We absolutely love the idea of body art, especially when it’s executed with grace and beauty and most of all, a sense of surprise. It’s one thing to paint on a set of fake clothing; it’s another thing entirely to turn the human body into an unrecognizable work of art.
We’ve selected some of the most wildly ambitious examples of body art found on the web and shared them with you here. These projects represent the pinnacle of creativity when it comes to deconstructing the human form and doing something entirely new with it.
We’ve ordered the body art in a countdown, so be sure to get to the end to see the best of the best! If you’re ready to have your mind blown, read on.
25. Body Cello
While not the most realistic interpretation of a cello (they stand on the ground on an endpin), we love the audacious and sexy positioning here. Even the model’s hair is worked into the project, with hair pins looking like tuning knobs.
24. Red Brick Camouflage
This project is deceptively simple, purposely designed to blend in. The varied shades of brick are perfectly lined up with the underlying wall, giving us the impression of a futuristic optical camouflage from a Metal Gear Solid game!
23. Fishy Kiss
This one was simply way too adorable to ignore. It may not be the most ambitious body paint that we’ve come across, but it’s heartfelt and sweet in a way that most don’t even attempt. The blending of fish lips with actual lips is a subtle revelation.
22. Sagittarius Is Back
This gorgeous full-body work places a classically styled representation of Sagittarius on a woman’s back, including a deep purple night sky with twinkling stars, and a giant bow that stretches across her shoulders.
21. Yin Yang Koi
This one might take a second to recognize, because it involves the interaction between the body and the background. Resting against a pillow of white, which a black koi fish, the woman is painted black, sporting a white fish herself, for that perfect yin yang symmetry.
20. King Tut’s Domain
The most impressive aspect of this project is the intricate way that all of the pieces come together in this and only this pose. With her knees crossed and arms interlocked, the woman displays a wall of hieroglyphics below a landscape of pyramids beneath the stars, with her own face donning the visage of the famous gold Tut bust.
19. Not A Baby
This incredibly lifelike painting of a baby stretches across the woman’s breasts, using the roundness of her form to incredible effect. The way she holds herself even looks spot on, as far as how she’d look actually holding a newborn child.
18. Eye Of The Tiger
Here’s another body art project that demands very specific posing. We love the way that her hand paint intricately lines up with the perfect position, crafting a partial tiger face like magic origami.
Speaking of wildly specific posing, we’re astonished by this brilliant giraffe art! The woman is clearly a yoga master or contortionist, turning her leg into the lengthy neck and head of the earth’s tallest animal. The subtle use of white, to obscure unnecessary parts of the body, is especially nice.
16. Landscape Blend
The three main tiers of coloring on this image really make for an evocative picture. The woman blends almost seamlessly into the landscape with layers of red, greenery, and white.
15. Peacock Delight
The coloring of the feathers here is utterly striking. The woman’s leg forms the gorgeous tail of a peacock while her hand makes a subtle head. We can’t stop looking at the bright red fingertips, though.
14. Melting Flowers
There’s a whole lot to love with this project, turning a woman into a nearly unrecognizable and completely melting flower. The form of her body is neatly obscured by the shadows and glistening drips of paint to the extent that it almost looks photoshopped!
13. Neon Beach Bums
This one looks positively iridescent. We’re not sure how the glowing effect was accomplished, but we’d guess that it’s a combination of great lighting and some photoshop to eliminate the background. The result is pretty much astounding.
12. Tree Love
This one honestly took us a second to grasp. The woman seems truly integrated with the tree itself, to the point that we were thinking of Ents from Lord of the Rings! We wish we could tell you how this was accomplished, but all we can do is stand back in awe.
11. Hummingbird Love
Here’s another couples project, one that goes a bit further in its ambition than the fish kisses. With white paint as a base, the artist sculpted a gorgeous technicolor hummingbird that spans both partners’ bodies, again requiring specific posing for the full effect.
Don’t be scared, it’s only a nude, painted woman! This stomach-churningly realistic portrayal of a giant spider has us endlessly grinning. The eyeballs seem, uh, expertly placed, too. Basically, this whole thing is just a big wow.
9. Sagittarius II
Now here’s a truly unique take on the timeless constellation. It’s Sagittarius as a paint brush and wooden easel. Her pose is incredibly specific, but the use of black paint and a lushly realistic wood tone really sells the picture.
8. Cityscape Under The Stars
Sure, the framing here, in deep black with a reflective foil base, really sells the picture. But the artwork itself is miraculous. On a woman’s body, someone managed to paint a glowing cityscape, replete with sparkling stars dusting her back and hair. There’s even a moon on her temple!
7. Under The Skin
While this doesn’t scream for attention, it’s possibly the most creative – and definitely the most unnerving – work of art on our list. The way that the artist managed to craft not one but two layers of skin zippers, with a realistic sense of depth, is incredible.
6. Pink Flamingo
With all of the spectacular examples of bird body art, we think this one really takes the cake. The delicate single leg running down the woman’s white painted leg stands out almost as much as the intricately crafted head on her right hand, contorted in the air.
5. Invisible Woman
This project might seem subtle at first, until you realize the incredible work that must have gone into making the woman appear virtually invisible from this specific angle. The paint and body positioning were of equal importance, so it’s great that the model was so game to use her body as an innovative canvas.
4. Tiger’s Maw
We love the fact that this project is detailed in its construction as you scroll down the page. What first appears like a fully realized tiger sculpture is stripped away, revealing the process that turned a trio of nude women into a spectacular big cat.
3. Obscured By Flowers
This is the most mysterious image on our list. We honestly took about a full minute to even realize the shape of the model beneath the paint. If you look closely, you can see her knees pulled against her chest. The armpit at the right side was our key to recognition!
2. Corporeal Motorcycle
This radical project combined intricate body paint and an insanely specific set of poses from at least five people. Maybe there’s more in there but we can’t tell. Pretty much everything about this image screams ambition and fun.
1. Psychedelic Frog
Finally, our number one pick. This incredibly hallucinatory frog painting appears courtesy of five women’s bodies, pressed and posed together to create a singular psychedelic amphibian. The more we stare, the more we realize there is to notice in this work of art.
We hope you’ve felt as astonished and bewildered as we have by this collection of incredible body art. Many of these projects have an underlying sensuality that’s subtly expressed beneath the obvious imagery, and the best examples amplify both aspects to truly spectacular effect.