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Mermaid Body Painting for LA Independent Film

Short Film

The Beach

Creature Design, Body Paint Costuming & Special FX Makeup

"The Beach" Indie Film Project

Caitlin Patricia Weiler originally reached out to Artistic L.A. for a private mermaid body painting session. Doing a mermaid photo shoot was on her bucket-list, and she was looking for a professional body painter to make sure the photos were truly amazing. But as Caitlin spoke with Artistic L.A.'s Creative Director – Karina Konupek – they realized this mermaid project could be something more.

As both an actress and model, Caitlin had always thought about writing her own short film to submit to festivals. While Caitlin and Karina discussed how to create both opportunities, Karina brought up the recent devastation of the 2021 Huntington / Newport Beach oil spill. This quickly became the focus of their conversation. Caitlin could have the mermaid body painting photo shoot she'd always wanted...while making a meaningful, environmentally conscious short film at the same time.

While Caitlin started bringing together the people needed to write and produce a short film, Karina was responsible for the creature design and costuming. They were going to create a truly unique mermaid. Unlike the typical beautiful mermaid sunning on a rock with impeccable makeup and a seashell crown, Caitlin's mermaid – nicknamed "The Creature" – would show the ravages of swimming in the toxic seas filled with trash, oil, and other pollutants.

Creature Design & Mermaid Body Painting

Caitlin had complete trust in Artistic L.A.'s creative vision for the film's toxic mermaid costuming. Though there was initial discussion, design and implementation of the costume was left to Artistic L.A.'s Creative Director - Karina Konupek.

The fabric mermaid fins had already been purchased, and so the color-scheme of the costume would be derived from aqua leg covering. Artistic L.A. already had a matching wig in the costuming wardrobe from a previous body-painting corporate event with Playboy.

The costume vision included 3D prosthetic embellishments. Artistic L.A. designed and fabricated the prosthetic scale chest pieces and webbing between the fingers. Additional details like the broken fork sticking out of the mermaid's arm also needed to be built and attached. The trash crown worn by the mermaid was also designed and created by Artistic L.A. using recycled objects collected and from cleanups on the California beaches.

To stay ethically true to the environmental message of the film, all trash used in the costuming and scenery was cleaned from the California coastline and other various locations by the film's director/creator: Caitlin. She was collecting trash for over four months and had accumulated quite the stash to choose from!


Independent films do not generally have the budget for extra fittings; so the Special FX makeup was applied the day of filming. It started with a the airbrush body /face painting. Details such as black oil smears, aquatic spotting, and mermaid scale were also painted on. Skin was left strategically exposed on the chest and arms for the prosthetic adhesive to attachment: two fish-scale prosthetic pieces covered the chest, fin webbing was placed between the fingers, and 3D trash pieces were applied to the arms. The wig, trash crown, and nautical netting completed the costume.

Because this film was to be shot entirely on land, the mermaid face paint and body paint used for this project did not need to be waterproof. However, had there been underwater filming or an underwater photo shoot, Artistic L.A. does provide waterproof body makeup and face painting for underwater projects.

Caitlin the Mermaid was driven in full costume to the filming location in "Pirates Cove", Newport Beach, California. If you've never seen a mermaid try and walk on land, it's really quite awkward. Caitlin was climbing over rocks and sand on her hands while crew held up her fins. But she was able to complete filming as well as a promotional photo shoot.


Every film maker hopes their production will receive recognition in the festival circuit. Caitlin Patricia Weiler's short film "The Beach" has achieved that success: the Silicon Beach Film Festival is screening her short at the TCL Chinese Theatre.

Additional recognition: Golden State Film Festival - Best Sci-Fi Fantasy Short Film, California International Shorts Festival, US (2022) - Best Experimental Short [Winner], CULVER CITY FILM FESTIVAL (2022) - Best Sci-Fi Short [Winner], Focus International Film Festival (2022) - Platinum Award [Winner], Independent Shorts Awards (2022) - Honorable Mention [Winner], Indie Short Fest (2022)- Best Special Makeup, Silicon Beach Film Festival (2022) - Festival Prize [Winner], Top Shorts Film Festival (2022) - Best Inspirational, Focus International Film Festival - Official Selection, Ethos Film Awards - Official Selection, Top Shorts Awards - Official Selection Finalist


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