Poppycock June/July 2014 - Page 11

M att Huntley explains to his model, Gretchen Leigh, how best to get the pasties to stick to her nipples. “I try to be very clinical when I’m talking to models, but this is going to sound like what it is: I need you to get them erect.” Matt and his assistant, Terra McGill, set up their workstation of paints on a folding card table in the basement studio of Purely Yours Photography in Gresham. Gretchen is lazily snapchatting and texting on the couch waiting. When Matt’s ready and all of her pasties are in the right place, she takes off her top and Matt begins painting in white the base of the designs on her bare body. It takes only about thirty minutes of white outlines and broad strokes of black and red before the novelty of blush-worthy semi-nudity wears off and you realize what you’re actually watching for the next five hours: paint drying. Matt works around Gretchen’s body again and again, creating layers as Terra fills in areas with black. Matt has a vision for the final work in his mind, but on this particular job that’s something only Matt can see. This isn’t his first rodeo. He’s been an artist of one kind or another for basically the entirety of his life. Whether it was watercolors, metal work, sculpting, woodworking, special effects make-up, if it could have been interpreted as art over the last 2,000 years; he’s probably done it. As he outlines and fills in shoulder, breast, and back with black; he explains that this is art to him. You just don’t see the girl. Matt has competed at bodypainting competitions, taking second place in Canada recently. He will be attending competitions in San Francisco and Atlanta this year, but begrudgingly can’t make it to Austria for the World Bodypainting Festival. Gretchen and Matt talk nonchalantly about Gretchen’s current events. You’d think that the reality of his being inches from her bare thighs would at least give a hiccup in the conversation, but for them this is not their first time working together and there’s nothing sexual about it for either of them. Gretchen goes on about a boy she might be seeing, her lifting exercises, and her pride in hip-thrusting 365 lbs. and explains that’s where the little bruises on her hips came from. At 22 years old, Gretchen is a Jane of all trades. A barista and social media manager by day, she is a bit of a gym rat, can harmonize on short notice, but 11