Body Marbling Turns Your Arms into Temporary Psychedelic Works of Art

Body Marbling stations have been popping up at festivals across the United States and people are already calling it the future of body art. It’s based on a centuries-old technique called marbling, which involves applying colors to the surface of water and imprinting the designs on various surfaces, from paper and fabric to metal. But one company has figured out a way to make it work on human skin, and the results are visually stunning.

Body Marbling is the brainchild of College for Creative Studies (CCS) alumni Brad Lawrence. Diagnosed with chronic tendonitis in his wrists at the age of 23, he could no longer practice his biggest passions, drawing and sculpting, but he didn’t let that stop him from expressing his artistic talent. Motivated by his friend and Purple Heart Marine, Michael Zach, Brad got into abstract painting as a form of therapy, and started experimenting with marbling. Together, they started Black Light Visuals, a company that relies on marbling to create all kinds of “trippy” looking products, from hats and shirts to bags and backpacks. In 2013, they introduced body marbling at the Electric Forest Festival, which allowed people to turn their arms into psychedelic artworks for a few hours. Everybody loved it, and since then Body Light Visuals marbling stations have become popular at festivals all across the U.S..


Photo: Body Light Visuals/Facebook

So what is body marbling, right? Well, basically, it’s the same as the old technique of paper marbling. You sprinkle pigments on the surface of water, then swirl them around a bit to create an abstract design. Only instead of submerging paper or objects into the water to have the design imprinted on them, you use your hands. Body Light Visuals fills their vats with salt water to help the acrylic paint adhere to the skin, so as you slowly dip your arms in, the colors stick to your body. Then to make sure that you don’t get paint all over your clothes, you dip your arms into buckets of clean water to remove excess paint, and then holding your arms under a dryer. The effect is supposed to last between 8-10 hours.


Photo: Body Light Visuals/Facebook

Black Light Visuals uses non-toxic water-based paints that don’t stain clothing. Often times the paints are UV-active, making the effect of the marbling even more impressive under black light.


Photo: Body Light Visuals/Facebook


Photo: Body Light Visuals/Facebook


Photo: Body Light Visuals/Facebook


Photo: Body Light Visuals/Facebook


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