Recap of NYC Bodypainting Day 2015 With YNA & Andy Golub
Nude Body Painting Day – It was a gray, humid Saturday morning on July 18, 2015 as we woke up and started getting ready for Bodypainting Day. On the way to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, a thunderstorm hit and the skies opened up with heavy rain.
The forecast kept changing, but that wasn’t going to stop us from getting naked and painted! After reassuring everyone the event was still on, we reached the plaza and began to set up.
By 11:30 am, people were getting signed in and entering the cordoned-off painting area. Artists were given 5 cakes of Kryolan body paint of all different colors and once model and artist were in place, the painting began!
Despite being in a much quieter part of town at 47th St / 2nd Ave (as opposed to Central Park last year), we still had a pretty large crowd of people spanning the length of the body painting area, all day long.
Some artists showed up with drawings of what they wanted to do. Others were more spontaneous and wanted to meet their model before making up their mind about what to paint.
As opposed to the “faces” art theme of last year’s Bodypainting Day, this year’s event took on the more altruistic theme of “What the World Needs Now…” The idea was for artists to freely interpret the theme however they understood it – be it literally or otherwise. Some artists incorporated statements with actual words written across their paintings, others used recognizable figures, locations and so forth to convey their messages. That said, there were also paintings of abstract designs (like my own) that left the onlooker to decipher the meaning however they saw fit.
We also invited the public to respond to the event theme with a paper banner and markers taped to the ground in the plaza. Anyone could pick up a marker and write or draw their idea of what the world needs now. And there were some nice answers!
I would like to note that my official artist for the day was a good friend – Omer Golan. But painting me is not as easy as some may think, so we enlisted the help of mine and Jordan’s 7-year-old niece and 4-year-old nephew and what a great collaborative effort it was! Thank you, Omer, for being so awesome about having them help out!
I don’t have an exact count, but there were over 100 models. We had a list of registered models, plus some impromptu spontaneous volunteer models from the crowd. This was a noticeable difference from last year’s first ever Bodypainting Day where we had about 30 artists and 40 models. There was really so much interest leading up to this 2nd event that it could have easily been doubled in size. As for next year, at this rate, we may have an official NYC parade spanning 5 avenues.
At the registration gazebo, our body-positive banner displayed the message, “All bodies are works of art.” The models comprised a wide range of body types, shapes, sizes and genders. They were young, old, big, small, able-bodied and less able-bodied, male, female, transgender, and of different races. You couldn’t help but admire the beauty of the human form in all its diversity.
Just being naked like this in public, we were challenging society’s beauty standards. We were solidly and effectively rejecting the idea that only one type of body is “allowed” to be naked in a public way. We were rejecting the idea that there is one specific body type suitable for viewing as beautiful and / or sexy. We were just ourselves, in our basic form, proud and unashamed of who we are or what we look like.
At 4pm, it was time to finish up all the paintings and clean up. There was a whole plan for us to march down as a group to the United Nations building on 1st Avenue where we would get on the double decker buses for our ride through the streets of New York City. These plans were dashed, however, thanks to the fact that President Obama was in town and happened to be right in our neighborhood.
So we marched to 44th Street and 1st Avenue. Just as the buses were supposed to drive down to meet us, Obama’s police brigade was coming through. So we had to wait and thus couldn’t get the UN group shot we’d hoped for. (Thanks, Obama.) This also meant we had an abundance of NYPD officers with us as they had to follow a protocol. There were a few officers with us all day at the plaza as well, helping with security and they were very nice. From the bottom of our hearts – thank you NYPD – you were truly great!
After a bit of a wait, the buses arrived and both models and artists could finally board. All models went to the upper deck while most of the artists and photographers were on the bottom. We waved goodbye to the crowd of officers, friends and onlookers, and took off for the ride downtown. We reached 5th Avenue and took it straight down to the Lower East Side.
Along the way we stopped for group photos at the Atlas statue, the New York Public Library and Washington Square Park. Just like last year, there were many smiles and waves from the public who embraced our group of happy, painted, naked people that they just happened to see.
Not everyone was happy to see us however. Just like last year, there was one person we ran across who was upset over the nakedness. Just like last year, there was one angry religious person who told models they were going to hell. But for every one person who gets offended, there are a hundred more who absolutely love it. The haters were so very few and so far between that it made absolutely no dent in the joy that was being spread.
At Washington Square Park, something spontaneous and beautiful happened… As we made our way into the park under the big arch, a street musician — a talented saxophone player — was belting out tunes. The models had a natural reaction – we just started to dance! Here’s a short video below that Jordan shot of us joyously dancing to the music. Thank you, saxophone player, whoever you are! (As a side note, Jordan says the song he’s playing is “Snow” by RHCP, but I am not entirely convinced about that).
From Washington Square Park, we moved on to our last stop of the day – No Malice Palace (for the private after-party). We ate Two Bootz pizza and a few artists continued the body painting. (We were allowed to be nude for our private party.) The day’s events officially ended at 9:00 pm, though some people still had enough energy to stay and party through the night.
So ended an incredible, second-annual NYC Bodypainting Day. We would again like to thank all artists, models, volunteers, the city of New York, NYPD, supporters, sponsors and everyone who helped make NYBPD 2015 possible!
There has been some awesome press coverage in the last few days after the event, such as:
- Newsweek – Get to Know the Naked Models of NYC Bodypainting Day
- Gothamist – 100 Fully Naked People Get Bodies Painted, Then Head Over to the U.N.
- NY Observer – Naked in New York: Why More Of Us Are Taking It All Off
- NY Daily News Video Report
NEXT UP: The first ever Amsterdam Bodypainting Day on August 15th! We’d also like to mention that one of Andy’s beautiful NYBPD models and dedicated supporters, Kiki, is trying to raise money on Kickstarter so she can get to Bodypainting Day in Amsterdam. Help Kiki promote body love in Amsterdam and throw her a few bucks (or more)!
To learn more about Bodypainting Day and see a list of 2015 artists visit www.bodypaintingday.org.
In closing, I would just like to add this little rant: After an event like this, everyone enjoys posting and sharing photos on social media sites like Facebook. Only one problem: Facebook’s random censorship. “Nudity” is not allowed, but they do claim to make an exception for art. Only problem is, who decides what is art or not? The way Facebook purports itself to be an authority on this question is absurd. Based on their actions, it is also preposterous as their enforcement of censorship policies is wildly inconsistent. So when body painting photos get reported, sometimes they’re removed and sometimes they’re not. I’m in Facebook jail again because of some painted female nipples in a photo from the Village Voice.
Facebook is becoming increasingly outdated and unpopular because of their draconian and sexist censorship policies. I’ve had enough of their bullshit!
Ello, on the other hand, was kind enough to tell me that both me and my nipples are welcome there. Can we all do a mass migration to Ello?