recap of the BodyPainting Day in NYC

NYC BodyPainting Day It’s no surprise that body painting works best with naked people, and Andy Golub brings this art form to the next level by arranging massive body painting sessions in public spaces. While I thoroughly enjoyed those body painting parties that used to be quite common in New York a couple of years ago, it is a totally different experience when you get painted by a professional artist while being watched by dozens if not hundreds of passers-by somewhere like Times Square – you do feel like you become a piece of art! And that was the theme of the 2nd annual BodyPainting Day – ‘All Bodies Are Works of Art’ – Andy Golub’s  biggest event so far which he organized together with Young Naturists America. In case you missed my report from the first one last year, here it is; and you can still participate in the European gig in two weeks – BodyPainting Day in Amsterdam on the 15th of August. Don’t miss it if you’re around! Here is my recap of the event in New York just a little over a week ago, with 100 models and 70 artists! We first got painted at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza.  It took 2-4 hours for some models to be finished, so it’s a pretty serious commitment for both models and artists. It turned out that my artist, Naty, and I had a friend in common, but we surely became friends too during the painting process🙂

I was covered in bright sunset colors and strings of DNA, symbolizing our deeply embedded connection with nature. Our neighbors were a mother and her son painting her. It was really amazing to see how understanding and natural they were with each other – a level of comfort that not many people reach with their parents. And here are some more of my favorite photos:

from the painting process

and a bit of posing

– luckily it didn’t rain!

– reference to last year’s theme – faces?

– my friend from FreeForm Festival; he was supposed to join my theme camp for Burning Man too but had to cancel his trip – well, at least he’s on fire here!

– just chilling on the bench🙂 – Eve and the evil Serpent in one – probably my favorite work from this year!

After all that painting and posing, we were really hungry, but luckily lunch was included in the program. I bet this was the most amusing workday for that food truck! Lunch break wasn’t too long though, as we marched out towards the UN building. Some posing with police🙂 Even though it’s legal in New York to be naked for art performances, police gave Andy Golub hard time during his first public body art gigs, so he eventually got a special permit. Good to see police actually being supportive of an event like this! Maybe they won’t arrest us anymore during the World Naked Bike Ride either? As we got to the UN, we were surrounded by a pretty big crowd – maybe some UN workers among them? Hopefully one day the freedom to be naked will be acknowledged as a fundamental human right – the right to be just the way you were born, and the way you are, uncovered. naturist 0000 BodyPainting Day, New York City, NY, USA Well, for now, we need events like this to be able to take a nude photo by the UN building🙂 naturist 0001 BodyPainting Day, New York City, NY, USA I tried to replicate DNA double helix shape with my body; naturist 0003 BodyPainting Day, New York City, NY, USA handstands weren’t as meaningful, but when else would I get a chance to act like that by the UN? Too bad there probably was nobody to appreciate the view from those offices, as it was Sunday… I actually ride my bicycle on this bike lane a few times a week – this place will never be the same for me!😀 Then we all (models, artists and photographers) got on two double-decker buses and rode around Manhattan cheering and amusing passers-by – and also being cheered back. The first stop for a group shot was at Rockefeller Center (see the first photo in this post) followed by the NYC Public Library. Then we went down to Washington Square Park, where we started dancing to the music of street musicians, so our appearance was more like a fun flashmob. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fbe1cbo5DiE During those stops we also had an opportunity to talk to people, as many were wondering about the cause. I don’t recall any negative reaction, which once again shows that by far majority of people, once confronted with nudity, don’t actually see it in a way that you might expect judging by our legislation – our bodies are nothing to be ashamed of and on contrary are works of art!

[interactive] arts rock!

Lately, there’s been a lot of discussion whether New York City has lost/ is losing its artistic scene and innovative atmosphere – see if this New York Times article can convince you otherwise. However, I’m happy to be involved with two local artists – Andy Golub and Shungaboy – who have a unique approach to art, which allows people to participate in art rather than being its passive consumer (not that there’s anything wrong with that, though).

Andy Golub is a renowned artist that often uses body as canvas, and he often makes a performance of the process itself too by painting bodies of (often non-professional) models at public places in New York. This is probably as interactive and public as art can get: you yourself may be transformed into a piece of art, in the middle of a busy street! Nudity certainly draws attention, but it also certainly makes people think and re-evaluate their attitude towards human body, such as what can be considered ‘beautiful’ or ‘appropriate’, and this is when art becomes meaningful.

