How are you today?
Elite Artists, Artists of the Month February is " Victoria Gugenheim " . Victoria is truly an amazing and a well known body painter in the industry. Her skills and style has set forth new and amazing way of body painting and presenting the whole theme as one masterpiece. Hello Victoria, how are you today?
Very well, and yourself? I am fine Thank you. Victoria, you are a very well known artist and an internet sensation. I had been viewing your art for quite some time but I am very happy to interview you today. This is truly an honor.
Why thank you! Thanks for taking the time to pander to my fragile ego! Tell us a little about yourself - where you're from, what you like to do in your free time, etc?
I was born on the ethico-corporate planet Glamtabula 69 which I created out of my nascent consciousness. I hatched out of an ornate black alien egg decorated in Swarovski Crystals (we have a sponsorship) and was covered in glittering hypoallergenic pink goo. I then selected the form I wanted to inhabit from our extensive intergalactic database and decided a human was better than an arthropod. I now have a duplicate of me produced from mitosis which is currently inhabiting Battersea Power Station and is keeping my eggs warm until the apocalypse comes.
In my free time I will be doing a degree in microbiology, you know, just
in case my ex comes round and I need quick access to weaponized
Oh My!, Totally out of this world Tell us about your childhood, personal life and about your family?
I was drawing before I could speak. I was constantly drawing and studious, and I started doing makeup at around 7 years old (and was also stealing the teacher's textbooks as I found class very slow). I had my first set of Facepaints at 9 and progressed downwards from there. I was constantly creating characters and identities. I also starting doing photography at around 10.
I would very much like to go back to Glamtabula, but if you take the form of a human you can't go back there until you die (it's complicated). They then collect your soul after you've expired and have you recycled- they're eco friendly like that. I do miss Andydroid776922 though. He was rather dashing.
My adoptive earth parents were a spectacularly talented Engineer (world record holding) and an Artist. I got quite a spectacular smattering of recombinant DNA. My earth sister is an awesome, witty and crazy poet and musician who I love dearly, who I wish would believe in herself more, because she's so talented and intelligent she could do whatever she wanted if she thought more positively. Totally Awesome....Did you have any nicknames as a child?
The quiet one. Oh how times have changed. Tell us about your education and how are you engaged professionally in your career.
I am a self taught artist. Recently Wolf's Bodymagic (www.wolf-bodymagic.de
) has been a mentor to me, which I am incredibly grateful for! I do body painting, styling, makeup, SFX and props, as well as performance. I'm currently 8th in the world for my UV work. I also love the diversity of the job. I can be doing a corporate gig like Nokia one minute, or something more outrageous like Alice Cooper the next. You can do anything in this industry from a one on one makeover to a huge party. Body paint is so versatile, it's fantastic. I'm going to be doing the catwalk for London Alternative Fashion Week in April for Wolf's Bodymagic which I am just ecstatic about. I will be living and breathing art.
My ultimate goal is to create breathtaking, rapturous works of art that leave people speechless with joy. Making people happy on this job is one of the main reasons I do it. What have you always wanted to be in your life?
An artist. I got my wish. If that gets boring I'll go down the mad scientist route and take over the world. Should keep me going for a while. So when did you realize that you were an artist, and when did you did your first body paint?
When I was able to hold a pencil and draw, I was an artist. so....2 or 3 years old? I was face painting, torso painting, doing motifs and concepts from the age of 9. I knew this is how I wanted to progress from 7. How would you define Body Art? And why is this getting popular these days?
Bodyart is simply art on the human body. In social terms it's the process of putting body paint on a human canvas for artistic results. This can be fine art or commercial.
Bodyart is the oldest form of art in the world, even before makeup. It's now getting its ultimate revival. With the rise of The World Bodypainting Festival and emerging artists stretching the boundaries of what's possible, the media have now decided to jump on the bandwagon and so it's used more extensively in advertising.
I don't think it was ever predictable, it's just a fortunate and random occurrence that the media like it now. There is the unfortunate downside with the pornification of society that people see the art as porn because it's on a naked body, focusing on the lack of clothes as opposed to the art, but this is NOT what it is about. At all. If you're body painting for this reason please, give up and go and work at your local convenience store. You are a disgrace to the profession. I totally agree with you.What kind of colours do you use? Can they be washed away or do they leave marks on the body afterwards. ?
I use ECD approved paints. These can be washed off in the shower. What is the difference between body painting and Tattoo Art?
Tattooing is a permanent art form, Bodypainting is impermanent and will wash off with soap/shower gel and water. You can always have some body art applied that looks exactly like a tattoo but will wash off in a week or two with special paints. They are great fun to do. Do you teach body art at any institution?
I hold workshops at The World Bodypainting Festival and also at other bodypainting events, I can also be hired to do tuition at any academy througout the world, and hold 1 on 1 tuition on Makeup, Skincare, Brushcare, Health and Safety for Bodypainters, Body confidence through bodypainting, and integrating Makeup with Bodypainting, SFX for independent film makers, among many other specialised courses. There is always an inspiration; what inspired you or flamed the spark in you that moved you to become an artist?
