Joanne Gair :: The Art of Illusion

Joanne Gair is an artist and image maker who has emerged as the premiere make-up artist/body painter in the world.   Originally from New Zealand, Gair had a keen interest in art photography and exploring different mediums, which is what eventually led her down the path as an illusionist and to the United States.  

As a make-up artist and body painter, Gair has worked worldwide with the top photographers, directors, super models and celebrities.  Her work spans all media, with many memorable editorial covers and layouts, fashion campaigns, advertising,  music videos, commercials and motion pictures to her credit. 

Among a few of the celebrities she has been associated with in her career are Madonna, Cindy Crawford, Heidi Klum, Christina Aguilera, Olivia Wilde, Demi Moore, Kate Upton, Lady Gaga and Martin Scorsese.  By being an essential part of their evolving looks, Gair has been able to establish treasured relationships with these clients.  Her work with Madonna spanned 10 years and includes numerous music videos (Express Yourself, Vogue, Fever, Rain, Frozen), the Blonde Ambition Tour and its subsequent feature documentary Truth or Dare.

Gair’s extensive work with editorial (Vogue, W, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Playboy, Black Book, Harper's Bazaar), fashion campaigns (Donna Karan, Versace, Victoria’s Secret, Guess, bebe) and cosmetic companies (L’Oreal, Maybelline, Revlon, Oil of Olay, Rimmel and MAC Cosmetics), has established her as a fixture in the Fashion Industry.  Her editorial work spilled over to a two year stint as beauty editor for New York based Black Book magazine.

Almost everyone has seen the August 1992 issue of Vanity Fair, featuring Demi Moore wearing nothing but a suit of body paint.  This cover earned Gair worldwide recognition and put her at the pinnacle of the body art genre.  The brilliantly painted swimsuits in the 1999 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, featured a twelve page layout using six models as the canvases for Gair’s art.  The bathing suits (replicas of original designs) exemplify Gair’s close attention to detail and sense of realism that have made her the master of the art of illusion.  Her work has now become a yearly fixture in the SI Swimsuit Issue.

Gair has been featured in numerous television programs and magazine articles about her work. Most recently she was seen as a guest judge on season one of the body painting contestant show Skin Wars. Gair also appeared on two seasons of Hedi Klum's Germany's Next Top Model as both a painter and guest judge. Other programs include two top rated episodes of “Ripley’s Believe It or Not?”; “E! Style On”; and “Coming Home” an hour long New Zealand based series which showcased the lives of famous expatriate Kiwi’s. The periodicals include Picture; American Photo; 1st Hold; and Make-Up Artist Magazine. 

Gair’s highlight as an artist occurred when over 50 of her most famous works were presented in the Vodafone Body Art Exhibition at the Auckland Museum in New Zealand.  The images spanned Gair’s career to date and featured the work of many of the great photographers she has been associated with. 

Gair’s first book Paint A’ Licious was released in October of 2005 and featured over 40 new photographed and body painted images.  Her second book Body Painting Masterpieces By Joanne Gair, a retrospective of her career to date, was published in 2006. Sports Illustrated released a collection of Gair's body painted swimsuits in the 2007 book In The Paint - The Art of Joanne Gair and also a 50th Anniversary Book in 2014 which features many of her swimsuit paintings titled Sports Illustrated Swimsuit: 50 Years of Beautiful.

Joanne Gair's artistry is seen in the just released issue of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2017 where she has two stories featuring her make up and body painting in Tulum, Mexico and Anguilla. Also just out, Éclair Naturals 2017 #NeverAny campaign in which she used her beauty and body painting expertise to illustrate the many chemicals that are not in their natural products.  Gair’s beauty make up is featured in the 2016 Neiman Marcus Art of Fashion book on legendary and iconic models Pat and Anna Cleveland.  The 2016 cover for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit has UFC fighter Ronda Rousey in Gair’s beautifully detailed body painted swimsuit and face make up.  This was the first body painting cover for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit in the USA. Other projects in the past few years include a MAC Cosmetics collaboration for artist Eli Sudbrack, Alice + Olivia fashion campaign, Cover Girl & NFL cobranded beauty project, Elizabeth Arden Untold, Martin Scorsese for Rolex Icons, Nike cobranded project with Gair body painting their LunarEclipse shoe, body painting Heidi Klum for Astor Cosmetics One & Only’s print advertisements and consecutive year body painting campaigns for Sobe Life Water.

Joanne Gair continues to drive herself to explore and experiment in her work, in an effort to bring something new to a project every time.  In an industry besieged by trend followers, Gair has established herself as the trendsetter.




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