Pinoy Phototrekker

Body Art with Cha Reyes

Written By: Kaloy - Mar• 07•10

It’s _MG_9366FINALLY MARCH!!! Students of all levels are in their final moments, feeling the pressure of reviewing for their final exams and striving to get it through one more year of studies, hoping to go on to the next level into their continued education. Each year, there is a select few that prepares even more. More so because they should very well look their best for their graduation pictures! This year my cousin Thea requested me to come up with her creative picture for her Batch 2006′s yearbook. With a canceled trip out of town and the sudden availability of Cha, a well renowned face and body artist for GMA 7, made me realize that this is what fate has in store for me this weekend :)

Cynthia “Cha” Reyes started body painting way back in 2004 when the craft was still in its infancy here in the islands. She had a natural talent for drawing but never had the time nor inclination to pursue her talent to study it in the university. She admits that she really did not foresee herself being sought after by the local TV and soaps as head artist for their day to day plots. It all started one afternoon she recalls. A friend from soccer invited her to join him to a party and do some painting. This was the first time that she was exposed to the world of brushes and paints. But instead of canvas, sheets of paper or hard walls, she was faced with a living breathing canvas of human skin!

“Admittedly I was a little nervous at first after all… you’re about to paint your artwork on someone else skin. But then the excitement got the best of me and my fingers started moving on their own. Little did I realize I worked for four hours strait without a break and I found I was still ready for more! That afternoon my friend and I shared a P1000 bill for our services. When I got home I reflected on that moment, and that’s when I started to practice. First it was with base paints on my own skin, then I started to paint of other people’s faces, the designs were not as elaborate, just simple flowers and sometimes some drawings. Then people suddenly started to notice. I created artworks that were requested by them. Some I would say are very daring ;) doing more research on the paints and dyes that are used primarily on the skin, I spared no expense ordering paints from the US, Australia and Europe.

“All the paints I use are FDA approved. A child can ingest it accidentally and yet would not have any effect on him. You can even use it for food coloring :)   Fardel Inks are a favorite of mine since they are very safe to use around children. I do not have to worry about skin allergies and the parents don’t have to worry about them accidentally ingesting the inks, since these are primarily water based and can be removed by a quick bath. Even grown ups can’t get enough of it. For the more solid paints I use Kryolan. These are the ones I usually use with my sponges and brushes as base coat or highlights for my art.”

There’s also alcohol-based paint. These require the use of alcohol to remove it. These are usually used as a Temporary tattoo in the movies. These are different from henna since the dyes do not penetrate the skin, therefore they are more fabric friendly.

Starting with “Mualwin” on 2004, Cha has rocketed in the world of the soaps. Her repertoire involves big names such as Robin Padilla in his role as “Joaquin Bordado”, Nadine Samonte, Marian Rivera, Maggie Wilson in “Darna”, and many more. The following are just some of her gigs in the biz, the latest being is “Panday Kids”

• Popstar kids
• Mulawin
• Super Twins
• Kamandag
• Joaquin Bordado
• Dyesebel
• Lalolo
• Gagambino
• Luna Mystica
• Believe it or Not
• Zorro
• Family Feud
• Darna
• Jam With Heart
• Panday Kids


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I asked her how she make good use of her time and if she ever get tired. Her only reply was… “I don’t get tired… When I start painting, it’s like something just comes over me. It’s like I’m possessed! I can’t stop until the artwork is done. As for a reward, the best ones are the smiles and, in some cases, disbelief I get on the faces of the people that I paint when they finally look at themselves on the mirror. It’s like seeing a whole new you, and some of them just can’t believe that they’re just wearing paint. It’s a shock to them. The best part is since the paints are so light, you don’t feel that it’s there. I enjoy the reactions of the people you meet after a session. They always give you a second look. Just like this one day, I went on a jam with my friends. They asked for full body paint. There were four women, very well endowed. After I painted bikinis on them, we ordered pizza. When the pizza boy came, we had one of them pay for it. The pizza boy could not look at us when he realized that we had nothing on except paint! The look on his face is priceless! xP

“Nowadays I use sponges, stencils, airbrushes and paint brushes to make my art.  Sakura brushes sizes 0-8 to be exact. I never allow anyone to use my brushes. To me they are more precious than gold,”  she comments while painting the design unto Thea. Time flies fast when she paints. Little did we know that the sun has started to go down and of course I would take the time in between to do some photography of my own. With a glance of approval, she allows me to take pictures of her work even as temporary as it may seem… The pictures are the only proof that her art was ever there. “I don’t mind it one bit,” she comments. “That’s the beauty of temporary body art, you can start all over again!” With a smile and a nod in agreement, I take the shots and allow Thea to wash up :)

Model: Thea and Drew
Artist: Cha Reyes
Photographer: Kaloy Yap

You may contact Cha Reyes in advance for party bookings at
Tel: +63 02 4331193
Cel: +639212075922

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