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The Documentary: Art As Air Covers NYC’s 3rd Annual Bodypainting Day

andymodel

When I began to body paint, I first heard about Andy Golub when my mother handed me an article from the Daily News and said, “this one’s about some guy who’s getting arrested because he’s trying to paint full-out naked women in the middle of Times Square. You’d probably like him.” In his journey as an artist, Andy stepped up, fought the legal system, and won for everyone. Andy stood up for body painters everywhere and defended the legality of being nude in public in New York City if said nudity is attached to an art project.

 

 

Bringing attention to the dignity of such an art form as body painting, Art As Air decided to create a documentary covering this year’s 3rd Annual Bodypainting Day in NYC, which was on July 9th this past weekend. Bodypainting Day is an event created and organized by Andy Golub that shares living art in moving canvases with the wider community, which has reached worldwide attention. Brussels and Amsterdam are signed up for their own Bodypainting Days this year under Andy’s direction, and interest is growing in the States as well. It’s a day that celebrates color and freedom, art and the beauty of the human body, and natural expression and creativity.

 

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Photo taken by April Anderson.

 

When I went down to Ripley Studios a few weeks ago to get filmed for an interview for the documentary, I got a chance to speak to two members of the Art As Air triad—April Anderson and Vathaska Cross—and they told me a little about how they became interested in this living art event. April found Andy in Columbus Circle doing his first Bodypainting Day three years ago with only about 20 artist/ models. Art As Air then followed the event last year, which increased to 100 models and 70 artists. Fascination with this art form is growing rapidly as Andy’s Artitorial on their website has only been up for a little over a year and has over 370,000 views. Because of its increasing momentum in the art community, this year Art As Air decided to cover Bodypainting Day in a documentary platform, which they plan to bring to a film festival. Lots of sound bites and quick action cuts will make it a rich experience for all who want to learn more about this artistic medium.

 

Click to take a look at a clip I’m in from the documentary:

Art As Air Shortz: Jennifer Siciliano

 

Team Art As Air has its own story about their passionate creativity and how they came together.  Spear-headed by April Anderson, who was looking to create an innovative artistic project about two years ago, the team’s mission is to tell the story of passion behind each artist they profile. What motivates Art As Air is their desire to explore the wide range of reasons people choose to follow their artistic passion in the chosen medium that speaks to them.  One day April said, “I have to do something that illustrates how I feel about art. It’s almost like a study of who else feels this way and what drives it. What drives the passion and why do we have to or die.” Art As Air came to April as a name to illustrate that for an artist, art is as essential as the air we breathe. “I couldn’t exist without it. I’ve tried to exist without it, and it was miserable so I ran back to it.”

Art As Air’s artistic profiles have given attention to a wide range of passionate creative folk –covering everything from performance art and the circus arts to composers and street artists. One of their first profiles was Desmond Child— Grammy Award-winning songwriter, who was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He’s had 70 Top 40 singles—songs that have sold over 300 million albums worldwide—and wrote hits for dozens of famous musicians including Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, and Kiss.

 

Iicelandn the process of creating a profile, Art As Air is dedicated to immersing themselves in the artists’ work in order to tell the story. For instance, when doing a profile on Swedish Viking tattoo artist, C. Olaf Hognell, who illustrates Nordic based looks, some of his masterful ink was tatted on April. Having a passion for Iceland, she didn’t mind going as far as to get her first tattoo on camera for the profile. It’s an Icelandic compass in the form of a Vegvisir and is stunning.

 

 

 

 

The team’s three dedicated developers are artists themselves. Also a singer/songwriter, April’s main medium is photography, and as a youth, she would shoot all her friends’ prom pictures and portraits for their yearbook. Later on she wished to detail the intimate aspects of the world, just getting into the nitty gritty of what the world really looks like. I was lucky enough to have April come by my station on Bodypainting Day to film some follow-up footage of my work for the documentary. The following are photographs taken by April Anderson:

 

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Another integral part of the Art As Air team is April’s husband, Martin Chytil, who is their web designer and music supervisor. With a varied creative background himself, he’s a talented bass-player who toured with bands down South until he was about thirty. This artistic threesome also includes Vathaska Cross, who’s the main go-to production guy, handling many of the varied components that help bring the projects together. A metal musician, Vathaska sings in a four-octave range in anything from rock and roll to classical music. As a visual artist, he uses the mediums of colored and graphic pencils. He’s also a luthier—a guitar maker. He would tinker with guitars, turning screws and messing around with all the guitars he had, which led to him becoming more and more knowledgeable at it, to building them on his own. Says Vathaska, “When I actually get involved with something it makes me feel present…. Be it classical music, be it a broken piece of wood on the floor…when you make something out of it you’re really judging the scope of what it is, and you’re understanding it and you’re also communicating with it, and you have to just almost see what it is, and just kind of bring it out of it…Because that’s the goal, the end game always comes…The more you do it, the more you know. It feeds you.”

trioInterestingly, April met Vathaska at a fang shop in the Village. A few years ago, April was doing a project called The Littlest Vampire—a series of six graphic novels—and needing some fangs, she went down to the shop where she met Vathaska as he was getting fangs put on his bass guitar. She tossed her idea out to Vathaska, that she wanted to do this project with video interviews and photography, which would put together profiles of people who are creative. Says April, “Create like a network, even, of artists…a good display of how people create…almost like a life thesis.”  Vathaska hopped on the opportunity and put it out to 25 of his friends, who helped them develop the first couple of profiles to get them going. They’ve been going head-on strong ever since with their development.

Says Vathaska, “One of the things that makes it tenaciously unique is the fact that when we shoot, when we do everything, it’s almost done with wine in hand, I suppose. We don’t go about it trying to monetize it and really put it out there to make a business out of it…. We do it on our days off and in our free time so that we can immerse ourselves in the art and see where it can take us…it doesn’t really feel like a project for us. If you love something, it doesn’t feel like labor….ya gotta love it.”

What they have found is that the creative community is a small world and somehow many of the artists and their connections are somehow interrelated in a huge creative network, overlapping each other. What they are doing is important because in their helping such a network thrive, they are making sure that artists have somewhere to connect, express ourselves and grow. It’s a new concept, which is commendable in today’s day and age where art often takes a backseat. A lot of us artists are not taken as seriously as in other kinds of professions. Taking time to study and communicate the creative process of artists is a grand move in the right direction for our society at large. April surmised, “There are not many opportunities that are given to people just out of good will and that’s what our project is…our project is a love project. A passion project.”

On their website they mention how the late artist Zina Lahr once labeled the compelling need to make new art as a “Creative Compulsive Disorder.” And if there was ever a label I could exactly embrace, it would be that one.

Check out their website with amazing profiles on many artists who have a strong voice that the world needs to hear, by clicking on the pic below which lead’s to Art As Air’s website:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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