Imagine going away on vacation to a popular, yet foreign country, only to realize you’re facing your new forever home! And now imagine that with this new life, you would soar to body painting stardom on the reality show Skin Wars and be known as the Airbrush Hero! This was the case for Avi Ram.
Avi is a humble and kind soul who’s had many open doors revealing opportunity after opportunity, and he deserves this kind of happiness. Originally from Israel, after completing his 3 years in military duties in Israel, he came to the US on vacation to decompress. He took a cruise that showed him L.A., New York, and Miami. “When I came here, I actually came to visit on vacation and when I went back to Israel, I just had fallen in love and I could no longer find myself in Israel”, Avi says.
What he fell in love with the most, was the freedom and openness from the gay community. Now in Israel, there is much freedom and acceptance, but 13 years ago, it was a much different story and so Avi really fell in love with the freedom and relief that came with being able to be himself.
The Humble Beginning
Avi, by talent and trade, started airbrushing and was an airbrush artist for 16 years. He began airbrushing on T-Shirt, hats, and wall murals. When he arrived and settled in Florida, Avi ran a shop at The Swap Shop flea market where he would do airbrushing for locals and for tourists. One time someone asked Avi if he ever did body painting for Halloween. Avi never had, but he liked the challenge, so he took it.
The first time he did it was at Geoge’s Alibi in Wilton Manors. He set up a tent and body painted people for Halloween.
Suddenly, all the local bars like The Manor, Hunters, and different businesses on “the strip” wanted him to come and body paint for them. Every year it got more and more attention and got bigger and bigger.
A Learned Art Form
Avi’s talent is innate. He never dreamed or planned on being a famous body painter. It happened serendipitously when people started to ask for it. However, when Avi saw how popular it was, he knew he needed to learn the ins and outs of body painting. He is proudly self-taught and has strengthened his skills through trial and error.
Avi also started to see the positive reactions people would have when they saw themselves painted. From having self esteem issues, or having a fantasy in mind, Avi transformed people into something that emotionally moved them. Avi says, “Some people who are not confident with their body, some would start crying at the emotion, never expecting to see themselves in that way, as a true art form”. He adds, “Oh sometimes, we cried. Oh, we really cried!”.
Avi taught himself to try new techniques and learn from his mistakes and if he failed, try again. One obstacle he overcame and sees a difference in now, is in how to airbrush. He currently teaches make up skills, and he can see how easy it is to explain to his students how to use an airbrush, versus having to learn it all on his own. He says, “I can explain airbrushing and, in a few hours, my students know what took me months to learn!”. One of his favorite art forms is camouflage. Avi is a master at blending in a person or people into a backdrop. See some of his pictures. Can you spot the person? One of his favorite pieces was a scene in which he painted in his own mother. Talk about true parental support!
The Discovery of Avi Ram
Before we knew him as a contestant on Skin Wars, Avi was doing quick 3-minute body paintings for clubs. He was not really in any competitions. But he did participate in Key West’s annual Fantasy Fest where Skin Wars Season 1 contestant and winner, Shannon, discovered him. She asked Avi if she could take his number and pictures and later contacted him. Shannon gushed about him to the producers of the show, and soon, they called him.
Unfortunately, he did not have a portfolio to show them, as he had never planned on such possibilities. The producers asked him to do a full body painting and send in pictures, so he did. He took pictures under water and the producers were amazed with his work and flew him out to L.A. for auditions. Right around the same time, Avi had found a new confidence to compete, and so, he participated in some competitions around the U.S. and he often ended up in very close positions, always coming in 2nd or 3rd place.
Up until today, Avi has competed in over 40 competitions around the world, and about 80% of these times, Avi is a winner! This does not include the reality show Skin Wars. Avi really enjoys the journey, the people, the friends from the communities surrounding these competitions.
Avi’s time on Skin Wars, was a journey on its own. Avi felt confident being on the show and being able to express his creative side. A challenge he faced was that he often had to think on his toes and come up with looks and designs on the spot. All phones were taken away and so all creativity had to come from the artists’ minds.
Often times, creativity was tested not only on time, but also in execution and order in which the artists had to bring their look to life. Surprisingly, as much as Avi has competed, and as mush as he fought to be in the top of Skin Wars, Avi, by nature, is not a competitive person. He simply enjoyed the journey and is grateful for how far he went in the show.
Being in Second place has actually been an advantage to him as it has opened many doors. He is currently also a part of three more reality shows: Global Beauty Masters, where Avi won Best Make Up Artist, Fresh Paint, and finally, a Snap Chat reality show called Fake Up. In his journeys, Avi has painted for Rebecca Romijn, Cardi B, and even for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Arnold’s Classic” body building competitions.
And Now…What’s Next for Avi?
Since Covid 19, and with limited to downright canceled traveling, Avi has gone back to his roots. He is currently creating beautiful murals in restaurants, The W Hotel, and in different businesses in Wilton Manors like Bar Rita, Tulio’s, and The Wilton Collective, which is outdoors and can be seen by the public.
Avi is involved with the community by attending and participating in Body Painting conventions, traveling for teaching, teaching online, and teaching in Cosmix School of Make Up Artistry in Oakland Park.
Avi looks forward to entering some of his open doors of opportunity and hopes to one day create his own reality show involving Body Painting. Avi has just wrapped up filming for Fake Up and is happy creating murals. For inquiries on bookings, you can find Avi Ram on his website: www.airbrushhero.com and Instagram using the same handle: @airbrushhero.
Stay tuned to LivingInOaklandPark.com for updates on Avi’s work in and around Oakland Park.