Fueled by his reverence for the natural world, the Northern Utah-based artist and photographer John Poppleton paints fluorescent landscapes onto the backs of nude bodies with temporary pigments. Photographing his models under backlight, he constructs starry nighttime constellations that conform to the curves of the female silhouette. As a commercial photographer with a passion for fantasy, Poppleton incorporates his masterful painting in this “Black Light Bodyscapes” series. Each piece takes a few hours to complete, and many of them are personalized or custom-made for his subject; one painting includes a teepee to honor its model’s Native American heritage, and the mountainscapes that are visible from Poppleton’s own window make numerous appearances.
Poppleton’s mesmerizing work is both current and timeless. While echoing the electrifying aesthetic of techno raves and the like, it also maintains ancient themes. Like mythologies surrounding the figure of the Mother Earth, the “Black Light Bodyscapes” tie the female to the natural world. In a manner reminiscent of the story of the ancient Greek goddess Gaia, the planet seems to spring forth from a fertile well of female power. Here, as with folklore surrounding the deities of Greece, Europe, Asia, and Africa, the silhouetted woman becomes equated with the moon and the lunar calendar; in darkness, she lights the way, delighting the eye with an irresistible shine. Dotted with radiant celestial bodies, backlight painting may be seen as a sort of divination, reminding us of the splendor of nature that we too often forget in this modern age. Take a look. (via My Modern Met)