage to a live audience of around 4,000 attendees, live-streamed around the world in real-time.
A5. It depends upon the output. We may spend 4 hours on a live event painting, but 6-8 on a studio piece. Competition standard is usually 6 hours.
A6. II never notice the time passing while painting but at the end, we are exhausted and spent in the best way, possible!
A7. Anything that elevates and beautifies the magnificent human form. I personally gravitate towards that aesthetic in my own work. I am always fascinated as a judge however, by what other artists choose to do and how much influence other cultures exert on those choices. It’s always interesting to teach and judge in other countries to witness this, firsthand.
A8. It varies. We do not use clothing in our studio paintings, we prefer models to be nude for ease of workmanship, though certainly no focus is drawn to “sensitive areas” in a finished piece. We are personally anti-shame in regards to the human body and even first-time models quickly realize they do not feel or appear nude once we have been at work for several hours. For live events? We always defer to the rules of the venue, local, state, or municipal laws. We can paint models in pasties or full top-&-bottom bikini swimsuits - whatever is required. We just incorporate the fabric into the piece, in these cases.
A9. This is usually determined by the job we’ve been hired for. I make everything from headpieces to prosthetic to costuming - as is necessary for a given project.
A10. Buy decent quality professional makeup bodypaint to start with, the best you can afford (even if it means limited colors), and NEVER use anything not specifically created for use on skin. Also, quality artist brushes make a huge difference in the success you’ll have, initially. Study and learn from other artists whose work you’re inspired by - watch video tutorials or take workshops where available. Finally, believe in yourself and your desire to improve. Everyone struggles from time-to-time, but the hours you log in learning hold infinite value for your growth as an artist. Learn from everything and you’ll find a harmonious place within your own practice.