The first time I ever laid a paint brush on human skin was in 2006 at a family function, face painting my little cousins. There was something about the human connection that really made me come alive especially because I suffered from social anxiety at the time. By 2009 I really wanted to enhance that connection by painting not only a face but an entire human body. It was a far fetched idea in my mind that I would find someone who would be willing to participate in such a task but eventually I had a volunteer. The experience was even more powerful than I thought and I realized that I stumbled upon something very special.
In 2011, I reached out to Mr. Tracy just to let him know how much he inspired me and how I hoped to meet him someday. To my pleasant surprise, he actually responded. In his response, he encouraged me to keep painting, told me to keep in touch and share any cool projects I had going on. This was a very big deal to me and the beginning of a major boost to my creativity and my confidence as an artist.
I met Craig in person for the first time in 2014 at New York City Body Painting day which was an event he personally invited me to be a part of. As I walked up for registration I saw him and froze. I am not the type of person who gets star struck but I couldn't breathe for a moment because he had been such a prominent part of inspiration from the moment I saw his art. He spotted me in the moments after, opened his arms and said "Come and give me a hug girl". I will never forget that day for as long as I live.
Craig is a man that is very busy these days as a husband and dad, producer, judge, business owner and traveler. He still manages to find the time to respond to messages from artists like me who consider him a mentor and friend. He has helped to create many resources and platforms such as "Skin Wars" for the generations of body artists to come and he genuinely loves life. If you have never heard of him, now you know his name. Take some time to watch this short documentary about him, view the work on his web site, google him, visit his gallery on Royal street in New Orleans, buy some of his art and simply absorb the blessing that he is.
I started to research body paint thinking that I would only come up with information on the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issues and Demi Moore on the cover of Vanity Fair. I was mind blown when I searched images and found some of the most amazing art I'd ever seen and it was all on the human body. There was an image of a white leopard that I had to stare at for about two minutes before I actually saw the human body in it. The name attached to this amazing image was Craig Tracy. The more I searched body art online, the more his work showed up.
A few years ago I learned that Craig has a degenerative eye disease which has affected his eyesight since he was a young boy. This is not something that he has never let that stop or limit him from pursuing his passion and purpose which makes me that much more driven. I've studied art history in school and I know many artists in present day who inspire me daily but I have to say that Craig has inspired me the most. Outside of being an amazing artist he is authentically an amazing person. Very giving of himself when it comes to information about body art. He has answered so many questions I've had about the craft and he just shares so much of himself with the body art community and beyond. He has literally been the catalyst for so many artists to pursue what they do with passion.
Craig Tracy Biography Part I- visit his gallery here
A note to Craig:
You have been such a blessing in my life and so many others. I am so grateful to have stumbled upon your work when I did and I believe nothing happens by accident. I am even more grateful that you took the time to respond to that very first message I sent you. That was such a pivotal moment in the beginning stages of my art career. You truly are an amazing artist, mentor, and friend.