NYC Bodypainting Day 2014: A Model’s Recap
Yesterday, models of all shapes and sizes became walking canvases for body painting artists from all over the country in New York City’s first Body Painting Day, an event dedicated to accepting our bodies as we are as well as displaying beautiful art. (Photos can be viewed on Flickr and Gothamist.)
I was fortunate enough to participate as one of the models. Mind you, walking naked through one of the most crowded cities in the country was never on my bucket list, however it was definitely and experience and a message I was proud to promote. I arrived at the southwest entrance to Central Park at about 12:15pm and met with my artist, Margie Nugent, who I had coordinated with prior to the event to avoid any stress upon arriving. She was provided with the paint and we made camp next to a bench. “You ready?”, asked Margie. Off came my dress. There I stood in a thong in front of a surrounding crowd, cell phones ready to upload to social media, as my artist went straight to work. Another artist sharing our bench came prepared with her iPod and speakers. Shenanigans in our corner with sing-alongs and naked models shaking what was hanging. Hours in, it was time for the lady parts to be painted to complete the look. I was not nervous about showing my bits to public; I was more concerned with how the inevitable gawkers would release their inappropriate images to the interwebs. Fortunately, it was a quick cover.
(Photos by Vitaly Levin and Daniel Rose)
There was a bit of concern as we moved over to the fountain for group photos of the completed works as there was some drizzle. All models were herded like cattle to canopies and umbrellas in attempts to save the art until it stopped. After some group shots on the lawn, we began our march down Broadway into Times Square. Swirls of blue, black, white, and turquoise took over the sidewalks shooting photos with passersby, on bikes, hanging off of posts — whatever we could find to create a great photo. Customers and employees of restaurants and shops rushed out to ease their curiosity, but nothing compares to the shocked expressions of strangers.
We arrived at the bleachers in Times Square and posed for photos for the photographers of our crew as well as the public. Strangers from different countries and cultures were curious about our group and embraced our message. The group hung around for about an hour before climbing into a 2-floor city tour bus for our trip a bit into lower Manhattan. From the top deck we shouted and cheered to the crowds below; the majority cheered back, cab drivers were in shock attempting to take photos at red lights, and people were fumbling with their cell phones and cameras to catch a shot before we drove off.
We were dropped off at Andy Golub’s art gallery for some finger foods and wine, a bit of shooting, and the much needed bathroom break before filing back into the bus and heading uptown to Times Scare for the afterparty. We danced and mingled. The subway ride home was interesting, to say the least. Definitely a conversation starter…
HOW did I remove ALL the body paint without leaving a trace? Dawn dish soap onto dry skin and allowing it to rinse off in the shower. Baby shampoo was a great backup after I ran out of Dawn.
WHY did I chose to participate? The message we wanted to promote was body acceptance and art, but to me it’s more than that. Body shaming is increasing in prevalence; hatred because of body types, women are raised to cover their bodies, society has deemed nudity taboo. Society associates nudity with sex, but nudity does not have to be sexualized. It can be beautiful; art. It’s what we live with. Nudity does not deserve disrespect. Nudity is not asking to be harassed. Embrace your body; protect it because it is what you have.