Photo gallery: Amazing work of body artists revealed as festival gets ready to come to Norwich

The Paintopia festival will return to Dunston Hall in May. The Paintopia festival will return to Dunston Hall in May.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014
12:49 PM

When mum-of-two Jennie Roberts organised a body painting meeting in Norwich three years ago, she never dreamed that it would reach international success.

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Since then, she has seen festival Paintopia grow fivefold - starting with only 40 guests, this year Ms Roberts expects more than 200 to attend, from as far as America and Australia.

Its popularity is thanks to Ms Roberts’ determination to make the first event a success.

She said: “My greatest fear was that no-one would turn up! I kept panicking that everyone would be disappointed and would want their money back!

“Fortunately, I couldn’t have been more wrong – at the end of the festival delegates were putting cash in my hands to book their place in 2012. I was astounded!”

Ms Roberts discovered her flair for the skill through face painting with her children.

Self-taught, she worked to improve her skills and receive accreditation from the Face Painting Association.

This link encouraged her to connect with other professionals, something she described as a “whole new world”.

She added: “I had no idea such talent existed! I was immediately keen to develop my own skills and learn more about the industry, but that’s where I came to a dead end!”

Other than online forums and a bi-annual event, the artist found there were few opportunities to meet likeminded others – a gap she decided to fill.

Over the last three years, the event has attracted attention from industry celebrities, including Pashur House – the ‘Picasso of body painting’.

The success led Ms Roberts to resign from her position at Caister Junior School to concentrate on the festival, which she called “a full-time job”.

“I work all times of the day and night as social media plays a huge part in my business,” she said. “There is no doubt that sites such as Facebook and Twitter have been instrumental in my success and for the unprecedented growth of the festival during the last three years.”

Paintopia will be held at Dunston Hall on Sunday 11 May. Tickets are available from UEA box office.

For more information visit www.paintopia.co.uk

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