If you’re reading this blog, i’m sure you already know a little bit about BODYFX.
But you might not know the story of how we began in the body art and special fx world. You might be wondering; what led us to opening our shop? And how did our crazy family create this cool little business?
Let us take you back 30 years, to where it all began…
It all started in Ammerzoden, in the Netherlands. A quaint little town on the other side of the world.
In a house on a quiet street was a not so quiet lady named Nicole.
She had always been creative, and in her spare time she dabbled in sculpting and painting. This, along with raising her four beautiful children took up most of her time.
Nicole had become quite well known in her little town, and soon enough she opened her home studio to the public, naming it Artisooy or “Artistic Mess”. A very apt name considering her two toddlers, and their unquenchable thirst for destruction. She would organise arts and crafts courses for the local community and she would spend her evenings teaching, painting, sculpting and creating beautiful porcelain doll faces and ceramics in her studio.
She made sure her kids, especially Yolanda, were involved with many of the arts and crafts courses.
One day she was invited to try her hand at face painting at a local fair. She immediately fell in love with this new found form of creative expression. She enjoyed the challenge of creating an original design for every child, and knew from that moment on that she would never stop face painting.
Years went on, Nicole’s young children grew, and so did her passion for painting on skin. Her love of face painting evolved into a love for body painting and special FX. Whilst studying at a makeup course she was told about an upcoming body paint competition. This was her first time competing but certainly not her last.
At this point, Nicole's daughter Yolanda was 16 years old. She had gladly modelled for her mother’s artwork many times, and they had become quite the team. They decided to enter as many competitions as possible. Little did Yolanda know, this was the beginning of a lifelong passion, as she would soon master the other end of the brush… but more on that soon.
(Various old projects by Yolanda and Nicole)
Years went by, and the family decided it was time for a change. Nicole and her husband Titus wanted more space, and wanted their children to live in a less reserved, less beige world. Nicole always dreamed of opening up a makeup studio and school in the city, but there wasn’t enough room for her in the Netherlands.
They considered moving to the farmlands, but they knew in their hearts that they wanted a different kind of adventure.
One day Titus saw an ad in the newspaper for IT jobs in New Zealand. He managed to get a sponsorship for 9 months and decided to take the risk, and move without knowing what the future would hold.
The family packed up their house and moved to New Zealand!
After only one year of living in New Zealand, Nicole’s dream came true! A studio in the centre of Wellington. Nicole and Yolanda called it BODYFX. It was a fantastic shared space with a photography studio, a jeweller and her own workshop room. Body painting was something very new to New Zealand, especially at Nicole’s competitive level, so she immediately got a lot of interest from Wellington creatives willing to learn body painting and special FX. At the same time Yolanda studied at Massey University, getting a degree in Fashion design, with a focus on costume, to go alongside with her passion for bodypainting.
After seeing the response to their hard work, Yolanda and Nicole realised that there was real interest for body art in the New Zealand art community, so they instigated a lot of crazy projects to promote and grow the industry. They created a horoscope calendar, painted over 100 bald heads to raise money for Cancer, and eventually created their own competition as well, Body Art Rockz. A body paint competition in collaboration with Wellington tattoo studio Underground Arts. More body painters began appearing around New Zealand, and a new body paint competition “The New Zealand Body Art Awards”, organised by Mem Bourke, popped up in auckland. Nicole and Yolanda’s very competitive nature, led them to compete in the awards every year and take home multiple prizes.
(Bald Head Cancer Project, Mermaid Convention, and Body Art Rockz) ^^
(Only a few very early entries to the NZ body art awards) ^^
After a few more years in Wellington, Yolanda married her partner Jules, had 2 beautiful children of her own. She ended up in Auckland working as a freelance special fx makeup artist and body painter.
She started to teach face painting workshops from her home and sell face paints from her garage. Nicole stayed in Wellington and opened up yet another home studio and special FX workshop, this time in Wainuiomata.
(Jules became the new Body Paint Model in the family) ^^
Yolanda continued to compete in many body paint competitions in New Zealand, and moved on to competing and teaching at large international competitions like FABAIC in Orlando, and the Melbourne body art awards in Australia.
Meanwhile... Another one of Nicole’s beautiful children started showing an interest in face painting. Myrthe was a very artistic child having been brought up with multiple home special fx studios. She was very creative, and picked up her first paint brush at a very young age. Now, age 13 she decided it was finally time to “give in” to her mother's nagging, and try her hand at face painting.
She loved it! Myrthe started working at hundreds of events and birthday parties, and became one of Wellington's top face painters. She also started helping out her mum and her sister at the NZ Body Art awards.
(Myrthe's early work and her first time assisting at NZBAA)
Soon after, Myrthe and Yolanda travelled to Austria to compete in the World Body Painting Festival. Their passion and experience earned them a Second Place trophy in Special FX Bodypainting. From then on, the sisters dove head first into the world of body painting, with Yolanda winning several titles at the World Champs and eventually judging. Myrthe won several first prizes in New Zealand and Australia.
(World Body Painting Festival - Austria)
With their success building, Myrthe decided to move to Auckland and live with Yolanda.
And thus, the dream team was born. They started teaching more workshops and selling face paints from their home studio. The sisters soon realised that it wasn’t very easy to get high quality body art products in New Zealand. They fantasized about creating the perfect store for body and makeup fanatics. A space lined with every brush, every colour of paint, and every product you could ever need. It would be like a candy store for artists.
Without wasting time, and with the power of google on their side, they managed to find the perfect little store. Three days later the lease was signed, and the amazing BODYFX store and studio in Auckland was born! everything was all set to go, but something was missing. The sisters had artistic passion, a hard working attitude, and a good business sense, but they were in need of… Jules.
When Jules joined the team he brought his infectious passion and excitement with him. No task was too big or too difficult, and no customer could resist making Jules their new best friend. His knowledge and skill in sales, e-commerce, and networking helped grow this little business from the ground up in those early years, and to this very day.
Over the years BODYFX expanded, and grew. They found a perfect little workshop space right across the road from the shop where they were able to create their own products. A busy little room where you will see sculpting, moulding and foam latex production to create products for film and tv, and the BODYFX store. The most recent addition to the business is a shared salon space only a few steps from the shop. This space can be used for workshops and make-up bookings.
BODYFX has become quite a household name in the face and body art community, and have organised an array of crazy events to excite the public. From epic haunted houses, zombiethons, mermaid fairy land, paint your date nights, to their very own face and body art conventions - Body Art Rocks Convention and FABACONZ.
(House of Horror, BARC and FABACONZ)
Nine years have passed since then, and Yolanda is still running BODYFX in Auckland. The shop has done extremely well in the Mt Albert Eden Business awards, taking the Supreme award, and twice taking the 1st place award for Small Retailer.
Yolanda is an inspirational bodypaint and FX artist and teacher, and frequently works as an FX artist for film & TV.
Myrthe fell in love, and lives with her Fiance back in Wellington. She works as the graphic designer for BODYFX and is a bad ass special FX makeup/body artist.
Jules has taken a new role with Shopify to further his knowledge in the business world, but still remains a very active member of the BODYFX family.
Nicole, the courageous, crazy, wonderful woman who started it all on the other side of the world has left BODYFX to her girls, she's lliving the dream, sailing with her husband and started a new adventure, MEDICFX. But more on that another time..
We hope you enjoyed reading our story on how it took us 30 years to become what we are today. Be patient, keep at it, and inspire others and enjoy the journey.