Sunday, August 3, 2014

The First Annual New York Body Painting Day #NYBPD

It's been a long time since I've been active on this blog, but I think it's time to get on with modeling full-time again. The most recent I did was for New York Body Painting Day in Central Park and Times Square. Artist Michelle Heffner requested my presence there, and we got to collaborate for the second time (I really hate being painted most of the time, but she's a joy to work with). While there were several negative instances throughout the day, and people's online responses are generally somewhat hateful, I would overall categorize it as a positive experience. Here are some photos from the event:

© Michael A. Clubine 

Photo by Zoominn Photography
Photo by Carlos Gutierrez

Hilarity. lol 

Our unifying goal for the event was the theme "Faces." My stepmother passed away 7 weeks ago and I wanted to honor her. She loved clocks and clocks have faces. The clock time is the time I received the phone call with the news of her death. The drips remind me of tears. The model's face is a mask that hides how we feel on the inside during times of trouble, but the tears run through our fingers no matter how hard we try to contain them. And everything is tied together with how ephemeral the art of body painting is and how fleeting our time on this earth is as well. We only have so much time, which is echoed in the faces of the clocks. 
Photo by Nicko Ferguson

I find it tragic the way people treat nudity, especially in the U.S. There is no doubt that sex and nudity are inextricably linked... Artistic intention does not negate sexuality; no matter how much of a figure study it is, there is almost always going to be a connection present besides vision and light. As an artist, I am very good at compartmentalizing the duality of nudity. But there is definitely something to be said for the innocence in it as well. To walk carefree, without shame. To claim my body in its fullness, without any invisibility -- that is what I appreciate most in my own nudity (not nakedness). I made a very big decision 6 years ago, to never take my youth for granted. It's one of the few things I can confidently say that I don't. Even so, it's just as important to show the beauty in aging, and I have no intention in stopping -- ever. I was surprised to see so many commenters accusing my fellow models of exhibitionism, when the experience was so far from sexual for me. My own experiences have taught me that the presence of fullblown exhibitionism is only partway true.

This is the first time I experienced shame in my nudity in a very long time. I don't often do this kind of modeling in public, and I thought it would be a very telling experience... It most definitely was, and the equation is clearer than it's ever been: You deny my humanity in its truest, most vulnerable form. I internalize the shame, not in your absence of having any, but of your failure to acknowledge it. Except, it must also be taken into account that I'm not going to blame myself for the world being this way. I can pretend it's simple, and say that it shouldn't be. The reality is, it's just easier to tend to myself. I will continue to anticipate respect, clothed or not, whether granted or not. I have many jobs, but it's not mine to bend over backwards (or forwards, for that matter) to make men respect me. And if you want to call me ridiculous, step up and tell these kinds of men to stop (every time), and I will change my opinion. No way in hell can I please everyone.  


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