A Bognor Regis artist has moved beyond the typical easel and sketchbook – instead using people’s bodies as a canvas for her artwork. And now Elissa Barrett’s stunning designs have seen her representing the UK at international competitions.
The 33-year-old artist represented the UK in the amateur open body paint category at this year’s World Body Painting Festival in Austria.
Elissa, who worked alongside her two sisters Serena and Bonita at the event, was awarded a silver trophy.
The 18th World Body Painting Festival saw more than 45 nations competing at the beginning of July, in Pörtschach am Wörthersee, Austria.
Elissa studied at Bishop Luffa School, Chichester College and Northbrook College in Worthing, and now runs the business Imagine Face and Body Art and Design.
“I have always been an artist and designer and enjoy creating bespoke art work through all mediums,” said Elissa.
“I started painting faces about eight years ago and began to gain a real passion for creating art that makes people really happy. I always thrive to do my best on every creation, whatever the canvas.
“From moving into much more detailed face paints for adults, I started to expand my direction towards a relatively-new trend of body art.”
Elissa’s creations range from quirky and eclectic animal designs to surreal, otherworldly halloween art – all using the human body as her canvas.
She has also been commissioned to paint murals for local businesses, and even work on prints for Chichester’s Stagecoach buses.
Elissa added: “I started to enter competitions and have started to gain recognition and prizes for my work through every competition I have entered.
“It has been my ambition for a long time to be able to make it over to Austria to the World Body Painting Festival and this year I was lucky enough to have been able to make it across.
“I entered the amateur open category which means I could use a variety of techniques including brush and sponge, airbrushing and prosthetics.
“I was really lucky to have the support from my family and to have both my sisters join me, Serena Henry as my assistant and Bonita as my model.
“They were both fantastic.
“There were 37 contestants in my category and I came second in front of a seven-strong panel of judges, taking home silver for the UK.
“I believe I was the only artist from the UK to be placed in the top three of all 13 competitions which was absolutely amazing.
“I took home a trophy and certificate along with a makeup voucher for £100.
“I believe that being placed this time means that next year I should qualify for the world award.
“This win has given me a real boost to push myself forward in the makeup world and to keep on following my dreams.”
Elissa said she was also ‘very proud’ to have worked closely with local companies including Tangled children’s hair salon, Stagecoach, Aqualife swim centre and with the charity Count the Kicks, among others.
“A lot of my work now is focused on face and body art, murals and bespoke art work,” she said.
“I also focus a lot of my attention towards interior design.
“The competition was incredible, there was so much inspiration everywhere.
“I’m planning to enter more competitions in the future.”
Elissa is available for hire at events and children’s parties and even did body painting demonstrations at the Birdman competition in Worthing this year.