Body artist

A body artist


Body artists decorate clients’ skin temporarily or permanently. They use various techniques such as tattooing or piercing. Body artists follow clients’ preferences in terms of tattoo’s or piercing’s design and body surface and apply it safely. They also advise on methods to avoid infection following the procedures on clients’ bodies.

Body artists typically perform the following tasks:

  • Collaborate with clients, models, or performers to understand their vision, theme, or concept for the body art.
  • Create detailed designs and sketches, taking into consideration the anatomy, proportions, and contours of the human body.
  • Select appropriate materials, paints, or other mediums to achieve the desired effect while ensuring the safety and comfort of the individual.
  • Prepare the skin for body painting by cleaning, moisturizing, and priming as needed.
  • Apply body paints, dyes, or makeup using brushes, sponges, airbrushes, or other specialized tools to achieve precise and artistic designs.
  • Incorporate various artistic techniques, such as shading, blending, highlighting, and texturing, to add depth and dimension to the body art.
  • Enhance the overall aesthetic of the body art through the use of accessories, props, or additional artistic elements.
  • Collaborate with photographers, videographers, or other artists to capture the body art in images or videos.
  • Ensure the comfort and well-being of the individual during the body art application, taking breaks as needed and addressing any concerns or sensitivities.
  • Maintain a clean and organized workspace, including proper storage and maintenance of artistic tools and materials.
  • Stay updated on industry trends, new techniques, and emerging technologies related to body art.
  • Adhere to health and safety regulations, including the use of hypoallergenic and non-toxic products, proper sanitation practices, and skin sensitivity assessments.
  • Provide aftercare instructions and guidance to clients or models to ensure the longevity and preservation of the body art.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to body artist:

tattoo studio assistant
henna artist
tattoo artist
body piercer
tattoo studio attendant

Working conditions

Body artists work in various environments, including studios, event venues, or outdoor settings, depending on the specific project or event. They may need to travel to different locations for assignments or performances. The work can involve long hours, especially during events or projects with tight deadlines. Body artists must be comfortable working in close proximity to individuals and may need to adapt to different body shapes, sizes, and skin conditions. They should be able to work with flexibility and adaptability, as client requests or artistic concepts may change during the creative process.

Minimum qualifications

Formal education requirements for body artists can vary, but many pursue degrees or certifications in fine arts, makeup artistry, or related fields. Practical experience and a strong portfolio demonstrating artistic skills and body art techniques are highly valued. Body artists should have a solid understanding of color theory, anatomy, and different artistic styles. They must be skilled in working with various mediums, including body paints, dyes, airbrushing, or special effects makeup. Knowledge of skin sensitivity, safety practices, and hygiene protocols is essential. Excellent communication skills and the ability to collaborate with clients, models, and other artists are crucial for capturing the desired artistic vision.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Body artist is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Body artist career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to body artist.

life coach
wedding planner
followspot operator
venue director

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of body artist. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of body artist with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

3D animator
artistic painter
conceptual artist
drawing artist

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of body artist.

  • Sterilise working environment: Make sure all working equipment, jewellery and skin is made sterile, before performing skin treatment or body modifications such as tattooing or piercing, to prevent infections or the transfer of diseases.
  • Order supplies: Command products from relevant suppliers to get convenient and profitable products to purchase.
  • Maintain equipment: Regularly inspect and perform all required activities to maintain the equipment in functional order prior or after its use.
  • Identify customer’s needs: Use appropriate questions and active listening in order to identify customer expectations, desires and requirements according to product and services.
  • Stay alert: Stay focused and alert at all times; react quickly in the case of unexpected events. Concentrate and do not get distracted performing a task over a long period of time.
  • Maintain customer service: Keep the highest possible customer service and make sure that the customer service is at all times performed in a professional way. Help customers or participants feel at ease and support special requirements.
  • Develop creative ideas: Developing new artistic concepts and creative ideas.
  • Promote yourself: Market one’s own strengths in terms of skills and knowledge.
  • Advise customers on body adornment: Provide customers with advice on the choice of body decoration or ornaments, such as paintings, piercings, ear stretches or tattoos, taking into account the customers wishes.
  • Provide customised products: Make and develop custom-made products and solutions for customer’s specific needs.
  • Use body adornment equipment: Use hand tools and machines to decorate people’s bodies, such as needles, brushes, tattoo machines or scalpels, depending on the kind of adornment.
  • Inform customers about body modifications: Make sure that customers are properly informed about services such as tattooing, body piercing or other body modifications and ensure that they are aware of the permanency and the risks of these modifications. Inform them on after-care and what to do with infections or other complications.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of body artist. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Hair removal techniques: The various methods used for removing unwanted hair either by depilation, including shaving and trimming, or by epilation, such as waxing, sugaring, lasering, plucking etc.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of body artist. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Carry out wound care: Cleanse, irrigate, probe, debride, pack and dress wounds.
  • Entertain people: Provide people with amusement by doing or offering a performance, like a show, a play or an artistic performance.
  • Trade in jewellery: Buy and sell jewellery, or serve as an intermediate between potential buyers and sellers.
  • Manage a small-to-medium business: Manage the organisational, financial and day-to-day operation of a small-to-medium enterprise.
  • Apply permanent make-up: Use needles to apply the pigment into the top layer of the skin in order to perform cosmetic tattooing on specific parts of the face such as the lips or the eyebrows.
  • Maintain an artistic portfolio: Maintain portfolios of artistic work to show styles, interests, abilities and realisations.
  • Use artistic materials for drawing: Use artistic materials such as paint, paintbrushes, ink, watercolours, charcoal, oil, or computer software to create artwork.
  • Tattoo customers: Make paintings or mark symbols on parts of people’s bodies by injecting pigment under the skin, with the use of electrically-operated needles.
  • Use digital illustration techniques: Create drawings using digital illustration programmes and techniques.
  • Apply body paint: Apply special paint on parts of or on the whole body.
  • Administer appointments: Accept, schedule and cancel appointments.
  • Keep personal administration: File and organise personal administration documents comprehensively.
  • Perform body piercings: Puncture or cut parts of people’s bodies, to create an opening for jewellery or rings.
  • Select illustration styles: Select the appropriate style, medium, and techniques of illustration in line with the needs of the project and client’s requests.
  • Develop professional network: Reach out to and meet up with people in a professional context. Find common ground and use your contacts for mutual benefit. Keep track of the people in your personal professional network and stay up to date on their activities.
  • Use body modification techniques: Use techniques to change the shape of or create patterns in the human skin, such as cutting, branding, manipulating, stretching or scarring, by use of scalpels, heat and restraining techniques.
  • Give care instructions: Inform clients or patients on the medical attention required to ensure a smooth wound healing process.
  • Create original paintings: Create paintings, drawing from your experience, inspiration and techniques.
  • Train employees: Lead and guide employees through a process in which they are taught the necessary skills for the perspective job. Organise activities aimed at introducing the work and systems or improving the performance of individuals and groups in organisational settings.

ISCO group and title

3435 – Other artistic and cultural associate professionals

  1. Body artist – ESCO
  2. What is a body artist? (with pictures) – Practical Adult Insights
  3. Featured image: Image by Pfüderi from Pixabay
Last updated on July 10, 2023

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