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Las Vegas artist Slonina has skin in the game show

As it enters its third season, the body-painting competition “Skin Wars” (10 p.m. Wednesday, GSN) has raised the profile of the art form around the world, says Las Vegas artist Robin Slonina, who pulls double duty as a producer and judge on the series.

It’s also drawn more traditional artists to the field, she attests.

But Slonina says she’s noticed a more practical benefit of the heightened exposure of using naked flesh as a canvas: more free time on airplanes.

Before “Skin Wars” debuted, “I always knew if I sat down on a plane next to someone, and they asked me what I did for a living, that I was not going to be able to read my magazine during that flight, because they were going to have a ton of questions.”

This is what happens when you don’t have a fake airplane job the way some people have a fake Starbucks name.

Strangers are still curious about body painting, Slonina admits, but at least the resulting conversations have become more interesting. “Well, then the questions are maybe a little bit different,” she says, laughing. “As far as, not, ‘What do you do?’ but, ‘Hmm, let’s get into more detail!’ ”

Hosted by Rebecca Romijn, “Skin Wars” pits 12 body painters in a “Project Runway”-, “Top Chef”-, “Ink Master”-style competition for bragging rights and $100,000, with the winner determined by Slonina, body painting legend Craig Tracy and RuPaul Charles.

What may seem like a relatively small talent pool is expanding every year, Slonina says. “I feel like the show is actually creating the next generation of talent. So it’s wonderful, because it’s like a self-fulfilling circle that’s starting to become created. A lot of artists … they’re seeing the show, and there’s that little spark that goes off in their minds that says, ‘I could do that. I wanna give this a try.’

“I know from personal experience that, once you try body painting, it’s very addictive. There’s nothing quite like seeing your artwork stand up and move and change expression. And infusing your art with life is very exciting. And I think once artists try it, they don’t wanna stop.”

She also can attest to the show’s inspirational nature. “I really have to credit ‘Skin Wars’ as far as inspiring myself as an artist,” Slonina says, adding that she’s been dedicating more time to her fine art body painting rather than the corporate gigs she performs through her Skin City Body Painting, 1800 Industrial Road, Suite 130. “It’s really just reinvigorated my passion for the art form.”

Earlier this year, after having collaborated with several artists inside the Arts Factory, she opened her own studio there. “I would love to be in my studio every day, (but) I’m kinda lucky if I can get there once a week,” she says. “It just feels like home. I just love it there.”

For anyone who wants to see the art form up close, Slonina is hosting a viewing party featuring “lots of body-painted models” starting at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Sapphire Gentlemen’s Club, 3025 Sammy Davis Jr. Drive.

The party’s location shouldn’t scare away potential “Skin Wars” viewers, though. Early promos for the series played up the titillation, but once viewers tuned in, it was all about the artistry.

“They might, at first, think, like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s people in thongs and pasties on the screen,’ ” Slonina says of viewers. “But the minute they see the artists’ commitment and passion and how much work and thought and skill is being put into the art form that they’re doing, I think that all that does kind of go away. And you really just start looking at the personalities of the artists. You look at the natural drama of what it takes to get through an intense competition like this. And you look at the final results. And it’s such a ‘Wow’ moment when you see what they create on these bodies that I think it does make the whole art form a lot more acceptable and palatable to the public.”

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com. On Twitter: @life_onthecouch.

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