You just need three things - a concept, a photographer and someone to do the painting.
Of the three, presuming you're planning on a trade shoot, the most challenging is finding someone to do the painting. Or, I'm guessing you could find an MUA to paint you for $200 or less. You should have no problem finding a good photographer to do the shoot.
The only person listed as a bodypainter within 100 miles of St. Louis hasn't signed on to MM in about 13 months. However, many MUA's list bodypainting among the genres they're interested in.
Not all MUA's do bodypainting - and not all who include bodypaint in their list of genres have done bodypaint before. For some who list it, it's just something they'd like to do.
The MUA's I know would not do their first (or second) bodypaint job for a paying client. In other words, they'd do at least 1-2 bodypaint jobs for trade first.
I would have no qualms about scheduling one of them to do a simple concept with a local model as their first bodypaint job, as long as the model was aware that it was the MUA's first time. (If the model is going to drive 4-6 hours to get to St. Louis, pay for a night in a hotel room and drive 4-6 hours to get back home, that's another matter.)
Also, most of the MUA's I've worked with prefer working with the photographer for trade shoots. Most who trade work with a limited number of photographers, and they want to review the model's profile and portfolio and review the concept with the photographer before deciding whether they'll do a trade shoot.
In my experience, doing full bodypaint takes at least 4-6 hours plus at least an hour for makeup and hair. That's with the model wearing boots (during the shoot, not during painting), so that the calves and feet don't have to be painted.
In other words, you'll be asking someone to commit a full day, more or less, to one shoot - even if they don't stay for the shoot itself. (An MUA who did some of the Sports Illustrated bodypaint jobs told me that those have taken 9-13 hours just for painting.)
Be prepared to stand with your arms raised and out from your body for long periods of time during painting.
Models generally wear a thong or sometimes a bikini bottom for a bodypaint shoot. You should be aware that in many if not most bodypaint jobs, the model's backside is not painted. If lingerie pushes the limits of your modesty, think at least twice before doing a bodypaint shoot.
While the paint used is water soluble and washes off with soap and water, it may be a week or so before the paint is all gone.
If I were you, I'd start by finding a local photographer who wants to do the shoot and who has done trade shoots with MUA's in your area. Then talk about concept.
Some paint jobs require more skill than others. There's one concept I'm working on that some MUA's have told me are beyond their skill level - and several have suggested the same MUA as being the only person in the area with the skills to handle it.
You have to be very comfortable with the body painter being in close physical proximity. That doesn't mean touching and such so much as having to be inside you're personal bubble as it were.
And have to be comfortable nude or semi-nude for mos big projects. You don't have to be nude, but many artists prefer full nude.
Personally, I'm leery of booking a model who does not have figure nudes or implied in their portfolio. I've painted models who were so modest I couldn't get to their bodies to paint because hands were in the way.
You have to be physically fit, in good health, and have good endurance and patience. Body painting is surprisingly taxing. Many a model has told me that they're as sore as a day at the gym after a body paint photo shoot.
Because of this, especially if you're working with a team that's also new to body painting, it is best to start small. Back pieces. Head, shoulder and arm compositions, etc.
Now.. the MOST Important thing.... DO NOT get suckered into a body paint with Non-Toxic craft products. This is YOUR health on the line.
TALK to the creative team. Discuss allergies, asthma...
To get into body paint modeling, do be sure to add it to your genre interest here on MM.
Then do a MM browse for body painters in a radius you are willing to travel. Start with an inquiry most body painters are delighted to have a canvas and help your learn what it takes. Too you may look for photographers who have photographed body paint and work with body painters.
A body paint model must both wear and show the body art, and bring it with a sense of drama, but too she must lose herself in the paint.
Find a professional or aspiring professional body painter. Body painters, there are a lot of wannabes. You are looking to build a good working relationship and get good portfolio images. So don't settle for just someone willing to do the painting.
You are in and area where there is a pleathra of body painters. I am sure more per capita live there than anywhere. Hook up with the Face and Body Art International Convention (FABIAC) held near you in late May. They recruit models for the event. You can meet locals and meet the very top pros, the best pros and many aspiring body painters.
Here are some of my friends who are also on MM and are in your area. Go tag them and send them a friend request - network.
The top pros and can be busy - but ask them who they know in your area.
like PP said just look for a bodypainter in your area on MM…
ask questions and come up with shoots you want to do and know/express your boundaries…
you must have patience for it may take long periods of time in uncomfortable poses while painting… (depending on the artist)
I have to say when I see a line like "Note: i do not shoot nudes and never will" I think twice about working with a model.
It is not like my work is that "revealing", but I've tried working with models that felt this way before and they just could NOT relax in front of the camera. The photos ended up unusable because the models looked stiff, their eyes were guarded, and the images seemed forced and uncomfortable.
Not saying it can't be done, but it would definitely cause me pause as an artist.
THANK YOU Rich! That one always stumps me. If you plan to pose for body paint or send me a request ......well I am not a clothes painter I paint skin. While I do not consider body painting as posing nude it is implied nude. So models looking to pose in body paint should list they will pose nude, but certainly note the exceptions.