The 4 P’s - Painting People for Profit and Pleasure
Oh the joys of hearing “I want Spiderman” and “butterfly please“; face and body painting is still going strong. So too are the demands on artists to produce. Everyone wants to look great and no one wants to stand around waiting in long lines. The good news is that the income potential for artists is going through the roof. However, competition for the consumer’s dollar is heating up too. Sooner or later every professional artist must decide: Am I painting people for profit, pleasure (the 4 P’s) or both? And when that time comes, there’s little doubt that tough decisions and concessions will have to be made.
Operating as a face painter for close to 20 years, revenue generation was my top priority with the bulk of my income coming from working large events such as the NFL Super Bowl Experience, MLB World Series, NCAA Final Four, Shanghai China festivals, large company gatherings and weekend street fairs that attract thousands of people. For me, the need for speed outweighed my creative desires. But that’s not to say I was willing to sacrifice quality.
I’ve drawn several conclusions from the experiences of my team and I painting everything from temporary tattoos to full bodies. Among them, traditional hand painting allows for the greatest creativity and produces the most unique works of art. However, working half to full day events servicing large crowds is grueling, both mentally and physically.
On average, we began the day knocking out 15-18 faces per hour but as the day wore on our pace slowed and we ended the day averaging 10-12. We were getting a great deal of pleasure painting artistic faces but the falloff in our earnings was apparent. On the other hand, airbrushing tattoos with stencils facilitated speedy delivery (35-40 customers per hour) and we were able to maintain that pace throughout the day. To be sure, tattoos didn’t get the creative juices flowing like hand painting did, but the constant cash flow more than made up for that.
While painted faces serve as larger billboards, done artistically, tattoos draw attention too! Best of all, with airbrushing, I grew my staff size quickly and with very little training. For me, airbrushing won hands down when making money was the priority.
Not long ago, an artist could make a good living doing temporary airbrush tattoos exclusively. High demand at events ranging from Johnny’s birthday party to major corporate outings ensured that those in the business would have all the work they could handle. But just as the laws of impermanence dictate, sooner or later, everything changes. Although temp tats are still hot, people are now seeking “something different.” And because so many new artists have entered the fray, service rates have begun to dip. So what’s an artist to do to set themselves apart from the crowd so that they continue to attract customers AND command top-tier compensation? Enter the tried and true practice of face painting - with a twist!
Being the entrepreneur that I am, I figured it was time to bridge these two artistic worlds. I decided to engineer face painting stencils that would align with the right and left sides of the face, comfortably fit the curves of the face, protect the eyes, enable the creation of full to partial designs, and lastly, allow for tons of artistic creativity. Viola - in 2009, “StencilEyes” by ShowOffs Body Art were born! Stencils that align with the eye and produce perfect results every time. Choices abound with over 50 designs currently available and by interchanging design components, the possibilities are endless. For those who prefer dry-sponging, we have designs that’ll suit you perfectly. Each set of stencils comes complete with beautiful display cards that can be used to present choices to your customers as well serve as a reference for the artist. Right out of the package you get at-a-glance ideas for how to use the stencil. It’s as easy as applying background color, followed by use of the stencils to apply the detailed design - just as you would with hand painting. For added variety, skip the background color and spray right through the stencil, blending colors just as you would a tattoo.
There were many days my staff members would battle for jobs that required face painting over tattoos and we were clipping at a rate of 25-40 faces per hour! Our customers were thrilled to hire one ShowOffs artist rather than two or three hand painters. People were lining up for StencilEyes face painting just like they did when temporary airbrush tattoos were brand new! And judging by sales of StencilEyes, it’s obvious that other artists are experiencing similar results. If you’re interested in Painting People for Profit AND Pleasure, you too can get the same result -FAST- and without having to master the art of hand painting.
Check out the ShowOffs / ProAiir website for videos, tips, and products. www.proaiir.com