The Mr. Olympia competition began in 1965 and has gained world-wide fandom in the body building arena. Former Mr. Olympia champions include Larry Scott (the first Mr. Olympia), eight-time champions Lee Haney and Ronnie Coleman, and of course the first to win 6 consecutive titles before becoming the Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno launched film careers from the filming of the event in South Africa that was released in theaters as Pumping Iron in 1977. This year the title went to Jay Cutler after being runner up to Ronnie Coleman four times. Now about those painted girls....
Weighing in at about 150lbs and 6'-0", I obviously had nothing to do with the bodybuilding competition. I did, however, take part in this year's Mr. Olympia event in Las Vegas as the bodypainter for the beautiful models in the Thermolife International booth. Thermolife president, Ron Kramer, had been searching throughout the United States for a bodypainter that could produce the results that he had in mind. Lucky for me, several of his contacts referred him to me. Lucky for him, it turned out that I only live about 2 miles away from him. Kinda' wild, huh? I was able to meet with him and discuss the specifics of the project and then we all met up in Las Vegas at the Orleans Hotel and Casino. My assignment was to paint 5 models on Friday morning by 10 a.m. and then to paint them again on Saturday morning again by 10 a.m. So here's the story...
I think we got started around 5:30am with the Friday morning paintings. I had discussed the painting details with Ron and the consensus was that I would be painting the logos from five of Thermolife's products on the model's upper torsos. Now again I will plead ignorant to knowing anything about these products, but if you are interested in more info on Thermolife's bodybuilding suppliments, I encourage you to visit their website at www.Thermolife.com . Each of the five models were going to be painted with the logos for E-BOL, TEKNO3, STIZM, TRIBOSTEN, and DICANA. By about 9:30, I had completed four of the paintings and I was frantically finishing up the fifth when all kinds of drama started to develop around me. The first was a miscommunication that the paintings would look like T-shirts. This was an idea that I had discussed with Ron, but we decided to go with a concept that would have impact from farther away. The models were not happy about the limited paint coverage on their breasts assuming they would be walking around under bright lights. They were unhappy, Ron was unhappy, and I was trying to find a solution for everyone while I was painting the last model. I asked everyone to come to my room at the Orleans where we were doing the paintings. Voices were getting higher and higher and tempers were starting to flair when all of the sudden the hotel security and fire department shows up asking where the fire is. It turns out that the spray from my airbrush had set off the silent smoke detectors in the hallway while everyone was coming into my room. So now I have 5 unhappy models, one of their boyfriends, Ron, hotel security people all looking at me for resolution. By the way, hotel security also invited the chief of housekeeping to to the party to investigate any paint damage.
It is 10:00am when the commotion is relieved by the addition of more black paint and "camoflauge" design over the model's nipples. Everyone seems content with the paintings now and the hotel staff has decided that everything is O.K. with my room. Everyone shuttles off to the Mr. Olympia Convention and I am left behind to clean up my paints and get myself ready to go to the convention. There's one other piece of drama for the morning though. A friend of mine had driven up to Vegas the previous night and we had planned on hanging out and doing some gambling later. But in the peaceful calm of my recently quieted room, I get a collect call from the Clark County Detention Center and it turns out to be my buddy...in jail. I'll stop there since this part of the story has nothing to do with the Thermolife girls.
It might have been about 1pm before I was able to get over to the Las Vegas Convention Center where the Thermolife booth was crowded with people three-rows-deep taking pictures of the painted girls. A quick count revealed only four of the girls so I asked where the other had gone. I didn't get the whole story, but it was the one model who had her boyfriend along and apparently he didn't want her to be involved in the convention and he took her back to the hotel. Because of that I never got a picture of this model. It really sucks to do a bodypainting and then never get a chance to "save" it to a photograph, but luckily one of the Thermolife representatives got a picture of her and one of the other models before she was swept away. I found the picture on the www.bodybuilding.com website and this is the only picture that I know of that has the "DICANA" model (on left), click to enlarge.
When I first met each of these models, I realized that they were very pretty and had great figures, but it wasn't until I got to the booth and looked at them through the camera lens that I realized that they were among the most beautiful models that I had ever worked with. These were pro models who were flown in from Chicago, but several of them are originally from Poland. Their accents were just adorable even when the foul words were rolling off their tongues. I enjoyed listening to them talk in Polish to each other and even learned the phrase Tak Tak (not sure of the spelling and now I even forget what it means). Here are pics of each of the remaining girls displaying their products at the booth.
You may notice that each of the models had been instructed to cover their nipples with black tape by the time that I had arrived. So much for all of the worry over that issue. There are a few pictures out on the internet that were taken before the tape was added, but all of my shots include the black tape pasties. Below is a picture of the never-ending crowd of bodypaint enthusiasts with camera phones, a picture of Ron with his angels, and a shot of one of my models with 1993 Ms. National Fitness Champion Sherry Goggins.
Overall the day seemed to go very well and I think that everyone ended up happy with the results of the bodypaintings.
I assumed that I would only be painting 4 of the original 5 models today, but I was surprised to find out that we were down to three. Again I don't know the details, but it had to do with the one model's boyfriend showing up for day 2. The models that were left were Patrycja (the brunette), Aneta (the taller blonde), and Beata (the shorter blonde). Today's assignment was to make them all feel more comfortable with painted-on T-shirts and store-bought pasties. Ron was able to purchase pasties across from the hotel at an adult novelty shop and they were made of soft felt, much better for the girls than black electrical tape. I painted each of the models in matching black midriff tees with the Themolife International logo on the front. We got a little bit of a late start, but all of the models were in the booth by about 10:30 am and everyone seemed to be thrilled with the paintings today (and by the way, my friend got out of jail). Ron said, "Mark, this is definitely your best work ever!" Here are a bunch of shots from the day.
In January 2007, one picture of Patrycja and Aneta was shown in Muscle & Fitness Magazine. Here is a scan of the cover, the page, and a blow up of their picture.
Specifications: For this project I used Badger
Airbrushes and Compressors, Reel
Creations bodypaints for all airbrush applications, and Wolfe
Brothers, Kryolan, and Paradise
paints for all detailed brushwork.
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Unless noted otherwise, Photography and Artwork by Mark Greenawalt c2006. All rights reserved.
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