World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

Austria is home to the most bizarre and brilliant art festival of them all

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The Independent Culture

Any art fans eager to add more colour to their lives should book a ticket to next year's World Bodypainting Festival in Austria, judging by the stunning photos from the 2015 extravaganza.

More than 30,000 visitors descended upon the small town of Poertschach on Lake Woerthersee last week, where hundreds of near-naked models from over 45 countries became human canvasses for bold and brilliantly vivid designs.

The annual festival sees artists compete in a range of categories from brush and sponge to UV special effects and facepainting. Musicians from around the globe are also invited to perform and the community's theme this year was 'Fetish Couture'.


Headpieces and props are used by some artists to enhance their often surreal designs and bring them to life in staggering detail.

Inspiration was drawn from a huge array of sources including kaleidoscopes, chameleons, fortune tellers, birds of paradise and even chess.

Extravagant feathers adorn this model's bird-like outfit

Burlesque reds and blacks add drama to this design

This design draws on themes of destruction and robotics

The festival came to a close on Sunday when all the finished artworks were paraded and the awards presented to winners.

Bodypainting was barely heard of just two decades ago before Alex Barendregt founded the World Bodypainting Festival in 1998.

Fire and feathers create a striking phoenix style

Intricate honeycomb detail makes this design intimidating

Lurid colours and a sticking out tongue create a reptile look

"Increasingly, people dealing with their own body, realise how important it is to maintain, cherish and develop a whole new body awareness," the festival's official statement reads.

"The World Bodypainting Festival is defined as a melting pot of artistic performances, body art, art, music and lifestyle and stages not only your own body awareness, but also offers endless possibilities to decorate and display these.

"Here the body is the art."