I’ve already written up on two events organized by Andy Golub – body art at Times Square in 2013, and the 1st NYC Bodypainting Day last year. You got it right, that was the 1st Bodypainting Day, so the 2nd must follow and so forth😉 This year, Andy plans to double the capacity for the event in New York some time in July, but he’s also announced a date for the Bodypainting Day in Amsterdam on the 15th of August 2015! You can hear more about these events and Andy Golub’s ideas during his interview as well as see or even participate in nude body painting demonstration this coming Saturday, 24 Jan, in Nyack, NY.

 

Andy Golub has interviewed himself some of participants of his event (check out his Vimeo channel), here are just two of those.

Felicity from Young Naturists America tells how she feels becoming an art object,

and Sidney loves the public aspect of it.

My friend known by his artist name Shungaboy has just started a group for nude male figure drawing. What I like about this group is that everybody joining the group is expected to participate both as an artist and as a model. This creates a friendly atmosphere, and it also must be useful for models and artists alike to try both roles.
nude male drawing 0000 New York, NY, USA

I am certainly not the only one with this impression, as  Shungaboy’s MeetUp group has proved to be very successful from the first class. I actually had never modeled for a drawing or a painting before that, and it was also nice to brush up my painting drawing skills.

nude male drawing 0003 New York, NY, USA

The workshop allowed 15 minutes for each sketch, and with 14 participants, most models were paired.

nude male drawing 0001 New York, NY, USA

What’s nice about sketch format, is that we could put up our works on the wall for immediate discussion, which kept the whole atmosphere stimulating and interactive.

nude male drawing 0004 New York, NY, USA

Having my photo camera handy, I couldn’t resist taking some pictures

nude male drawing 0005 New York, NY, USA

of the painter and the painting process. Now, that I look at these photos, I think the scene of a nude artist painting nude models itself is worth painting too!

nude male drawing 0002 New York, NY, USA

You can see this and another works of the group clicking on the image below.

 

So, whatever you may think of the art scene in New York these days, if you consider yourself an active or artful naturist, you should definitely check out these groups!

blue multi-faced humanoids take over New York City

Last Saturday, something incredible happened: blue humanoids with additional faces in unexpected places took over the streets of Midtown Manhattan! No, it’s not a plot of a sci-fi thriller. In fact, the humanoids were greeted by New York denizens and visitors with joy and excitement!

It was New York Body Painting Day, a project by the artist Andy Golub in collaboration with Young Naturists America. I participated in a similar body art event at Times square a year ago, but New York Body Painting Day must have been the biggest so far, with 3o artists and 40 models!

Besides bringing art to the people in the most interactive way imaginable, New York Body Painting Day had a clear message on body acceptance.

We started at Columbus Circle by the corner of Central Park. After the artists spilled their creativity over the models with flying colors,

some of the models helped to finish painting their fellows. By the way, this photo below with my legs being painted by the model-turned-artist made it to an article on BBC website, which was among the top-read news on that day!

Given that my upper body appeared in a cover photo for the last year’s event coverage on NBC, I can only guess what other parts of my body will feature in the top news outlets, if I keep on participating in these events!😀

The models who were finished earlier strolled to Central Park for a photo shoot.

Here are just a few of my favorite photos. Rocks and trees provided a naturalistic background

and an opportunity for some bolder poses.

Some models did not just pose but performed a little show with hula-hoops.

When all models were ready, we gathered by the fountain at Columbus Circle

and strolled down Broadway.

Being in a very cheerful mood, we of course took every opportunity to stop and play with whatever we encountered on our way.

I was offered to ride a pedicab… Not often do you get a chance to ride a bike naked in New York without risk of getting arrested. Unfortunately, that photo is no longer available from the original source, and I have never downloaded it:-/

The red stairs at Time Square gave us a great opportunity for some group photos.

All eyes on us!

That wasn’t our final stop, however. We then had an entire double-decker bus for ourselves and rode through Midtown to East Village.

I’ve never taken such city sightseeing bus tours, but I assure you this was something else! We had so much fun greeting the crowd and getting their amused and amazed reaction back! We actually got a couple of passers by naked in solidarity with us🙂 [Unfortunately, that photo is no longer available from the original source, and I have never downloaded it]

But there are some great photos of people’s reaction, which ranged from WTF kind of amusement

to pure cheerful smiles

and I wish I was there look on the face🙂

And then, that awkward moment when Naked Cowboy realizes he is not actually naked…

We had a break at Andy’s studio with some snacks and art viewing

and then headed back for an after-party.

