At a family gathering when I was five or so, one of my aunts collected lipstick, eye shadow and liner from guests and painted the face, legs and arms of an attendee that had lots of leg and arm exposed. Everyone got their cameras out to snap photos as she posed for the crowd. Over the years, most photographs that made an impression involved body art of some sort. During college, I dreaded figure painting and drawing classes because I wasn't very good at it and didn't have the patience to learn. I sat through many loooong classes thinking it would be more interesting to paint on the people instead of paper or canvas. Finally I've gotten around to trying it out.
I decided to photograph painted people during the fall of 2000. The idea was to have three models painted by three artists. I would photograph all of them on the same generic white background with changes in lighting to capture the mood created by the art and model. I found a handful of models and artists willing to give it a whirl and commenced the project February 2001. One artist, the late Alex Mattison, was too ill to keep his paint dates so I filled in at the last moment. My initial efforts were rather bad but now I've had time to play with paints and figure out what to do. I've done a lot more painting, worked with more artists and experimented with different paints since then. The project has taken on a life of its own.
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