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Art Talk: Reality show draws in Artists with unique canvas’

Painting a naked body; sounds ludicrous, right?


It’s actually a beautiful and challenging artform.

The Game Show Network has a television series called Skin Wars that’s now available on Netflix. It’s like a typical competition reality show, but instead of singing or dancing, contestants paint a naked model.

Each episode contains two challenges: the first one is smaller, and the winner of it gains an advantage for the next challenge; and the “concept challenge” where the worst painting gets a ticket home. Each episode contains a new twist to test the artists.

Painters are expected to create and execute elaborate pieces in as short as 90 minutes. Vicki Martin, an instructor at Eastern College Halifax for makeup artistry, is also a body painter. She says it takes her at least three hours to complete a full look, but depending on detail it can take substantially longer.

Martin believes the show is realistic for the expectations of working professionally and shows it to her students. She says that it demonstrates the importance of time management as competitors struggle with time constraints in the first episodes.

Drama saved for the art

Skin Wars focuses on the art. It showcases incredible creative and technical pieces, but if drama is what a viewer is craving in reality TV, they should keep browsing.

Everything is pretty civil, artists argue but no crazy tantrums occur, avoiding giving the audience secondhand embarrassment. The art speaks for itself, and provides all the drama needed for this reality show. An upside for anyone watching for the art, but perhaps a thumbs-down for anyone who watches reality TV for the theatrics.

Although those into drag races (the ones with high heels and wigs, not cars) will love the judges panel, as RuPaul Charles, the queen of all drag queens graces it. Unfortunately not in drag, but he still adds extra pizzazz.

Skin Wars, while not dripping with overexaggerated arguments, has lots to offer a viewer. Amazing art, intense competition, and a little sass (looking at you RuPaul).


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