US is often portrayed as a pretty uptight nation, but luckily there are people who challenge this view. One of them is the artist Andy Golub. He creates body art at landmark locations of New York City. Body painting in this case not only serves as an art act but also promotes body acceptance, i.e. it helps people to see human body as something normal and nothing to be ashamed of (as oddly, as it sounds – how come that we actually need that?). As you may know from my blog, I feel very comfortable naked, and I have been to numerous events that involved full body painting, but doing it at Times Square brings it to the next level.
When I arrived there, Andy Golub and his team had already been painting several people for a couple of hours… surrounded by dozens of onlookers. I guess for all models it took some time to get used to be in the centre of attention, but the general atmosphere of fun and encouragement made it easy to enjoy it! This is definitely a good exercise for your confidence ;-)
I couldn’t wait to join the fun and get painted. What colours would I get?
Finally, it was my turn, and Andy brought me to his assistants – Gypsy Twins, as they called themselves.
Andy gave them an idea as to how he envisioned me painted, and there I was getting covered in gold. First, I kept my shorts on, to make the transition less ‘shocking’ to the audience, but not for too long :D
I don’t think I’ve ever been that shiny!
Then, it was time for face. It was quite contrasting to the rest of the body, but regardless, it felt almost hypnotic to get my face painted by both twins simultaneously.
After that, the master himself was about to paint me.
It took him a moment to get an idea,
and shortly, a black pattern was emerging on my chest.
All this time, I and the rest of the models were constantly being photographed by the crowd and Andy Golub’s crew. Most of the photos in this blogpost are courtesy of Arthur.
After we were done with painting, it was the time for photo shoots.
Needless to say, most of the audience loved it, someone provided his skateboard as a stage for one of our models.
I’m not generally into posing, but the fellow model Sky got me inspired.
When else could I do a naked handstand at Times Square? I didn’t want to miss that opportunity!
Obviously, many people were curious about what was happening, and you could see all kinds of reactions but almost all were positive. Many people were surprised to find out it was totally legal. It was funny to hear that even when people were baffled at first, they immediately approved the event as soon as they heard the magic word ‘art’ – why are we so attached to labels?
Luckily, some people noticed another important aspect of this body art event – the models were of different ages and body complexions, which certainly promoted body acceptance.
And could there be any better place for that than Times Square?
The Statue of Liberty obviously approved that! Would there be liberty without nudity, and would there be art without nudes? (I know, someone else already said that.)
Thus, despite the ban on clothes-free recreation at some Fire Island beaches this year and nudity ban in San Francisco, success of the World Naked Bike Ride in NYC this year, and now body art performances in landmark locations in Manhattan by Andy Golub give us hope!
PS Andy is planning more similar acts, so keep your eyes open!