It was a day to remember for all the participants and spectators alike!

body art at Times Square

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.

naturist 0000 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

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😉

naturist 0001 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

I couldn’t wait to join the fun and get painted. What colours would I get?

paints 0007 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

Finally, it was my turn, and Andy brought me to his assistants – Gypsy Twins, as they called themselves.

naturist 0002 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

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😀

naturist 0003 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

I don’t think I’ve ever been that shiny!

naturist 0004 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

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.

naturist 0005 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

After that, the master himself was about to paint me.

naturist 0008 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

It took him a moment to get an idea,

naturist 0009 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

and shortly, a black pattern was emerging on my chest.

naturist 0010 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

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.

naturist 0011 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

After we were done with painting, it was the time for photo shoots.

naturist 0006 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

Needless to say, most of the audience loved it, someone provided his skateboard as a stage for one of our models.

naturist 0015 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

I’m not generally into posing, but the fellow model Sky got me inspired.

naturist handstand 0018 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

When else could I do a naked handstand at Times Square? I didn’t want to miss that opportunity!

naturist 0012 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

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?

naturist 0013 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

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.

naturist 0014 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

And could there be any better place for that than Times Square?

naturist 0016 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

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.)

naturist 0017 body paint art, Times Square, New York, NY, USA

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!

Body painting again and again :-)

Body painting seems to be a nudist party activity du jour. Almost every nudist party provides body paint as a part of their program, and there are some that are dedicated to it specifically. I went to one of the events organised by Social Exposure Media in NYC a month ago, and as always body painting proved to be a great tool for socialising and exposing [love to] our bodies.

Unlike previous parties that I’ve been to, this event provided paint that glowed in the dark! in black light, that is. Body art is not difficult to make intriguing and entertaining, it’s just fun to decorate bodies, but glow-in-the-dark effect makes it surreal!

Maybe this video will be able to show the atmosphere.

Now, there is body paint event on Halloween at SoHo Gallery for Digital Art. That might solve your costume problem! I just hope the city will be fine after Frankenstorm. And I guess people will be even more eager to go out and party! Just sign up, show up and show off! It is a ‘bare as you dare’ event.

Black light body paint party in NYC tomorrow + a couple of announcements

Tomorrow, the Gallery Bar in East Village will once again turn into naked dance and body paint extravaganza. I’ve been to a couple of their previous events, and they were a lot of fun. This time it’s going to be a little crazier, as the paint will be glowing in the dark!

Curiously, these events are organised by Social Exposure Media, which isn’t a nudist group, but they manage to get a good turnout of happy naked people, I bet many of whom are first-timers. The webpage with info of the party is courtesy of Young Naturists America, however.

I also would like to add that my silence in the last weeks was mainly due to two amazing travels, which will definitely make several excellent entries for this blog😉 One of them, as you can guess from my previous announcements, was of course Burning Man. Meanwhile, my friend Juan finally got his first blogpost published, congratulations! Soon we’ll add English translation.

Stay tuned!

Naked Spring Bash with Florida Young Naturists

This post was actually about to be published in my old blog, but right when I clicked the ‘publish’ button, Google suddenly deleted my blog… irrevocably. Well, enough complaining, now the blog is back, and several months after the first attempt this post is finally out! It is actually a good time, because Florida Young Naturists group has just announced (through their Facebook page, their website is not updated) the next Naked Spring Bash in April this year. So here is the original text, I leave it unchanged:

One of the reasons why I haven’t posted last weeks was because Joe visited me, and we went to South Florida for few days and had a lot of naked fun in the sun. We actually spent most of our time there naked: the CouchSurfing hosts we stayed with were also nudists, we went to the famous Haulover Beach (that is where the World Record Skinny-Dip took place) and got a chance to swim in the buff in a couple of other places, but most strikingly we visited a nudist colony Sunsport Gardens for the Naked Spring Bash organized by Florida Young Naturists. I came across their website a couple of years ago and thought it would be fantastic to join the group of naked peers that organized numerous fun events. I was reminded about FYN once again at the Nude Year’s Eve, as two of its members were there as well. The program for the Naked Spring Bash sounded really cool and after the long and cold winter we were craving for the sun and warmth, so it was amazing that Joe and I could go there together.

Too bad we didn’t get in this video, but they’re right, you can do all kind of fun things there!

The event included all kinds of activities.

I loved the drum circle around the fire on the first night. There was a dozen of drummers and other people were dancing around the fire. I got a frame drum of pandeiro type, the same as we use in capoeira, which I practice, so I could play and dance at the same time. And of course there was body art.

