In July, 2014 I was invited by fellow artist and mentor, Craig Tracy to be a part of New York City Body Painting Day. It was an inaugural event started by another fellow artist, Andy Golub. The event was created to promote body acceptance and awareness. This year I was invited again, only this time the models and artists doubled in numbers because of last year's popularity. Of course I signed up to be an artist again and was lucky enough to be paired up with an amazing model, MG Olivier.
All artists were asked to bring their own brushes and a design concept. Kryolan gave us beautiful colors to work with this year; orange, yellow, light blue, black and white. Other sponsors and generous donations covered all of our snacks and refreshments. New York's finest, the NYPD was on hand for our security and protection as well as their own entertainment :-).
I was grateful to have my brother Brian and my friend Ty traveling with me to the city. We arrived, registered and got started right away. When I learned the theme a few months prior; "What the World Needs Now" I immediately thought of the song "Imagine" by John Lennon. The lyrics in the song have always been so compelling to me and it also happens to be one of my favorite songs. I decided that Lennon's face needed to be the centerpiece of what I painted, this was the only part of my design concept that was planned ahead. I came up with the rest of the design as I painted and absorbed the energy around me. I finished my first model in three hours time so I was given a second model named Olga whom I only had one hour to complete. The design was quick and simple but I got her covered.
With around 75 artists and over 100 models, Andy and the volunteers did an amazing job organizing the event and making sure we had everything we needed. The area was roped off and security was at every corner ensuring that we were safe. There were specific media personnel allowed into the painting area to interview and photograph participants. The energy was high and positive and for the most part the crowd of spectators behaved very respectfully.
Once all of our models were painted, we marched to the United Nations as a group and took photos right before loading onto the double decker buses for our ride through the city. Bystanders smiled, laughed, grimaced, whistled and some even went as far as taking off some of their clothes to join in on our body acceptance movement. Once our ride was over, we were dropped off to the after party location, No Malice Palace. Artists were given the opportunity to continue painting while others danced the night away and feasted on the endless boxes of pizza provided by Two Boots.
It was an honor to once again be a part of such a historical event. I'm proud of what it stands for even if the purpose is often misunderstood. Every day in the media the human body (especially women) is objectified for the purpose of sales of products and services. This event is all about promoting the human body for what it truly is; A work of art.
Below are a bunch of links to some of the articles and coverage from NYBPD, 2015. (Warning, there is nudity. If you can't handle it, don't click on the links) Enjoy :-)
New York Daily News
Coed Topless Pulp Fiction