Resistance is futile: if you’ve got a kid, at some point in their festive lives, you’re going to have to hire a face-painter. NYC is home to tons of talented folks ready to turn little party animals into a princess, a tiger, a superhero — you name it. And because we live in a creative capital, many have backgrounds in fine art, makeup artistry, performance, etc. (All of the artists featured here use FDA-approved, water-based hypo-allergenic paints, as well as skin-safe glitters.) Click through to see our roundup of NYC’s best face-painters, and note that many come with their own squad for face-painting en masse!

Face Painting by Shelly

Artist Shelly Luan—who was born and raised in China, and educated in San Francisco and Toulon, France—has a fine arts background and is a former teacher. “I got into face painting when I was working at a kid’s toy show and they asked me if I could do it. I immediately said ‘yes’ because I believe that there is nothing I cannot paint if given the practice and right tools.” She realized she had a knack for face painting and loved every second of it. The result? She quit her jobs to pursue art full-time. “I used to work in an immigration court as an interpreter, and after some thorough thinking and many long talks with my friends and family, I eventually quit the court job and became a full-time face painter.” Shelly calls what she does “a blessing” and adds: “I never say no to a child’s request.  I sometimes hear very specific and interesting suggestions. I love to listen to the little stories in their heads and try to put that into a reality for them.”

Good to know: Shelly also creates beautiful henna tattoos for interested adults and children.

Face Painting by Shelly

photo: courtesy Shelly Luan



Cover photo: Face Art by Melissa

Do You Have a Favorite Face-painter in NYC? Share with the group in the comments below!

– Rachel Sokol

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