Lawyer by day, glamour jewelry designer by night

March 2, 2015

People tie-dye their arms in large barrels at Lollapalooza Music Festival in Grant Park Saturday, August 1, 2015 in Chicago.

CHICAGO Samantha Marnell and Mikyla Moya, friends who live in Gurnee, Ill., accidentally wore matching outfits of white crop tops, jean shorts, tribal print fanny packs and gray Converse sneakers to the opening day of the recent Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago.

But after they arrived at the music festival, they distinguished themselves by getting their arms tie-dyed different color combinations.

Marnell, 22, got a swirling mix of pink, turquoise, black, white and two different yellows on her left arm, while Moya, 21, got a blend of purple, pink, orange, green, blue, black and white on her right arm.

"This is really cool," Marnell said. "Accessorizing is honestly important here."

Michigan-based Black Light Visuals made its debut at Lollapalooza 2015 with a splash by painting the arms of dozens of concertgoers looking for an extra way to stand out among the sea of floral headbands and belly-button piercings.

Black Light Visuals founder Brad Lawrence said he began dipping arms in acrylic paint about four years as therapy for tendinitis he developed in his wrist from drawing. His company has been riding the festival circuit recently with stops at Electric Forest music fest in Michigan and TomorrowWorld, an electronic dance music event outside Atlanta.

"Were just trying to get as many people colorful as we can," said Lawrence, 25.

Patrons dry their arms before picking out their favorite colors, which are squirted into a bucket filled with water and swirled around to create a design. Arms are dipped into the paint bucket for seconds and then put in another bucket filled with a "secret potion" that Lawrence would not reveal. Customers then dry their arms with fans for about two minutes.

The paint is meant to last the night and can be washed off with soap and water, Lawrence said. The process costs $5 an arm (though Lawrence said the price varies based on the number of patrons waiting in line).

The ultraviolet art is designed to be showcased at night, but Lollapalooza ended each day at 10 p.m.

"We kind of lost that edge but people are still doing it in the sunlight," Lawrence said.

About 10 people, all women, were in line with Marnell and Moya on that Friday evening. The wait was about 15 minutes, but that may have fueled interest and curiosity.

"I walked by (the booth), and Im like I want one," Marnell said. Lollapalooza "is the only place where you can show off."

For those who preferred to wear their art on their sleeve instead of on their arm, Black Light Visuals was selling shirts, hats and other accessories at their specially lit booth as part of Green Street, a Lollapalooza shopping area that featured about 20 arts and crafts vendors.



Associated Press