Monday, December 14, 2009

Exploration in Body Painting + a few words on nudity and Breasts

I had one hell of a weekend, thats for sure.
On Saturday Danny and I went to T.Ruth Art space to set up the area for the photo shoot that we had planned for Sunday. I was going to be meeting a model that answered a craigslist post on being a live nude body painting model for my art project. On Sunday the model and I met at the gallery at 12 and got right to work. I began with her face:
Painting Ann
Here we are in the back of T.Ruth artspace sitting by the heater and doing the first embellishments. We started with the face and worked out way down to her legs.
Painting Ann
The gallery was open to the public as I was painting and photographing her. T.Ruth had some local musicians playing and she was serving hot coco to all that came in.
This was my first time ever doing a full body painting and while it was a bit nerve racking to be doing it in public i think that my inspiration was fueled by the art space and all the wonderful people there. It was such a supportive atmosphere.
Chelsea Rose body painting
Ann the model was so amazing and patient. I started painting her body at 12pm and didn't finish untill 3:30pm. Then I photographed her till around 5:00pm. It was a long day but i am super excited to announce that the shoot was an absolute success and i cant wait to show you the finished photos.

....So here is one that I retouched and posted last night before I went to bed:
Goddess in all of Us
( please click to full view this photo)
So thats a taste of whats to come.

I cant wait to show you a full body stunning.
I shot all these photos in color knowing that I would upload them onto my computer and change them to high contrasting black and white. I really am thrilled with the way they came out. Its a very exciting thing to have an idea for so long and then to finally actualize it!
So i will be uploading more of these photos from the shoot as soon as i have time to convert them to black and white. So stay tuned if youd like to see more.
Onto another note i wanted to share an email correspondence i had this morning. This person had emailed me with a question that i have answered all my life about my art so i thought i would share it on my blog.
This is the email I read this morning:

"Hi Chelsea,
I found my way to your blog tonite via flickr, and started reading it. I noticed your Craigslist ad for a model. I have a bit of a bone to pick with you, if you don't mind:-) I am 60. I was a feminist in the 60's, and still am. While your work is excellent technically, I really question all the breasts. I don't know that I would call someone drawing basically male fantasies a feminist. Of course you disagree, and I would love to hear what you have to say. I mean no disrespect. I just wonder if you are aware of feminist history and all that women before you have gone thru in order to NOT be portrayed this way. So, go ahead and explain to me why I'm all wet!!
-annoymous "

This was my response:

" Dear anonymous,
Thanks for your email and your thoughts on the subject. I have been given crap for the boobs I have draw since I was 5 years old( I am now 22) so I am used to it and understand that in this world our bodies, our sexual organs, our nakedness is something to be feared for some reason. My Aunt always laughed saying the first thing I ever drew were big boobed mermaids...its something I have done unconsciously, unintentionally all my life so I feel its a part of who I am and in many ways I feel guided with my artwork by the spirits, faery, natural spirits that be since my artwork is not so much planned but done on the spur of the moment. These goddess, faery women just jump right out of me onto the paper. why cloth and hide away their truth with bras and shirts and underwear?
I grew up around a lot of powerful women as well as in many clothing optional, nudist communities. I was raised early on practicing earth majick and the worship of mother earth, the goddess and the natural powers that be and was always very fascinated by the big breasted wide hipped symbol of the Goddess and I feel a lot of the figures I draw are very much inspired by that symbol. I think its a very un feminist thing for one to say that beautiful boobs in all their various shapes and sizes could be only what you call " male fantasies". I think its important as woman to take back the image of the female body...take it back for ourselves, explore our selves, our flaws, our shapes and truly cherish our breasts, our vaginas, our clavicle bones, our eyes, our lips...everything. What you see in my artwork is a young woman's exploration of her spirituality and her love of female endowments. If you find that offensive I apologize and know that you have not been the first to be upset by it. But breasts for me are a feminine symbol of creation. We grow them lush so that when we create life we can nourish it and thus they are sacred organs that I offer tribute to in my paintings. I will always be fascinated by breasts and I will continue to paint them whether I paint them perky, limp, long nippled, or lopsided.
Also, I think there is not one way to define a feminist and not every woman will be the same kind of feminist as the next. Labels should not have a set definition in my mind because nothing in this entire world is that predictable. You are an older woman and so I have respect for your plight and your perspectives since you are my elder but I would hope that you open your eyes, your mind because everything changes, including these things we call movements. If they didn’t change, grow and morph with each generation then there would be lil progress in the world and the collective conscious. so I hope you and the others that have issues with the nudity in my artwork stop seeing breasts as a profane sexual thing and start seeing them as a symbol for divine life, creation and giving...and let yourself feel empowered when you look upon my artwork...feel moved by my interpretation of the beauty of the female figure and not shamed by it because that is what man has done to our image in our minds and the only way to break that wall down is to change the way we think and feel about ourselves, our body and the image of naked women and our various parts.
Best wishes and much love,
-Chelsea Rose. "

