Nov 7, 2011

TREND I Human Canvas

Craig Tracy,  Rose,  Bodypainting, 2010

The first time I witnessed body painting was when I was looking at a Sports Illustrated magazine many years ago. At the time, I will admit that I did not look at it as an art form.  When I started looking at the body as a canvas, I was immediately blown away by how much and how often body painting was being practiced. There is actually a World Bodypainting Festival that give prizes to the best body painters, photographers, makeup artist, and DJ’s.  Winning this competition gives promotion and advertising on the festival website. 

The great thing about body painting would be that it is temporary and usually applied by airbrush.   It also can be painted on like a child’s face painting at a carnival. It usually only lasts a couple of hours, but the application of this kind of art usually takes the same amount of time (if not more) to apply to the body.  The one-on-one time spent with the artist can also help tailor the idea of the painter to the thoughts and emotions of the actual canvas.  The advantages of using the body as a canvas is that it can move and express emotion, with positions that can portray differently than an actual picture. What might seem like a depressing body pose or position shut off with clothing and lighting can be completely changed when painted on as a tiger.

Craig Tracy, South China Tiger Project, Bodypainting

Craig Tracy is a body painting artist who was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana.  New Orleans is a place where body painting and adornment are standard during Mardi Gras.  He is drawn to color and painting on something that moves. Tracy’s parents were hippies and helped create an atmosphere growing up, that anything was possible and that there were no borders to what he could do.   In his early years, Tracy idealized love and beauty until he turned fifteen.  That is when he received his first airbrush machine and when the obsession began.  By the age of 16, he was spending 60 to 80 hours a week learning to paint anything on any surface with his airbrush. This practice became very useful later on.   He graduated from an art institute and became an illustration artist, working in the advertising industry.  When he found this to be lonely, he started working with people and body art.

Kim Joon, Hunting World, C-print, 2005
Kim Joon,  born in South Korea,  came across body painting  in the form of tattooing ,  by using tribal heritage to be portrayed on the body.  He does not use live models, but plastic or ceramic molds of body parts.   Joon then photos them using the same concept, as if he were using a human model to display his artwork.   He then paints from his inner emotions and displays what he feels on the surface of the ceramic molds. 

Guido Daniele, Elk, Handpainting, 2008
Guido Daniele Milan is a photographer and artist who started combining body painting and photography during the 1970’s.  His work has been displayed in advertisements since the 1990’s.  Recently, he has been drawn to the human hand, which he as been painting on since the early 2000s.  Milan usually paints animals and uses only hands to portray them.  It is amazing how realistic these animals look. He has given them the clever name “handimals”.   Milan is an artist who is influenced by nature.  He has done series of trees and various objects in nature.  Lately, he has been working with AT&T and using his hands to represent global cultural icons to help advertise their products.   The use of his products in advertising has brought to light the world of body painting and shifted the direction of the trend. 

Guido Daniele, AT&T Carribean Fish and Coral, Handpainting, 2010

Guido Daniel, AT&T Paraguay Iguana, Handpainting, 2010

These are just a few of the body painters that have impressed me, but there is a lot to be seen in this art trend.  I feel there is so much to be done with the medium of the body that has not been done or seen before.   I am impressed by the way an artist can take inner emotions and display them on the outer surface of the body.  This is just the beginning of a whole new territory of art and is an exciting frontier for the art world to explore!

-- Amanda Roland


Yael said...

Interesting how this type of art form has been commercialized by at&t. Regardless they are still very impressive. Alexa Meade also paints people but on another level when compared to the artists shown in your post. You should check it out...

- Yael Palma

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