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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014

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In Arts & Entertainment

The beginnings of a masterpiece in Booth 1836 at the Wisconsin State Fair. (PHOTO: Molly Snyder)

In Arts & Entertainment

Lions, tigers, skulls, lizards and more, your request is Mejia's desire. (PHOTO: Molly Snyder)

In Arts & Entertainment

The tools of the body painting trade. (PHOTO: Molly Snyder)

In Arts & Entertainment

Select your favorite, or ask for something just for you. (PHOTO: Molly Snyder)

In Arts & Entertainment

Selected work from Mejia's portfolio.

In Arts & Entertainment

Selected work from Mejia's portfolio.

In Arts & Entertainment

Selected work from Mejia's portfolio.

In Arts & Entertainment

Selected work from Mejia's portfolio.

Express yourself at the State Fair with uncoverbodyart's face and body painting


If you're into unique forms of self-expression, Michael Mejia of uncoverbodyart is an artist to check out. Mejia, a native of New York City, is a face and body painter who recently found himself in Madison, Wisconsin.

"I attended the School of Visual Arts in NYC for graphic design and fine arts," he said in an email. "I decided to change my career path early this year. I moved to Madison last month to become a resident of the state and eventually go back to school for pre-med courses and eventually med school."

"I am passionate about my art work and I am drawn to anatomy and I am excited to see where I will be in a few months as I begin my studies," he continued. "I have the dexterity and the personality that I think would be a great asset in a medical field."

Mejia's artistic style tends to be animalistic, with tigers, razor-toothed fish and exaggerated lizards. One sensual video shows a crocodile's mouth opening and closing, eventually surprising the viewer by revealing the body of a woman as the camera pulls out. Beyond animals, Mejia's pattern work is also beautiful and surprising.

"I want to create unimaginable, transformative work and have the viewer undergo a state of confusion, then realization, that their mind had been fooling them to think that the image in front of them is completely different from what they originally thought," Mejia said.

So how does one get into body painting?

"I started by assisting a good friend of mine who has been doing it for maybe 10 years, and she supplied me with a lot of paints," Mejia said. "When I first started doing body painting, it was mostly decorative. As I gained experience, I explored the medium along with my muse, Polina Belomlinskaya, and was amazed at the power of transformation that body painting offers. Eventually I started passing on the gigs that weren't compensating enough money ... the small company grew, and I ended up doing it for a living."

But the Midwest adds an extra challenge to the body painting game. According to Mejia, face and body painting "isn't a big thing like it is in NYC." As a result, Mejia found himself hustling on behalf of other clients.

"When I was hired as a leads generator representative for American Laser Skin Care for the Dane County Fair, I painted faces to attract clients as a way generate more leads," Mejia noted. "At that fair, I met the Direct TV team, which hired me as a face painter to attract clients at the Racine County Fair."

Whether working parties, gigs, fairs or freelance, Mejia said, "The goal is always to nourish my creativity on a living canvas."

"I always push my boundaries and learn something new," he said. "Many times, I meet kids or adults that inspire me to work beyond my comfort zone."

Mejia will be painting in booth 1836 in the exhibit hall for two weekends at the Wisconsin State Fair on behalf of American Laser Skin Care from Thursday, July 31 through Sunday, August 3 and again from Friday, August 8 through Sunday, August 10.

Update: August 4, 2014

Due to scheduling conflicts, Mejia will not be returning to the State Fairgrounds after August 3rd.


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