Episode #186 — Body Painter Breanna Cooke

Here at Why? The Podcast, we can get philosophical when the mood strikes us. What is happiness, does God exist, how many jellybeans are in the jar so we can win a trip to Branson, Missouri … we ponder all the big questions. But one of our favorites is the debate regarding whether art is truly subjective. In other words, does art appreciation depend on the opinions and emotions of each individual viewer, or are there a set of objective principles that determine what makes a piece of artwork worthy of praise.
It will surprise no one that Heidi and Luke have differing views when it comes to art. While one is happy to display anything produced at the Factory’s studio, the other will only spend their days studying Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights.” We’ll leave it up to you to guess which is which. And while we’d never want to art-shame anyone, it’s not healthy to stare at that Bosch triptych day in and day out. All those transparent spheres, naked people cavorting in a mussel shell, and a hollowed-out tree person with more naked people sitting inside at the dinner table … it can make you lose your grip on reality. That explains quite a bit.
So, the argument about subjective versus objective art appreciation rages on. But there’s one thing everyone can agree one: truly good body painting is an incredible artistic endeavor. And we have the guest to prove it! For this week’s episode, we spoke with body painter, graphic designer, clothing designer, and all-around amazing person Breanna Cooke. She creates award-winning body painting designs for photoshoots, fashion shows, events, personal requests, you name it. The human body is her canvas and she’s a master at her craft.
Side note: For this week’s episode, we highly recommend checking out Breanna’s work on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter before listening. (You can also place orders from her online store, which we’ve already done.) That way, you’ll get a better sense of what body painting refers to. We’re not talking about painting yourself for a football game, doing Smurfs cosplay, or getting your face done at a carnival or kid’s birthday party. Those are all fun and valid things! But this is about creating a walking work of art, guaranteed to get a lot of double-takes and exclamations of excitement. So, check out her websites and social media and prepare to be amazed. (You can find Breanna on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook right here.)
We started by asking Breanna how she got into body painting in the first place. We’ll save the details for the episode, but her first work was on herself. That’s mind-blowing to us. It’s hard enough to French braid your own hair — we can’t imagine trying to paint yourself. Breanna talked about how she had to relearn how to body paint in order to work on other people, the physicality of the work (both for herself and for the person getting painted), and whether she typically paints an entire body or just parts of it.
Naturally, we also had questions regarding what you talk about when applying paint to a nude person, possibly for hours. We’d definitely prefer some light conversation, or maybe a good body-painting music mix (Don McClean’s “Vincent”; Bowie’s “Andy Warhol”; “Mona Lisa” by Nat King Cole; the Creation’s “Painter Man”; the Stone’s “Paint it Black”; Jay-Z’s “Picasso Baby”; or just go all out with the original cast recording of “Paint Your Wagon”).
Breanna gave us great insight into her creative process, including what paints she uses, how people should prep before they’re painted on, what sorts of requests she gets, and what she might be happy to not paint again for a while. Breanna has also designed clothing, prints, stickers, and more, all based on some of her favorite creations. So, if booking an appointment with her isn’t in the cards right now, you can still have an amazing design on your body. Ultimately, objectively or subjectively, Breanna’s a talented designer and artist, and we can’t get enough of her work.

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