2005-05-05 Wheat Ridge News
Making faces
Local skin painter heads to international competition
By Chandra Jones


Jackie Green works to transform her daughter Jessica Giess into a leopard at her home in Wheat Ridge. Green found a career in face and body painting by accident while she was painting Jessica's face 15 years ago. Green now instructs those interested in the art and has painted for various entertainment industries such as Cirque de Soleil.

May 05, 2005
Jackie Green's second career started with one of her children's Christmas presents.

Daughter Jessica got a face painting set under the tree when she was 7 and couldn't paint her own face, so mom did it for her.

"It's taken me places I never dreamed — never in my wildest dreams did I think painting a little happy face on my daughter's face would turn into something like I'm doing tonight," Green said as she painted leopard spots on the arms, stomach and face of her daughter, Jessica Giess, now 22.

The next place the Wheat Ridge resident is headed is a four-day face and body painting convention in Orlando, Fla., over Memorial Day weekend.

Like Minds, Like Paints

The conference includes seminars, a competition and face painting jams, where hundreds of artists paint people. People come from all over the world for the convention, Giess said.

"These people get decked out in feathers and costumes and shoes and rhinestones and feather boas and you name it," Giess said. Instructors walk around and critique the painters, Giess said.

The conventions began in 2001, when people with a passion for painting skin came together in an online forum sponsored by a body paint company, said Green. Some of the people decided to find a way to gather, and the conventions were born.

"I intend on winning," Green said. "I won't have anything less."

Green took second place last year in the competition, which is scored by judges, and has already started working on a design for this year's convention.

The theme of the 2005 competition is "A Midsummer Night's Dream," referring to the play by William Shakespeare.

Green will turn her daughter into a fairy of sorts, but said she won't decide on a final plan until a few weeks before the competition.

"I work best under pressure," she said.


A bookkeeper during the week, Green paints people in the evenings and on weekends. The smiley face 15 years ago evolved into A Change of Face Inc., Green's business, where she's painted everything from male strippers to toy soldiers.

"I was her walking billboard at events," Giess said.

Giess said she went to events like Oktoberfest and her mom would paint her and her friends' faces.

"We'd get to go play at the event and everyone would ask where I got that done and I got to point at my mom," Giess said.

Giess is still her mother's model and now models for other artists too.

The male strippers were entertainers for a Cirque du Soleil cast party when the show was in Denver.

"I had lots of people wanting to be my helpers that night," Green said, laughing. "The only thing the guys wore were G-strings."

Painting bodies is not uncomfortable for her because she considers it art, she said.

She also painted performers for last year's Parade of Lights. She has painted people at birthday parties, festivals like the People's Fair, corporate events, and even a wedding.

She painted hearts and doves on the bride and groom. The weirdest request she's gotten is from a seven-year-old boy, for an alien holding a martini and a doughnut, she said.

"He said he liked martinis and doughnuts," Green said.

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Jefferson County, Colorado

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