'Skin Wars' Contestant Luis Martinez Talks Rebecca Romijn's Great Hugs and Body Painting

Luis Martinez Skin Wars

Luis Martinez, 21, a third-generation clown performer and contestant on “Skin Wars” is still in the game to win season three of GSN’s most-watched original series. Will the Mexican-American artist be the last one standing? CineMovie spoke with the “Skin Wars” contestant to see if he’s got the chops.

A self-taught artist, Luis Martinez’s body painting skills are being put to the test on “Skin Wars” and so far he’s survived three shows and moved on to the next round. Martinez came to the show after a woman at a Florida surf shop admired his work and recommended him to one of the producers of “Skin Wars.”

“It all happened very quickly. In less than a month, I had everything packed and ready to go to California.”

In its third season, twelve contestants are competing in elaborate body painting challenges to avoid elimination and win the approval of judges, including legendary entertainer RuPaul Charles and body painting icons Craig Tracy and Robin Slonina.

As part of a family-owned circus, Martinez started out face painting, and eventually moved on to body painting on himself while videotaping the process and shared it online where it went viral.

“One day I picked up brushes. I just didn’t think about it. I just went for it and it was a success. I filmed my first attempt and posted it on the internet and it started getting attention.”

That attention got Martinez a slot as a contestant on the third season of “Skin Wars.” He was confident he could be part of the challenge, but once the cameras started rolling, insecurities set in.

“To be honest, at some point I was like ‘holy crap!” What am I going to do? I have to impress the judges!’”

He reveals there are no prior conversations with the judges or producers as to what they expect, so he was taking risks for every challenge, not knowing whether they would like his work or not. The deadlines and time constraints didn’t phase the 21-year-old. Martinez says he thrives under pressure.

When it comes to his fellow contestants, he wasn’t concerned with what they were creating while in the same room during the challenge.  

“I focused on me and then I saw how everyone else was doing.”  

SkinWars GSN Show Season 3 
The “Skin Wars” contestants were cut off from the world during the competition. “We were stripped down to a minimum,” says Martinez. They were not allowed to watch television, listen to the radio or play music.

When it came to the “Skin Wars” judges, Martinez had a soft spot for one of them for “Skin War” host Rebecca Romijn. He tells CineMovie Romijn gives the “best hugs” and she helped tremendously in giving a voice to their body painting models. After all, Romijn knows what it’s like to be covered from head to toe in paint as the original Mystique in the early X-Men movies. Some of the most valuable advice the actress and host has been taken to heart by Martinez.

“She would always tell us how to care for our models and make sure they’re always okay.”

Martinez learned that if a model locks her knees too long, that person can faint. Other challenges that come with using a living person as a canvas are the required break times for eating and bathroom breaks.

However, the advantages of painting on a live canvas has its reward.

“The pros is that you can see your work come to life. The way you design your artwork, you can make it have movement or you can camouflage it.”

What inspires Martinez’s work? As an immigrant from Mexico, Martinez says he relies less on his bicultural background, and more to do with his surroundings and environment. Martinez reveals he crossed the border as a 5-year-old child alone with his 2-year-old sister. Four years ago, he obtained a work permit, and that opened many doors for him.

“Skin Wars” was one of those doors and now he has a chance to win $100,000 cash prize, an all-expense paid trip for two to the prestigious World Body Painting Festival in Austria and a custom-made stencil line from Bad Ass Stencils with their name on it. However, it won’t be the end of the world if he doesn’t take home the prize.

“I want to make an imprint on the world. I just want to work really hard and share my artwork with the world.”

His ultimate dream would be to work for Disney. “It would be amazing if I worked for them.”

While he can’t tell us the outcome of the third season of “Skin Wars,” he can share his most recent work. When he started out, he painted celebrity faces on his chest. He continues that tradition with a chest portrait of three characters from “The Walking Dead.”   

GSN’s “Skin Wars” airs Wednesday at 10pm.

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