Poppycock June/July 2014 - Page 14

contacted The Oregonian and they did a story. Then the news ran with it. Then a radio station, a magazine in England, a magazine in Russia, and I’m thinking, ‘Are you guys serious?’ After about a month or so of interviews I figured I’d take a shot at putting it back up. Facebook had changed their rules and in there it says you can have art in relation to nudity.” Matt still gets flagged for images of his work from time to time. Someone electing themselves the decency police will flag what they think is inappropriate. You’ve gotta take it with a grain of salt and know that if you’re putting yourself out there for scrutiny to basically the entirety of socially connected humanity, you’re going to have some haters. Toward the end of the painting, as the blending of colors and the airbrushing begins to take shape, you stop seeing Gretchen. She sees me looking at her: “I can always tell when we’re almost finished by the way photographers look at me differently.” A mix of Harley Quinn and some kind of striking, demonic geisha, you start seeing the artwork. You scrutinize the details and take the body of paint in as 14 a whole. Five hours later, I don’t even recognize the girl disrobing when we started. Gretchen poses and contorts, playing to the cameras for as long as the paint will keep from cracking or running from sweat. She let’s her hair down and the look is completed. This is less Gretchen and more Matt’s handiwork while he cleans up and gets out of the way for all of us to photograph her as fast as we can. In a few hours it’ll wash away and Gretchen will be swabbing paint out of her ears and navel (among other places) for the next week. What took five hours to create will disappear. Unlike other works which may stand the test of time to be marveled at like the pieces on display across the world, this is art with a shelf life. You literally need to be there to appreciate it for as long as it lasts before the canvas needs to get home or go to work. For more of Matt’s work, go to his Facebook fan page by searching FB for Bodypaint by Numbers.