Last year due to the pandemic, for the first time in it’s more than two decade history, The World Bodypainting Festival live program had to be cancelled. But not one for sitting on the sidelines waiting to be able to join together again in person, the program’s founder Alex Barendregt decided to go online with the event. The virtual event was a great success and while the 2021 event was originally planned to go live again in Klagenfurt, Austria, the ongoing pandemic issues made this impossible so Alex once again is going online with the program. We sat down (virtually) with Alex to learn more about this months event.
This will mark the second year that the WBF has been held virtually. How was last year’s event received by the WBF community?
The community fully understood that we had to cancel the live event. It took us some weeks to announce that we are going to do a virtual event and the response was incredible. They loved it very much to be able to create some art at least from their homes. The common feeling during the pandemic was depressing enough, it was a
bright light on the dark horizon that we pulled off such a virtual contest. Within the week of the program, the world was busy creating bodypainting and makeup art. Artists from 55 nations took part, which is just incredible. After asking some people if they want to share their studio, or makeup school with other artists, the WBF Creative hotspots were born. 20 of these WBF hotspots around the world invited other artists and they made a kind of micro festival in their city.
What were some of the highlights from last year?
We didn’t realize it while organizing the event, but this WBF Covid Edition 2020 was the first World Championship (not only in the makeup industry) that went from a Live to a Hybrid version. The full week was a highlight, with such a diverse program. The final TV Show we broadcasted was a unique new experience, for me personally as a host, and for the community as a format of presenting.
What will be different about this year’s program?
We will have more competition categories online and one live, the World Camouflage Award. There are many more art installations taking place every day on various squares in the old town. Every day we have 5 installation plus exhibitions in some galleries. We will also stream 8 workshop programs within the week.
How many competitions are there this year?
There are 8 online categories and 1 live category.
How does the virtual competition work?
We have specific guidelines fore each category, what is allowed and what not, we have themes and we have timings. The artist has for example 8 hours time to finish the bodypainting. They need to provide specific photos from the beginning to the end. After the 8 hours they can upload the final images of the model in our new programed upload system. Everybody can work in his/her timezone. The day after we check all the data
and start judging.
Does it all happen in real-time or is it pre-recorded?
Everything is realtime. There is one day for each contest, and it’s only on that day.
There are also some in-person elements as well as the virtual competition yes?
We want to connect especially to the WBF creative hotspots, to those locations that are providing their space to others to have a common great time painting. For example we have a WBF Creative Hotspot in New York at the school of John and Anabel Vargas.
We will show around what is happening there and in other Creative Hotspots. Beside the TV Show, we have every day a “recap of the day” where we are going to show many images from those artists who participated. There are also installations
You are including an educational element for WB Academy as well again this year virtually?
We will have 8 instructors in the WB Academy program. They take place in the first 4 days of the festival week, mornings and evenings. Bodypainting, Makeup, Airbrush, Action painting, Hair and more. All 8 workshops are available for a €30 fee. Those who are live in Klagenfurt, can see these masterclasses free of charges. Workshop details and bookings are at: http://online.wb-academy.com
Why was it important to you to have the event again virtually this year instead of simply postponing it?
Postponing for me personally is giving up. I do not give up ever, and next year we are celebrating the 25th anniversary. It will be amazing.
How can people watch the event?
The daily recaps and the final TV Show are broadcasted on www.wb-festival.com plus our social media channels on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube.
Installation Art by Elena Tagliapietra in the host city of Klagenfurt Photo Elisabeth Neumann-9036
Installation Art by Bella Volen photo by Daniel Janesch
Creative Makeup by Low Guan-Jin from Taiwan photo by Jasmine Walters
World Award Airbrush Alex Hansen Brazil photo Udo Schurr
World Award Facepainting Castro Gomez Adrian Mexico
Photo Noe Duran, Alex Barendregt broadcasting the WBF TV Show photo Daniel Janesch