.....I thought this was a good way to share my thoughts on the nude aspects of my paintings on my blog. Im interested to hear more opinions and interpretations, although I must admit I am saddened that my work can be seen as some half brain erotica bullshit because I feel its far from that. However I recognize that art is a personal thing and we have a different view/perspective then each other and I wouldn't have it any other way. Still, it can be disheartening to find that the nude aspects of my work not only offends people but hinders me from displaying and selling my art work at various art fairs, galleries and websites.
But this is what i create and i have never ever thought to censor myself and im not about to start doing it now, even if it ment me being more successful by reaching a bigger demographic/audience with my work.

It is what it is.

That's all the words I have for today.

Peace n Love
-Chelsea Rose


  1. I am so sad I couldn't be there for your performance. I would have loved to have seen you at work. I can understand what the woman from craigslist meant but I thought you voiced your inspirations and intent very well.

  2. I forget how I came here (a link to a link to a link, etc) and I'm not familiar with your work so I browsed through a little after reading this post.

    It's interesting that breasts have become SO sexualized that just seeing some is a big deal. Think of all the drama surrounding public breastfeeding - it's not sexual in any way but everybody freaks about it. I appreciate your work because I don't think it's "half brain erotica bullshit" at all -- it's just some ladies (or lady-creatures, as the case may be) doing their thing, totally unconcerned about who's looking at them. I love how relaxed they all seem to be. That sort of frankness and openness is exactly what we need more of - the fact that any breasts, regardless of context, is automatically a "male fantasy" just indicates how far we are from owning our own bodies. Either we're flaunting it for them or hiding it from them. I agree that we need to reclaim our bodies for ourselves -- perhaps we can never escape the male gaze, but we can at least have our own motivations for once.

    Sorry for the rambly comment, I just think this is an interesting subject! Thanks for posting!

  3. Wow that is so cool and such a great idea. I would be so nervous painting on someone, but the experience had to be so wonderful. The photo above came out so beautiful.

  4. Thanks much for the feedback Megan and Julia.

    ChloroFluoro- your words of wisdom were especially appreciated.
    You are so right...Its high time women reclaim our bodies, our image for ourselves and bare it with regal, powerful grace and love with not a trace of shame!
    Lets cherish the Goddess in All of US.
    -Chelsea Rose

  5. I love that you did these photo's. They are awesome. I saw them the other day and have been wanting to let you know that I've been waiting for you to do this, and am so glad that you have. Your response to the lady was spot on. I remember having a conversation with you about that subject one day at ASW. I don't know if you do. It makes me glad to see that women can be comfortable with their bodies, and that you are showing how we aren't just sexualized objects.

  6. Rebecca!
    Thanks for your comment. I know i am a lil late in responding- i somehow missed this comment.
    but, YES! i totally remember that conversation.
    ...Im glad you like the photos thus far- i am hoping to photograph 10 women of various sizes and ethnicity.
    so far i have only done 2 but i will be shooting another one this weekend on Sunday!
    Wish me luck and thanks so much for the support.
    it means a lot coming from you cuz you are such a warrior woman.
    much love, always!