Facing a blank canvas

Tari JeffersManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Tammy Messer likes to brighten up people's day just a little with her creative and intricate face-painting skills.
Camera IconTammy Messer likes to brighten up people's day just a little with her creative and intricate face-painting skills. Credit: Picture: Tari Jeffers, Tari Jeffers. Inset: Tammy works on her model during a neon body-painting competition.

Creativity and the ability to not be limited to a canvas have come together in perfect harmony for a Crowea face-painter.

Tammy Messer has been a professional face-painter for about two years, after having moved to the region about five years ago.

Under her business Colour Me Face and Body Art, Tammy works throughout the region at many public and private events to create colourful and unique face-painting designs.

“I used to teach and paint ceramics 20 years ago,” she said.

“My actual profession is as a veterinary nurse and I was at the zoo for a long, long time.

“But when we moved down here, I thought about what to do with myself because there was no zoo, so I got into face-painting.”

Tammy had thought, because there was no other professional face-painter in the region, it would be a good thing for her.

“Most people don’t realise that being a professional face-painter is even a thing,” she said.

“A lot of people down here do it as a hobby.

“That does make it difficult down here for me, being the first to introduce professional face-painting.”

Tammy spends many hours practising her designs to master her profession and to have the skill and ability to adapt designs and move quickly through a line without compromising on quality or hygiene standards.

“Paints, glitters and theatrical powders used are of a professional cosmetic grade,” she said.

“They are 100 per cent non-toxic, water-based, hypo-allergenic and are FDA and EUA approved.”

Tammy’s designs range from princesses to skulls and from zombies to rainbows.

Depending on a person’s face, Tammy is also able to adapt her design to best work on that face. For example, if a child has a low hair line that would not fit a princess crown, Tammy changes the design.

It is also one of the reasons she does not have pictures of her work up during an event, so children are not upset when their design does not come out looking exactly like the picture.

While Tammy said she did love rainbow designs, she also loved doing the elaborate, scary faces that took more time.

“It’s actually a lot easier to do ugly face designs,” she said.

“When you’re mature, it’s also easier to work with the lines on a face when doing a scary design.”

From her love of more elaborate pieces, Tammy has also moved into the body paint industry this year and has already participated in a competition.

The competition was the Australian Body Art Awards in Melbourne and it was the first time she used neon paints, her first male model and the first time she had to come up with a whole audio presentation to go along with it.

Tammy works on her model during a neon body-painting competition.
Camera IconTammy works on her model during a neon body-painting competition. Credit: Supplied

“It was my first time doing UV, which was the hardest category,” she said.

Tammy said she loved body painting because you could take your time to do a bigger, more detailed design.

This new love affair with body painting will continue this weekend when she participates in the Body Painting Exhibition, where the theme will be Wonders of WA, with a focus on tourism.

Tammy said the brief was perfect because the Southern Forests region boasted many spectacular sights and activities, which she hoped to bring across in her design.

“I’m really excited about the exhibition on Friday,” she said.

Tammy’s design will represent several endangered species, the natural wonders of the region and wine.

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