Local body-painting artist Sammie Bartko will compete on GSN’s ‘Skin Wars’
June 5, 2015
When reality game-show fans from the Wasatch Back tune into GSN’s second season of "Skin Wars" on June 10, they will see a familiar face, Samantha "Sammie" Bartko.
Bartko, the owner of Face Painting by Samantha, based in Heber, has painted hundreds of local children’s faces at such public gatherings as the Park Silly Sunday Market, the Newpark Concert Series and the annual Park City Kids Fair.
In addition, local and regional businesses have booked her for their corporate events and she has done birthday parties and other private events and she now paints breast-cancer survivors of all ages in support of cancer research.
Bartko, who couldn’t talk too specifically about the "Skin Wars" competition that took place a few weeks ago, said it was an experience she’ll remember for the rest of her life.
"I was in a house with 12 other people, all from different walks of life," Bartko told The Park Record. "It was great to get to know them and each and every challenge was unique and fun."
During the run of the show, the artists, some of whom came to compete in Santa Monica, California, from as far as Hawaii, Florida, New York, North Carolina and Wisconsin, are scrutinized by three judges — entertainer RuPaul Charles, world-renowned artist Craig Tracey and Robin Slonina, a body artist from Las Vegas.
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Rebecca Romijn hosts the competition and the winner will receive a $100,000 cash prize, an all-expense paid trip for two to the World Body Painting Festival in Austria, and a nationally distributed Royal and Langnickel custom brush collection with their name on it, according to GSN.
Bartko was originally approached by the program’s producers to participate in Season One, but things didn’t work out.
"So, they approached me for Season Two and I was able to go out to Los Angeles, for an audition and got accepted to be part of the cast," she said. "I was recommended by a fellow artist in the industry and that’s how the producers got my name. They followed me on social media and things just snowballed from there."
For the audition, the artists had to do a full body work.
"I did a piece that showed my body-art journey and I dedicated to my family," Bartko said. "I started with a sun on the leg and worked towards the back where I painted four koi fish that represented my family. And on the front, I went with a celestial interpretation of myself sleeping and dreaming of the amazing things that are coming in the future."
Bartko got into body art through face painting and Halloween makeup, which she has been doing since 2006.
In 2011, she attended the Face and Body Art International Convention, known as FABIAC in makeup artist circles, and won the 2011 Upcoming Artist Award and second place in the face-painting competition.
"While I was there, I got introduced to body art," she said. "Before that the only time I saw body art was in pictures in my email.
"I was so unaware that body art was so much more than fun pictures and it didn’t occur to me that you could create murals on people," Bartko said. "I came home and told my husband, Robert, ‘Honey, you’re going to have to let me paint you’ and I fell in love with it."
Bartko returned to the FABIAC competition this year and she won the People’s Choice Award and Third Place.
The "Skin Wars" experience has helped Bartko find new ways to highlight her craft.
"I learned how to become a faster painter and how to streamline my skills to achieve the feats I needed in order to compete with the other competitors," she said. "I have to say it was a challenge because of the lack of sleep and the constant daily regimen of creating art."
She also learned from the others as well.
"The artists were all different when it came to their techniques and skills," Bartko said. "It was neat to pick up tips and tricks when I had the opportunity to watch them work. They were all inspiring to me. I find myself from time to time remembering what some of the artists had done and try it myself."
Samantha "Sammie" Bartko is one of the contestants on Season Two of GSN TV’s "Skin Wars" that will premiere on Wednesday, June 10. For more information, visit http://www.gsntv.com/skinwars . For more information about Samantha "Sammie" Bartko, visit sammiebartko.com.