This was the second project that I had worked on with Spirit of the Senses, an arts and cultural organization based in Phoenix that provides a forum for creative dialogue and artistic expression. The performances, talks, films and discussions they offer are called salons. My salon was based on bodypainting fashions.
Although the actual show started at 7:00pm, I started my first bodypainting session with model Sarah Bowers that afternoon at 3:00pm. This was the first time that I had worked with Sarah who was referred to my by photographer Paris Troy. She is a stunning model and an absolute gem to work with (note-she later became Miss November in Playboy Magazine in 2006, congrats Sarah). Her bodypainting is based on a Mardi Gras mask made with peacock feathers and also includes the street sign for Bourbon Street.
Next up was Olivia "Brooke" Womack who was referred to me by photographer Jim Goodwin. Brooke had worked with some of the top photographers in town. Her bodypainting was an extension of the liquid latex swimsuit motif that I have been working on for Swimsuit Illustrated Magazine. The suit was painted on with only black latex paint and then dusted with gold powder for design and the zippers are both real and "glued" on with paint.
Once these two were painted, it was off to the show at a Phoenix photography studio where a crowd of about 40 people had assembled for my bodypainting demonstration. I started by giving a narrative description of several 18"X24" enlargements of some of my favorite bodypaintings and then brought Sarah and Brooke up on the stage to display the bodypaintings and explain the techniques that I had used.
Next up was the first of two live demonstrations with my friend Kay Kochman who has worked with me on four previous bodypaintings (most notably the Queen playing cards). I had originally planned on painting her all silver and then painting a black latex top on her, but the silver paint that I bought didn't work quite as well as I had hoped. I asked her if she had any ideas of what she would like to have painted on her and she chose a flower vase similar to the painting with Alison. Kay bought the vase of flowers and while the crowd watched, I painted them on Kay and took questions from the audience. Once complete, Kay went to another part of the studio to be photographed by Don Crossland while I moved on to the fourth model.
Brandi McBride had contacted me a couple of weeks before the event about doing a bodypainting session. She wasn't sure if she would be available for this show until the last minute, but fortunately she was. The idea behind her painting was based on the collar, bow tie, and cuffs worn by Playboy bunnies, but was expanded to include pockets and buttons instead of the bunny bustier and a top hat. This was Brandi's first time to be bodypainted and she never thought it would be in front of such a large audience. She handled it quite nicely and was great to work with.
Overall it was a great experience for me and I am very thankful to the four models who offered their time for this event. Photographer Don Crossland also played a major role in this project as the first two paintings were completed at his studio and he also did additional photography for all of the models. His shots will most likely be available soon on his site at www.sexycrazycool.com . Thanks also to organization for including me in their line-up of events and to the people at the photography studio for hosting the event.
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Unless noted otherwise, Photography and Artwork by Mark Greenawalt c2002
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