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!

Faces by Derrick

“I decided that if I was going to remain in NYC after 9/11, that I was only going to use my creative abilities professionally, so I quit my bar jobs,” recalls North Carolina native Derrick Little. Little began face-painting kids for free in Tompkins Square and did make-up for many nightclub personalities. His portfolio expanded fast, and Little has since appeared on Martha Stewart's TV show and become a professional body painter. He also teaches body art and makeup design at various colleges, and also an artisanal window-painting business. “My team and I are known for creating original, one-of-a kind pieces on pretty much every face we [encounter],” he says. “Everyone that I employ works as a freelance artist in addition to their skills in face and body art and all the individuals on my team, myself included, have their own unique style of face painting. And I’m happy that hundreds of returning [kid] clients remember me, and want me to paint their faces again as they get older.”

Good to know: Derrick and his team can paint full-face designs in 2-3 minutes per kid, if the child is age four or older.

Faces by Derrick

photo: courtesy Derrick Little


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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