Meet the Artist: Anna Wilinski
Although Anna has been running JestPaint.com online for over 12 years now, we have never written a blog post about her.
So, I have decided to write a blog post about her. This is Santi, her husband since 2010, and her partner in business.
There is a lot to be told about her story, how she came about creating her store and how she got started in the face painting world.
Anna has made huge contributions to the face painting community, not only by introducing thousands of them to the world of split cakes, but also by creating unique products that are a staple in today's face painter´s kits, teaching classes around the world and providing some of the most comprehensive product descriptions for almost every product at her store, so that customers can really know what they are buying.
Anna has also been a key factor in helping develop products for brands, like Global Body Art and then Fusion Body Art, helping not only create awesome color combinations, but also helping design products, colors, adjust formulas to meet specific needs and more!
Let us review her history and each of her contributions to the face paint world!
Early Life as a Face Painter / Clown
Anna learned to face paint as a kid. She was clowning around at the early age of 10 years old when she and her mom decided to learn how to face paint as part of their clowning skills. They joined Clown Ally 44 and learned from the pros! Since then, Anna fell in love with face painting and in her early 20s she was already teaching classes and vending supplies locally and at regional conventions for children's entertainers.
All the way back in 2007 when YouTube had just started to become a thing and when almost nobody else was teaching face painting online, Anna started to release her free face painting tutorials, mixed with a lot of house fun and other crazy things.
This was Anna's first ever video:
Pretty funky, isn´t it? This was just the start of a YouTube channel that now has almost 300 videos, over 22 thousand subscribers and almost 10 million views!
The Creation of Rainbow Pots
After meeting the Wolfe Brothers in 2005 and watching Brian Wolfe paint a neon rainbow on her daughters cheek with a Wolfe rainbow cake, she knew she had to start making more color combos. She purchased a lot of face paint and arranged the colors so that she could paint dolphins, snakes, butterflies, dragons and more. Anna started selling her hand made Rainbow Pots right away at local conventions, before anyone else made them available to the face painting community and they instantly became a hit! The only other company that had rainbow cakes besides Wolfe was Snazaroo, who also had a regular rainbow cake and a red white and blue one for 4th of July. Anna had come up with over 20 different color combinations to offer in stackable square containers that would fit a foam wedge or flat brush perfectly. She was excited to finally meet Rebecca and Jodi Carr at a class on the west coast, whom also started making rainbow cakes and teaching the one stroke techniques.
In January 2009 she made them available online so that more people could buy her creations thanks to a friend that helped her set up her first version of JestPaint.com. Back then, the Rainbow Pots were all made by her, and we know of people that still have some in their kits! She was the second person ever to offer these split cakes online, Rebecca had teamed up with Silly Farm and had them available for sale at their shop by the end of 2008.
Along with her hand made Rainbow Pots she started offering Diamond FX products. She was one of the first online stores to offer this brand in the USA, and Anna spent a long time working with the amazing team at Diamond FX to create new products, new cakes, and expand the brand so that thousands of face painters could get to know it.
Later in 2009 Diamond FX started offering factory made split cakes that looked just as great but had a more professional finish than Anna's hand made cakes. Anna kept offering her hand made versions since she had unique color combinations that nobody else was offering and would do custom requests, including double gradient (dark on both edges and light in the middle) cakes that allowed you to create 3D looking shapes with one swipe of your brush.
Teaming Up with TAG Body Art
Sometime in 2010 TAG Body Art did the BIG debut of their 30gr split cakes in long white rectangular containers, the containers that became a staple in almost every kit. They were the first brand to release split cakes on this kind of container and soon after all followed.
TAG is a great company and they allowed Anna was to team up with them and create amazing and unique color combinations that TAG would custom make for her and back then were only available at JestPaint.com. Many other stores later took on some of those same combinations due to their popularity and some change their names while others chose to use the same name Anna had given them. Some have also become standard color combos that TAG offers to everyone.
But Anna did not stop there and she asked TAG to create a product that had not been done until then, a 2 color cake in the 50gr size, that allowed face painters to fit more colors into their kits. This was done around 2012, and since than other brands have created similar products and TAG decided to make a set of two color splits as part of their product lines.
Teaming Up with Global Body Art
In 2013, we heard of a brand of face paint that was looking to get into the US market, Global Body Art. We got in contact with them and immediately started testing their products. They had created a really unique line of face paints but some of their colors needed some adjustments. This led to Anna collaborating with them to create a new green and blue shade for them, asking for a stronger black, working on improving their white, and later on designing new custom colors from scratch by hand blending colors at her store until she got the unique shade she was looking for.
Creating TAP Stencils, Bolt Brushes and Splash Sponges
After Andrea O´Donnell had rocked the face painting world with her BAM Stencils, Anna decided to create her own line of stencils mostly focused on cheek-art designs and a small stencil surface that would fit right on little kid´s faces. TAP Stencils become super popular and are currently sold on every continent (except for Antarctica).
