Unique canvas weathers all worries

Australian Body Art Carnivale entrant Donna Pottinger (left) with artist Tina Louise Sawyer.
Australian Body Art Carnivale entrant Donna Pottinger (left) with artist Tina Louise Sawyer.

STARK naked but for undies and a veneer of spray-paint, the last thing Donna Pottinger wants to think about is the cold.

For a model in the Australian Body Art Carnivale, the weather can be a cruel mistress indeed.

“You’re standing there for about six hours while they paint you. It’s hard work,” she said.

This is not your regular kid’s face-painting gig.

Once a year, Ms Pottinger takes time off from her administration job in Walloon to be transformed head-to-toe into a living work of art.

Next month she will grin and bare it once again at the Australian Body Art Carnivale in Eumundi.

“I’ve just come back from Thailand (and Thai food) so I’ve got about five weeks to get in shape,” she said.

“My artist did an amazing job last year and I can’t wait to see what she has planned.”

Four years ago, Ms Pottinger fulfilled her dream to become a human canvas.

It all stemmed from an otherwise unremarkable trip to the shops.

“Getting body art done was always on my ‘to do’ list but I never realised I could get it done in Australia,” she said.

“I was at a shopping centre and saw a girl walking around covered in art, so I asked where she got it done.

“She was advertising for the Body Art Carnivale and told me they were looking for models.”

Since then Ms Pottinger has been morphed into a metallic mountain, a drought-stricken desert and a python-coiled jungle scene.

Come May 13, not even she knows what pastel creation she will become.

“Last year a girl created an entire outfit out of bottle caps, spray painted gold and sewn together,” she said.

“It’s a competition for the artists — in their community it’s all about being recognised as the best in the field.

“You wouldn’t believe some of the artworks they have there.”

Ms Pottinger said the hardest part was not the ever-present eye of the audience, but enduring hours standing like a statue.

She has developed a method of avoiding turning up to work glowing like a fluorescent oompa-loompa.

“I always try to take the next day off work,” she laughed.

“The paint isn’t too hard to get off, but sometimes my bathroom does get a bit colourful by the end of it!”

For the next month Ms Pottinger and her artist, Tina Louise Sawyer, will be trialling different paints and patterns on their unconventional canvas.

“My artist sent me a text message this morning asking if we can do a couple of run-throughs,” Ms Pottinger said.

“I know it’s going to be very cool.”

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