This piece strays somewhat from the usual pattern of my articles, and yet I believe that this topic is worth reporting on. Usually, I would aim to find a heart-wrenching story such as BBC3’s Murdered by My Boyfriend, or one with worldwide implications, such as The Alzheimer’s Breakthrough or Graduate Unemployment (see articles here). However, today I aim to diversify my writing by commenting on something new – Naked Body Art. You’ve all probably heard about it, but after reading up on the subject, I actually found it to be quite extraordinary, and believe that if this new craze takes off, it may become exhilarating to those who have previously suffered from problems with their weight and/or body image.
Having originated from none other than New York – a city notoriously famous for being one of the fashion capitals of the world – this new craze has left people everywhere speculating and wondering how something as simple as painting a human body could be classed as a work of art. And this is how: the people are naked. Naked, yet completely unexposed – some designs are so intricately detailed that they even transform people into different animals or objects, and hence it is clear that the skill level required to create such an illusion must be high. Although the craze has been around for years, it is only now being turned into a phenomenon – all because Western artists are dedicating more time and money to putting a unique spin on body art, and giving it the recognition it deserves. At times, three or more people could be used to create a sculpture: models in this form of painting aren’t always solo, and that’s what makes it so great. When you look at the finished piece, you can’t even tell that you’re actually looking at people – minus their clothes, of course.
The recent New York event, named ‘Body painting day’, livened up Central Park and Times Square, and involved 30 artists and over 40 models willing to help broadcast the benefits of this new art form. New York, having always been known as the city where dreams come true, is said to be the only US city that would allow for such an event to take place – and end up turning it into a great success. Dreams, then, really do come true here; especially for those with body and weight issues, who were able to volunteer and partake in the exciting performance if they felt up to it. The police agreed to allow the day to take place under the ruling ‘nudity only as part of a performance’, and agreed to step down after many eager US citizens rushed to Central Park to see the event. Artist Andy Golub, the proprietor of the event, spoke out saying, ‘Art shouldn’t be limited to canvases or bound to be in only indoor spaces. To me, art is about self-discovery and sharing it with people’.
Andy’s words, then, seem to perfectly mirror the event that he held – allowing members of the public to discover something new about themselves, in the form of self-confidence and inner appreciation. However, it is not only US citizens who have seen the Art world’s most recent transformation – a festival was recently held in the Austrian town of Pörtschach which allowed artists from 47 different countries to come and experiment with their talent. This talent, of course, was not explored on a canvas, but on another person. Here, then, people from all over the world got to see the extraordinary outcome that originates from a bit of paint, a naked body and some concentration. And, of course, this festival was just the first of many to come.
However, Naked Body Art is not only rife in festivals and big cities, it also allows artists to practice by themselves as a form of personal gratification. One artist, Emma Allen, used recent World Cup events in order to inspire an idea. Emma used herself as both artist and model, and transformed herself into the World Cup Trophy. Emma believes that, being such an iconic symbol, the trophy deserved to be presented through the medium of body art – and so she got to work! After having been unsuccessful in her attempts to find others to model the trophy for her, Emma decided to do it herself. Her transformation meant she had to wear a bald cap and paint herself for over two hours until she was happy with the final piece. Shockingly, however, Emma didn’t do this for a competition or to make money. She did it for one reason: to see if she could. She posted the photos online and was thrilled with the hundreds of thousands of views she received in a matter of days. So this tells you one thing: if you’ve got the talent, or if you want a challenge, go for it. You never know how successful your attempts may turn out to be.
Like Emma, you could find your true talent by giving it a go, and I personally think that everyone could partake in this glorious new art form… if not as an artist, then as a model! Who knows, maybe this is your chance to shine.