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Liquid Latex Body Painting
A new twist on the age-old practice of body painting is doing it with a liquid latex material. This simple rubber compound is a fluid medium that is painted on the skin and then dries. By building up layers, whole outfits can be made and worn out in public. This unique material is popular for painted-on costuming effects in the movies, music videos and in the fetish dance club scene.
An episode of the tv show CSI, “Slaves of Las Vegas,” featured liquid latex found at the scene of a fetish-oriented murder. The perpetrator had painted all over his victim and the sticky black rubber film was utilized by the crime investigators to connect the victim and crime scene, as well as identify a piece of key evidence. Happily the non-fictional use of this easy and fun material is much more innocuous but just as dramatic.
The first concern of working with liquid latex is latex sensitivity. Patch test your model to check for product reaction. Anyone with a known latex allergy should avoid any and all contact with liquid latex. Paint a small area on an arm or leg of the model. Wear the latex for several hours, then remove it and see if there is any reddening, irritation or undue skin sensation in the hours after that. A slight itching may be normal when the skin begins to breathe under the latex, but if there is a persistent, uncomfortable sensation, stop and do not use this product.
Another concern is that liquid latex can be absorbed into anything made of cloth or with a fabric surface. Put down some sort of plastic tarp or drop cloth in the painting area, or make sure you are over something non-absorbent like tile. As the painter, wear old or protective clothing.
Make sure the area in which you will be working is warm, as the evaporation as the latex dries can chill the model slightly. Liquid latex contains a small amount of ammonia. Open the container and let it vent for a few minutes before you start working to get rid of the smell.
Get some great tips and inspiration for body painting with Body Painting: Masterpieces by Joanne Gair or
Drawing a Crowd: World Body Painting Festival, a DVD of the annual world-famous body painting event.
Content copyright © 2013 by Rae Schwarz. All rights reserved.
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