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Welsh Bodypainting Team Conquer The World!

19th September 2004

Following her success in Europe, Raphaelle Fieldhouse from Abertridwr near Caerphilly and resident entertainers at Cardiff Blues home games, has now attained the acclaimed title ‘World Bodypainting Champion 2004’

The championships were held during the World Bodypainting Festival in Seeboden, Austria 23 – 25th July. Raphaelle and her team were representing Wales for the first time, alongside 36 other countries from all over the world.

Over 160 artists entered the competition in three different categories: Airbrush, Special Effects and Brush & Sponge. Raphaelle entered the brush & sponge category and had a massive 10point lead after the qualifying day. This first day’s theme was Myths & Fairytales for which she painted her model Charlie Dean as a phoenix. The theme for the final was Water and Raphaelle chose to interpret the different states of water through solid ice, liquid water and gaseous steam. The piece de resistance was the model’s back, which had a vivid rendition of horses galloping out of the waves.

Raphaelle prepared her designs before leaving for Austria, and then sat down with her assistant, husband Gary, and worked out a time sheme for the actual painting as the competition allowed 5 hours to paint the model. It was Gary’s job to make sure that the schedule was adhered to and that everything was completed on time and to a very high standard. It was also his responsibility to feed and water the artist and her model as they were concentrating on the painting.

Each day after the painting was completed, the models were photographed against the impressive scenery of S. Austria amidst the lakes, mountains and forests. They were then individually presented on stage to music. Some entrants prepared elaborate dance routines, others had handheld fireworks and others acted out small sketches relevant to their chosen subject. Overall the festival was an inspirational feast for the eyes with many artists getting together, making friends and swapping ideas.

Bodypainting is a growing artform which uses a model to be painted all over their skin instead of using a conventional flat canvas. Though this presents its own problems, it allows the artist’s work to take on a sculptural quality, which can quite literally come to life.

Raphaelle is a professional artist who runs her own business Body Canvas with her husband Gary. Her work involves make-up, bodypainting, wearable art and murals. Visit their site at