Joe got Sun and Moon from me,

but he took an easy path and “painted” handprints on me🙂

Spring Bash participant were given a free spot for camping by the pond, and when we woke up, we got a chance to meet a couple of its friendly dwellers.

Then we went for a walk around the gardens with beautiful tropical and subtropical plants.

The tiny island in the pond was quite picturesque. Then there was some pool time and lunch, naked lunch of course. I was disappointed though, that they mostly provided fast-food and served it on single-use ware. I’d expect a naturist venue to be at the frontier of health- and eco-consciousness.

In the afternoon, there was a short excursion through the bit of tropical forest that belonged to Sunsport Gardens. We were very pleased to find this forest with many native plants of South Florida, and we went there on our own a couple of times again.

In a couple of places there were tables and benches, so you could have a quiet lunch in the forest as well.

The plants were diverse, there were some bamboos, but most of the forest was pine and palm trees,

some of which we tried to climb.

As to the Spring Bash itself, there were also volleyball matches, sauna, disco… but we were too busy enjoying it to take pictures😉

On the last day of the Spring Bash, most of the people went to Haulover Beach.

But besides having nice company at the beach, when we went for a swim we were accompanied by a school of small fish… Either they mistook us for their parents or thought we’d simply provide them shelter from sharks🙂

In any case, they followed us for half an hour!

I was quite surprised to find out that Haulover Beach was just one of two official clothing-optional beaches in South Florida.

But when we were driving around we found a couple of secluded spots in mangrove forests, where we went skinny-dipping too.

Kiev: central nudist beaches with landmark views

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Last summer I rediscovered the capital of my homeland, Ukraine. I’ve spent most of my adult life outside Ukraine, in Moscow, Berlin and now New York, all of which have accessible naturist beaches, so I was pleased to find that Kiev has its own beautiful naturist beaches in the very centre of the city! Kiev boasts the mighty Dnieper River with some forested islands, that are luckily protected and not used for mansions of the nouveau riche. A couple of neighboring clothing-optional beaches at Hydropark (Gidropark) are located most centrally and have pretty amazing views.

This is how it looks from the bridge on the way from Gidropark subway station.

You cannot really see if it is a nudist beach at the other bank of the river, but trust me, it is! So after the bridge you need to continue till one of the typical city style beaches and take a “canoe-ferry” for 5 hryvnias (approx. 50 cents); from there, you can already see where you should head to😉

First time I went there on a weekday, so it was relatively empty, and I stayed at the part known as a local gay beach, as my friend advised (he was at work that day).

It was nice and relaxing, except that the music from the opposite beach bar was quite loud, but I actually liked it. It is also possible to go a little upstream and find some small secluded spots.

There is a shaded kiosk where you can buy beverages without having to put on clothes. In the afternoon, I decided to explore the area a little more and went to the southern tip of the island, and it turned out to be clothing-optional too!

I actually liked that part more, as it was more spacious and had a great view with some of Kiev’s landmarks: Motherland monument, Kiev Pechersk Lavra (monastery), and a restaurant styled as Noah’s Ark.

So when I went to Gidropark beach next time with my friends Sergey and Sveta, we headed directly to the tip part. I couldn’t resist mocking the Motherland monument by posing with a bottle of water instead of the sword and a frisbee instead of the shield🙂

Although the day was going to be fabulous even with those regular attributes of naturist pastime, it turned to be even more fun as someone brought body paint and anyone willing was welcome to join the body art frenzy!

Since it actually was the Independence Day, main themes were quite patriotic and Ukraine-inspired. I had our coat of arms (trident) painted on my chest, but frankly, Sergey did not do a great job, so you can hardly see it on photos.

Sergey himself had sunflowers painted saying ‘Support homegrown’, which referred to Ukraine being the biggest exporter of sunflower oil.


Sveta had hearts colored as the national flag and altogether looked very artistic.

And Petya was arguably the most popular model with the watermelon painted on his buttocks :p The “price-tag” said that the watermelon was sold at 2 hryvnias per hour (whatever that meant!) and that it did not contain GMO🙂


Having a real knife in the not-so-real watermelon, Petya was probably the most daring model too!

On the other (literally) side, the Independence Day was taken also ironically, as despite the patriotic spirits, it was clear that the country was facing too many troubles.

So instead of wishing a Happy Independence Day, it read ‘Happy Inability Day’, as Ukraine is hardly able to cope with its economic challenges (I could translate it as ‘impotence’ as well, but I assure that is not our problem).

But on such a day, it was hard to think of anything gloomy, so the optimistic side took over!