The creation of our first ever product line, lead to the creation later on of Bolt Brushes and Splash Sponges, always focusing on quality and what face painters were needing at the time.
Mehron had taken that lead with Jinny, creating the first ever line of face painting brushes and sponges specifically designed for face painters, but we felt the need to go beyond and create new sponge shapes, a wider variety of brushes and have our own unique specifications.
Teaming Up with Fusion Body Art
Following up with her experience working alongside Global, when Fusion Body Art was brought into the USA market with Jest Paint as the official distributor for the USA market and Latin America, Anna worked with them to create unique colors, the best white face paint ever, specific split cakes that would become big sellers and she helped them design the first ever large split cake palettes to hit the face painting market, using not only split cakes, but combining them with solid colors and 2 color split cakes, something that was brand new back then.
Sharing Her Knowledge with the World
As a well known figure in the face painting community, and an influential source of inspiration for many face painters, Anna was asked to teach classes at several conventions, including: FABAIC, the FPBA, the Saint Joseph's convention in CA, local conventions in Michigan, the first and second International Face Painting Summits by the IFPS and more. She has also taught classes in Argentina and has been asked to teach in Costa Rica and other countries and conventions around the world, she just has not had the time to get to, yet!
Anna has also focused on writing and helping edit some of the most comprehensive free blog posts written for the face painting industry, providing industry members with very useful and detailed information not only on how to face paint, but how to run your business, how to create contracts, legal and tax considerations, ingredients research and more. The Jest Paint blog is by far one of the most popular face painting blogs in the industry and it is visited daily by hundreds of people, continuing to be listed at the top 10% most visited blogs within all Shopify blogs.
Anna is also an administrator for several Facebook Groups, some of which were acquired by Jest Paint, others were created by her, and she shares a lot of tips with new and long time face painters, including live demos to showcase new products and techniques.
Supporting Other Artists
Taking advantage of the popularity of the platforms she created and her social media accounts, Anna has shared other artist´s artwork with thousands of people allowing them to become well known and spreading their artwork worldwide. Anna has also supported creative artists that have designed their own products, selling those products at our store, and even helping some of them with tips and ideas to make sure their products could be as popular as possible.
This has led to Jest Paint now selling products by Andrea O'Donnell, Marcela Bustamante, Leanne Courtney, Milena Potekhina, Svetlana Keller, Natalee Davies, Susy Amaro, Lenore Koppelman, Olga Murasev, Prima Barton, Jinny, Tal Soriano, Jacqueline Howe, Nicole Sanders, Erika Harrison, April Fredge, Matteo Arfanotti, Jenny Saunders, Cameron Garret and more!
Using Jest Paint to do Good
Anna was always a dedicated member of her community and once her store became a reliable source of income Anna was able to expand her reach to even more communities around the world, be it by donating face painting supplies to artists worldwide, donating her time to participate at charities, or financially supporting non profit organizations and travelling artists to do good around the world.
A critical part of Jest Paint's mission is to spread peace and love, and Anna is committed to do that in many different ways. Not only supporting artists and communities, but also taking care of our planet by using the most environmentally friendly business practices, supporting the sale of vegan products never tested on animals, and providing everyone that works at Jest Paint with a living wage based on regional standards.
She has also encouraged big players in our industry to have more transparent labeling practices, to remove unnecessary ingredients and packaging from products, and to work on more environmentally friendly practices.
This is just a short summary of what Anna has done for the face painting community and industry. With an ever-growing store supported by thousands of customers worldwide, Anna is always looking at ways to improve the industry, help other face painters, create new products, improve on existing ones and make sure that thousands of kids can smile thanks to face paints!
Anna has always focused not on being first, but being the best at it, not in search of a title, a price or a trophy, but because she serves professionals that rely on her work to do their job, and because our ultimate customers is usually a kid, that only deserves the best of the best.
Follow Anna's Personal Instagram Page! Check out our Flicker Page with Bodypainting that we have done over the years. Below are some links to interviews done in the past by local media and journalists following the growth of Jest Paint and Anna's artistic endeavors.
Painted ladies and gentlemen a seasonal boost for local body artists - https://www.secondwavemedia.com/southwest-michigan/features/bodypaint1020.aspx
Body of work: Photo calendar to raise funds for African educational projects - https://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/2009/10/body_of_work_photo_calendar_to.html
Life as a clown: Kalamazoo clown troupe visits seniors - https://www.wmuk.org/post/life-clown-kalamazoo-clown-troupe-visits-seniors#stream/0
Clash the Clown Returns - https://leaderpub.com/2010/11/15/clash-the-clownreturns-nov-20/
Dynasty Brush Artist Spotlight: Anna Wilinski -