Body Art | Blog

The incredible World of Body Art by Johannes Stötter

Beauty in Awe, the Sea Turtle Illusion

Nov 1, 2018

C hallenging the human mind yet again, people are left in awe, after seeing the “Sea Turtle” illusion painting delivered by the incredible mind of Johannes Stötter. This design is so impeccable that many people are questioning reality, at the first glance noticing the swimming sea turtle, and mind-blown after the realization that it is indeed a human body. Connecting his vision piece by piece, Johannes crafted this spectacle of illusion by painting a live human body.

The creative process

As you would expect, the creative process of this design didn’t just happen in minutes, hours or even days, but occurred over a 3 year span. For 2 days, Johannes sat in his studio – his creative space, brainstorming and sketching different positions to expand his animal illusions. During that time, he discovered many possibilities of animal illusions, with a simple one being to portray a sea turtle and its vibrancy using just one model.

An important aspect of this design, was figuring out how to make the turtle appear as though it was swimming in the sea. In 2015, Johannes attempted the first pre-test, utilizing a glass construction, which the model was placed on top of while making swimming movements with her arm. Simultaneously, Johannes’s assistants were directed to move the background in the opposite direction, which gave the illusion of the swimming effect. Although this concept worked, the glass construction was still visible, and a few adjustments had to be made.

Body Art Illusion Preparation
Johannes improved the painting, and also drew inspiration from his previous system used in his live UV show for his “Chameleon Motive” in 2017. Having a well thought out plan ready for execution, Johannes collaborated with a professional videographer of Reframe Production, to capture his work of art in 2018. Using a black rolling table together with the moving camera, splitting the background into lower and upper half sections and having the model demonstrate swimming motions with her arm, brought the painted sea turtle to life. As the table was black, it camouflaged perfectly into the paintings, giving mobility and cohesiveness to the entire concept.
Do not miss any new videos!

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel!


Aside from the design itself, Johannes aimed for the video presentation to be flawless, reflecting as it would be seen in real life. Finding the right swimming movement, and the correct speed of the wheeled black table interlocked with perfect timing, added much precision to the video. The flipper movement of the turtle was displayed by the model moving her folded left arm in an upward-downward motion; and together with the glide controlled camera rail system, exhibited the realistic motion of this significant sea creature. The portrayal of the visually appealing aesthetics, took Johannes and his team 4 hours to get the final shot, capturing the desired outcome.

Body Art Illusion Behind the Scenes

Save the ocean

As put forth by model Sara Costabiei, “to be painted by Johannes is a good feeling and a beautiful experience” – being painted by Johannes “does not make you feel like a naked object, but a real canvas”. With the “softness of the brush strokes” and “the coldness of the colors”, “the colors on your body, gives you strength, self-confidence, energy and in some stages of life, it can also bring you healing”.

Holding a “great fascination” with the animal and the sea, Sara sees the painting as a message to the world that we should be more mindful and take care of our environment. Ultimately, we should do our best to keep the sea a safe and clean place, and allow the animals and plants to beautify it to its fullest potential, without being harmed.

Sea Turtle Bodypaint Model

Beyond genius

This design was well received by many art and bodypainting enthusiasts and onlookers, as several of them were quoted saying “I have looked for 10 minutes…Cannot find the bodies!!! Unreal!!!!”, “Brilliant”, “took me a minute to find the person” and “I only see a turtle”.

Visible within the design are unique rock and coral formations painted precisely to form an underwater environment. Varying shades of grey, white and black brought texture and depth to the bedrock structure and its blue background gives perspective of the 3D effect and realism. Full of life, soulful and elegant, the Sea Turtle carries the message of purity and caring of our environment, and Johannes’s ability to dissect every aspect of this artwork, and perfect it is infinitely beyond genius.

Please leave a comment with Love!

Follow Johannes’ Body Art!

Want to be First and stay up to Date?

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Final Artwork

Sea Turtle – Body Art Illusion

Sea Turtle Body Art Illusion

Want to be First and stay up to Date?

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Sea Turtle – Body Art Illusion

Sea Turtle Body Art Illusion

Want to be First and stay up to Date?

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Connect with Johannes' Bodypainting Art!