Arts & Culture

The Body Eclectic

New book reveals body painting as fine art.

For Halloween 2006, Jen Seidel decided to dress as a cheetah for a costume competition in Washington, D.C. But instead of purchasing a pre-made outfit, she spent 10 hours recreating the African cat’s spotted coat with body paint. The feedback she received made her think that she was on to something.

“I said, ‘I’m going to figure out how to make this work as a profession,’” recalls the 45-year-old Reisterstown mother of three.

And she has. Nearly a decade later, Seidel’s work is in demand from companies and private clients, who request everything from album covers to logos painted on human canvases. Her new coffee-table book Covered showcases her many designs.

Though Seidel admits her medium is inherently provocative, she works hard to avoid vulgarity, requiring her models to wear pasties and clothing on their bottom halves during live events.

“It’s still risqué, but it’s pushing it right to the edge where it’s acceptable because it’s art.”