There may be a time during the competition when Brittney Pelloquin will have to wing it.
It’s not how she likes to work, but it’s not a problem if “Skin Wars” demands it.
“I don’t like going in cold. I like to sketch out my body paintings just as I would my paintings on canvas,” Pelloquin says. “But I’ve had to do body painting on the spur of the moment, and it opened my eyes. It made me see what I was capable of and prevented me from filtering my work.”
The Broussard native and Lafayette resident is competing in the third season of “Skin Wars,” premiering at 9 p.m. Wednesday on GSN. “Skin Wars” is television’s first body painting competition show. Its mission is to find the country’s most innovative body painter.
Pelloquin is one of 12 contestants competing in elaborate body painting challenges before the judges, entertainer RuPaul Charles and noted body painters Craig Tracy and Robin Slonina.
The winner will get a $100,000 cash prize, an all-expense paid trip for two to the World Body Painting Festival in Austria and a custom-made stencil line from Bad Ass Stencils with his or her name on it.
But first Pelloquin has to make it through the end of the season.
Pelloquin was ranked the No. 8 body painter in the United States at the 2014 Living Art America in Atlanta. She also placed 15th in the World Professional Brush and Sponge Category in the 2015 World Bodypainting Festival in Austria.
Her accomplishments, combined with her body of work, earned her an invitation from GSN to compete.
Pelloquin grew up in Opelousas and Carencro. She earned her bachelor’s degree in visual arts from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, after which she embarked on a career as a painter, making her living primarily from portrait commissions.
“I still paint on canvas and other surfaces, and I’m always working on a series or project for an exhibit,” she says. “I’ve even had exhibits of my body painting, which have some photographs of my work, along with some live models.”
Pelloquin began working with live models while in college, first creating body casts that she used as her canvases. But body casts take up a lot of room, and Pelloquin’s studio was running out of space.
So, she skipped the middle man and started painting directly on people.
“I still wanted to work in 3-D, so one day a friend suggested that I try body painting,” Pelloquin says. “The work spoke out to me the moment I tried it. It’s fulfilling, and it allows me to give new meaning to the artistic beauty of the nude human figure in all of its natural shapes and sizes.”
Pelloquin uses high-grade makeup paint on her subjects. It’s oil-based, which doesn’t clog pores, and moves with the skin.
“It doesn’t rub off easily,” she says. “It’s water activated, so it will come off with soap and water. I’ve had clients sleep in their body paint. I try to take photos of my work, but there are times when I can’t. Sometimes it’s OK to let art be art and let go of it.”
It’s also important to recognize that there’s more to body art than paint.
“I love watching a person’s transformation while I’m working,” Pelloguqin says. “I love watching them become comfortable in their own skin.”
The artist knows her television competition is stiff. Some are even acquaintances from previous competitions and gatherings. But in the end, it’s all about the art.
“This is such a personal art form, and I love connecting with my clients,” Pelloquin says. “I’ve watched people with mild personalities free themselves through this art. It’s about reaching out to people, and working directly with them. That’s the best reward.”