I was born an artist. I happily never needed inspiration to become one. For my art, I take inspiration from everything from Sci Fi to Drag Queens and more. My inspiration is on a hair trigger and it can be anything from dirty gutter water to a piece of machinery that will inspire me. Oh, and I love retro games, transhumanism and the sciences. They are a huge inspiration. Your visualization is excellent, how do you visualize the texture and concept?
In my head. I get a flash of how that person will look as a finished piece of art. Do you have a favorite artist that you admire?
There are so many I doubt I could choose a favorite.
If you could work with just one artist on a project, who would it be?
Pierre et Gilles on a bodypainting photo project. Then I could die happy. Although there are so many artists I want to work with that it's unreal. Can art be made a means of living and as a professional career? If you are engaged professionally in the Arts as a profession, what is your experience?
I have quite a lot of experience- I've worked in parties, burlesque shows, corporate gigs, London Fashion Week, Nokia, The World Bodypainting Festival Fashion Show, Eileen Daly, Alice Cooper, Independent films, hundreds of photoshoots, and troupes and assisted at academies. What do you think is the most important thing an artist should learn, technically speaking?
Proportion and perspective. You are frankly, fucked as an artist without either of them. Do you listen to any type of music to energize yourself while you’re working?
This depends on time limit and location.
Have you had any misconceptions regarding you and your work?
A lot of people think me stuck up. I tell people the truth, offer constructive advice and I give a lot of my time and patience to my clients and I put my heart and soul into my work. But hey, as Marilyn Manson said, society is looking for a scapegoat, so here I am! Would you like to give some advice for upcoming artists?
1.Prepare for poverty, hard work, people trying to sabotage you at every step, jealousy and more hard work. It's a cutthroat industry with hundreds of hack artists out there who are vying for work.
2.Don't charge less for your work to get a gig- this drives down the economy and means that a lot of idiots work for free because they believe it to be good exposure. Let me tell you something, exposure isn't always good. People die of exposure! Most of the time these people who get you for free will take serious liberties and will expect you to do more work for free. Can you afford to spend £250+ a time on bodypaint or makeup and transport to work for some douche for free? Didn't think so.
3.When in doubt, learn from a professional. I cannot stress this enough. It is money well spent!
4.Youtube tutorials are mostly GARBAGE. There are some really good ones out there, but the majority aren't You can't separate good advice from bad if you're new, so please, save up and go to a workshop at The World Bodypainting Festival or similar instead of taking shoddy advice which can damage your props, paints and your professional reputation. The worrying thing is some people think they know what they're talking about when they really don't.
Some idiot was told on YouTube that fabric paints are ok for children’s faces!!! You can poison them with those! Please, learn from a professional if in any doubt. Do you participate in the exhibitions?
As many as I can, yes. I am planning a solo exhibition for later this year in London. I will announce details as soon as possible. One of my previous exhibitions in 2007 and was entered into the Turner Prize and The Saatchi Showdown respectively. I tend not to go the high art way right now though, I tend to like things which are beautiful, highly detailed and also approachable. High art right now has become none of those and separated itself from its audience, which if not careful can spell suicide.
I like the below mentioned thumbs/links of your photograph. Please describe each one briefly; how did you make it and what was the idea?
This was a collaboration between Wolf's Bodymagic and Myself, commissioned for Robosteel. For this one we had a concept and stuck to it. It's also a piece that works in both blacklight and regular light. It was commissioned for Robosteel and we wanted her to look like she could have forged the bike from the same metal she is made out of, hence the name Diesel Diva. Flawless victory is a nod to the awesome retro game, Mortal Kombat.
Wolf's Bodymagic and I did this for Nokia and the jeans are what the client wanted. We had 7 girls to do in 4 hours which was a real challenge, but we did it.
I love working with people with unconventionally beautiful body types. The idea was a nod to Oblivion the game (she has an oblivion style portal painted on her back ) and to explore a class of LARP character (Live Action Role Play) which is one of the tried and tested favorites, usually a noble looking man in white. I wanted to see what else I could do with it and this was the result. There was no real concept drawn, I just went for it.
AU is the symbol for gold on the periodic table of elements, hence the name. I wanted a slight retrofuturist feel which is why I went with the name Automaton as opposed to robot (although they aren't really interchangeable) I wanted something very “bling” but also stylish, and beautiful, oddly without being too over the top, which is usually what bling is
I loved this concept. This was done right after the riots with the awesome graffiti artist, Mr Shiz. The idea was that something that came out of the ghetto could emerge elegant and beautiful, and doesn't have to be destructive, so the graffiti was the kimono and her skin was “blinged up” using a very precise golden paint. The sleeves are “prosthetics” from cloth Wolf and I made, blended into the paint.
This was for Grant Ibatasmas Masruuq and was his concept. The idea was for an unconventional fallen eve, using an older model instead of a younger one, with almost a pagan feel to it despite the biblical undertones. She was meant to be more sensual, more in control, and with complementary tones using the purples and blues etc around the eyes.
All of the above were hand painted on using very high quality bodypaint. Well, it’s been a pleasure chatting with you. Thanks so much for your time!
You're welcome! It's been a pleasure here too!
Well folks there you have it, a very inspirational and educative tutorial for bodypainting lovers and new upcoming artists. We wish Victoria a bright and successful future.