Marijke Rowland: Artist puts paint on bodies from bunnies to babies

10/30/2008 11:21 AM

10/30/2008 12:17 PM

Some people see their bodies as a canvas; Nicolle Landre sees all bodies as her canvas.

The Modesto resident has spent the past 15 years as a professional makeup artist, including the last two years doing full-body art for the "painted ladies" at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles.

Landre, a 1987 Turlock High graduate, always has had an interest in makeup, but it wasn't until she took a theater makeup class at Modesto Junior College that she considered it professionally.

From there, she began doing free makeup for college productions and in 2004 became the theater department's official makeup artist, a position she still holds.

Landre also is one of the in-house artists at Modesto costume shop Daydreams & Nightmares, 2549 Yosemite Blvd., and works for the county's Every 15 Minutes anti-drunk-driving program.

As a free-lance makeup artist, Landre does face painting, body painting, theater makeup, temporary tattoos and other custom art for parties, corporate events and more.

Two years ago, she took her body artwork to the ultimate level — creating some of the "painted ladies" at Playboy Mansion parties. The "painted ladies" are famous for wearing nothing but elaborate body paint at Playboy parties.

Landre has worked about a dozen events at the home of the Playboy founder.

While she hasn't worked mansion-sponsored events, she has worked for several of the private companies and firms that rent the mansion. Two weeks ago, she was at the mansion for its the annual Mopars Party, thrown by the muscle-car division of Chrysler Motors.

Landre designs and applies the art for each model, a painstaking process done freehand.

"It's not much different (from my theater work)," she said. "While I am working, I am just focused. It doesn't bother me at all. I don't think twice about it, it's nothing. I just need to get the paint on."

Once the party starts, Landre has time to relax and join the fun. But the mother of four children — ages 22 to 4 — she said she prefers to stay in the background.

"It's surreal there," she said. "I just sit back and watch how everybody behaves from a distance."

Landre said she usually spends her time either with friends in the mansion's zoo or talking with Hank Fawcett, the mansion's longtime grounds manager.

It was Fawcett who referred Landre to her latest Hollywood job, a stint on the reality series "Gene Simmons Family Jewels." Last week, Landre flew down to L.A. to do makeup for the birthday party of the KISS founder's daughter, Sophie.

She is slated to appear in the A&E reality series' season première in March.

While she was excited for the opportunity, Landre said being on camera is not her goal. "I'm not really comfortable with it. I wore black, if that says anything. I really like being behind the scenes."

Elsewhere around the Scene:

The new Kerasotes Showplace 16 Theatre in Manteca is offering a week of free movies leading to its grand opening Nov. 7.

Today through Thursday, see 13 different films for free during the cineplex's sneak preview. Each free admission includes a small popcorn and small soft drink. Select screenings are free, check for times. Visit www.kerasotes.com. ...

Oakdale High grad Brett Dennen debuted at No. 41 on the Billboard Hot 200 album charts this week. "Hope for the Hopeless," Dennen's third album, also charted No. 4 on Billboard's Independent Album chart and No. 6 on its Digital Album list.

See him at The Independent in San Francisco on Thursday. Tickets are $20. Call 415-771-1422 or visit www.theindependentsf.com . ...

And finally, mark your calendars for ska-funk-fusion act Fishbone on Nov. 13 at Hero's Sports Lounge & Pizza Company. Tickets are $15. Show at 9 p.m. Call 524-2337.

Bee entertainment writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at 578-2284 or mrowland@modbee.com. Read her blog SceneIt at thehive.modbee.com/sceneit.

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