San Francisco-based body painter Trina Merry has created a series of scenes that blend nude bodies into New York City landscapes such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Guggenheim Museum, Empire State Building, Central Park and the New York City skyline. Due to Merry’s fine attention to detail and composition, the painter’s subjects seamlessly disappear into their surrounding environments.
Of her medium, Merry writes, “My surface is living, breathing human beings making this a highly relevant & immediate medium. I use non-toxic hypoallergenic paint applied with a brush or airbrush. The painting is temporary, like a Tibetan sand painting, beginning to change into another work as soon as I stop painting, changing texture & color.”
Merry has an impressive portfolio of projects on her site, including the Human Motorcycle Project, a project which entailed painting bodies to look like motorcycles. (via visual news)
Australian artist Kristy Milliken knows nudity. A former photographer in the amateur porn industry, she became inured to capturing images of stereotypically attractive, thin women on film and moved to paper and ink and a new point of view.
“We see skinny women everywhere. I always forced ‘flaws’ into any of the skinny women I painted, the bigger ladies are what they evolved into. Something far more interesting, of course different pieces have different intent behind them, but there’s a naivety to them. An unaffectedness that I aspire to in my own life. I draw them as beautiful because I think they are.” Source
Milliken’s ink drawings are adorably subversive. The women are gorgeously fat, rosy and delicious. They look luscious, like ripe fruit, plump and sweet. Round tummies, thick thighs, heavy breasts, all kissed with pink and purple, topped with adorable round cheeked faces. They’re sexy, these large women, bound and gagged, smoking and eating, covered with food. The whimsical execution contrasts with the overtly sexual nature of the work.
“It’s a weird time for fat. Fat is both confronting and can be the most normal thing in the world, It’s the context that’s important. Plus I’m sick of all the pictures of skinny girls that seem to be everywhere.” Source
According to the artist, the themes of greed and beauty reoccur in her work, paired in an unusual way. Luxuriant pasta cascades over the women, sating and draping and entangling them. But despite her claim that these images are about avarice, the images feel affirming, even charming.
Body positive art can sometimes be confrontational, taking a focused, warts and all approach. Asserting that she’s not attempting to be political, Milliken’s work feels joyous and sweet— a light perspective on a weighty subject.
French photographer William Farges‘ series “White Line” features surreal reflections of body angles, parts, and positions. Farges creates new shapes and figures by placing the reflections of nude bodies side by side, representing a continuity of form that is both startling and elegant. The series is, of course, named for the white line that dissects his diptychs – an element that emphasizes the new forms’ symmetry as a product of an inversion. These forms reach and pull into each other, appearing as if each could disappear into the other. Farges’ images are Rorschach-like deconstructions that are smooth and round and contained. “White Line” is the result of another series of Farges that similarly deconstructs and reimagines the human form, “Chimera.” (via feature shoot)
Around three years ago, Brooklyn-based photographer Lauren Renner began her project, “In Others’ Words,” a series that captures the vulnerability with which people self-identify. During a period of transition wherein Renner began to date women, the photographer started to notice people treating her differently, trying to categorize or label her because of her sexuality, even though she didn’t feel like a fundamentally different person. She found this observation fascinating and she began to wonder how others were stereotyped in accordance with their bodies and relationships. Renner’s project captures these intimacies by shooting her subjects in open, public spaces as well as having her subjects become vulnerable to strangers, allowing them to inscribe stereotyped descriptors onto each others’ naked bodies.
Renner says, “When it comes down to it, no matter who is labeling you, all of those words and constructs become a mish-mash inside of you, and seem to inform each other. Words carry a tremendous amount of power, which is why breaking away from some and holding onto others can feel so insurmountable. On the flip side of that coin, I think people tend to become very comfortable in the ways in which they categorize others, to the point where they may not even be aware that they’re doing it in the first place. ”
After all, at the end of the day we put people into boxes because subconsciously it makes them easier for us to mentally digest. Seeing people view my work for the first time was a huge experience for me because I got to see how people reacted when the boxes they were accustomed to had been taken away.”
Argentinean artist Gabriel Grun paints in a style similar to the Renaissance and Baroque masters, but his work is charged with a subdued eroticism that produces a surreal effect. Grun paints the human body, often foregrounding them in natural landscapes, combining mythological and contemporary elements. Many of his human figures are contorted or shaped into grotesque or bestial shapes and poses – these distortions and manipulations could appear disturbing, but because Grun is so technically skilled at composing these eccentricities, they are merely curious and offer a contemporary and sexually-charged spin on a classical style. (via hi fructose)
Photographer Jeremy Ayer and graphic designer Julien Mercier have been collaborating on a series of photographs titled “Aude” that feature a nude female exploring, or used as a decoration in, a large mansion. In some of the photographs, the female body appears to be on ornamental display, almost doll-like, and contrasted with some of the other objects on display in the mansion. Despite her nude body, the photographs are shot in such a way as to leave the female figure shrouded in a bit of mystery.
“With her pale skin, her slender body, she represents a certain ideology of beauty, as dictated by contemporary magazines. But paradoxically, the raw image remains in a direct visual language, not constrained by any commercial obligations. There is no digital manipulation which would withdraw all of her natural eroticism. In the same process, the statues whth their perfectly carved silouhettes, oppose with her curves left intact. The brutal and frontal lighting, exposes here entire body. But always fleeting, she remains inaccessible to the viewer, out of reach, in height.” (via ignant)
Mark Twain once noted, “Man is the only animal that blushes, or needs to”, indicating more than just a lack of fur separates us from our fellow mammals. Swiss photographer Vicky Althaus is known for taking risks to achieve unique scenes for capture, but her newest series offers something even more primal.
Going beyond setting the human body in a natural environment, Althaus has set her subject in what appears to be the familiar scene of a natural history museum. This combination, rather than simply pairing a model with live or taxidermied animals in a more natural state, calls into question our ideas of conservation, our relationship to animals, as well as our relationship to our own bodies. Offering very little titillation, the model’s nudity mirrors the animals, though the interaction appears off-putting, enhanced by the dimly lit room and drab staging. Perhaps the most interesting observation is that the nude model, merely stopping in and solely as a visitor, appears as unnatural as the stuffed animals that are meant to portray some example of our natural world. (via juxtapoz)
Cecelia Webber‘s collage work features tessellated figures and limbs of the human body arranged to form images of plants and animals. Webber photographs nude models – including herself – in various poses before she digitally edits the images, cutting and coloring them to form particular parts of the new image. The final product features different bodies and body parts posed in the same positions. Many of the pieces take months to finish, but the longest image – the rose – took her a year to complete because of how tricky the angles were to capture and arrange. Webber creates an image with such a high resolution that they can be printed up to 6 feet tall, a size that would make the tessellated bodies even more pronounced and captivating.
“Each image takes many stages to create. I start by researching photos of the creature or plant I’m trying to create and then sketch poses I want to photograph in a notebook…I never warp my models or edit them to change them – it is important to me to portray real natural bodies. Once I have my photos I start laying out my piece and playing with colour and arrangements…Many drastic transformations take place during this stage, so it’s sort of magical, because so many different variations are possible. I feel many possibilities at once but the true form of my subject slowly emerges.” (via daily mail)