Andy Golub OMP Member #179231 recently made national headlines when he took his bodypainting skills out of the studio and into Times Square for a very public demonstration with a nude female model.
The pair attracted a crowd of onlookers, who gathered to watch and take photos of the event, which was so large it eventually had to be controlled by NYC police forces.
This is not the first time Andy has created such a stir – he has masterminded similar events in and around New York City with such models as Jennifer Lynn OMP Model #177829 and Reby Sky OMP Model #171674.
Golub recalls, “I painted Jennifer Lynn twice, one time in April 2007 and the other in July 2007. Then I painted Reby Sky in June of 2009. It was a lot of fun working with Jennifer and Reby. They are definitely two of the best models that I’ve worked with.”
The artist was aware of his passion for art at an early age, and has been inspired by a wide range of artists. “I always had a vivid imagination, and that is where my ideas come from. That being said, I have always been a big fan of Pablo Picasso and Keith Haring.”
He began his foray into bodypainting a few years ago. “The first time I tried bodypainting was five years ago at Art Expo in New York. The model wore a short skirt and a tube top. Before that, my art was progressing from normal paint-on-canvas projects. I was painting different objects, including watering cans, shoes, furniture, a car and a mannequin.”
Since then, Andy has conceived some diverse bodypainting projects. “Painting four girls in blue was a breakthrough piece for me. For last year’s Halloween Parade, I painted seven models from the waist up (they wore jeans because of the cold). I was in a great groove the entire time, maybe 5-6 hours. Also, the two times that I did full-nude bodypainting in Times Square were very exciting. There’s a certain thrill about pushing the limits or expanding what is allowed.”
He describes some of the logistics behind his bodypainting projects in public. “In many ways, the model gets the best experience (which is fair, since they are the ones taking their clothes off). They are just standing there for hours watching people watch them. Meanwhile, I’m usually focused on the painting and only occasionally look up to see the crowd.”
Once the models are covered, he likes to show off his finished designs in other New York venues. “The models and I will do things like go on the subways or go to art galleries. That’s probably my favorite part. I can just sit back and watch all of the expressions of amazement, confusion, and contemplation. It’s also fun to see a colorful body juxtaposed around all the normal-looking people and buildings.”
His idea to paint and work in Times Square was an inspired choice. “I know that doing full-nude bodypainting in public is legal in New York City, and it was something that I wanted to do. I have painted many models in public wearing g-strings, and this was the next step.”
He gives credit to the model for her dedication and determination during the process. “The model”s name is Zoe West. I explained to her the law and that while it’s perfectly legal, it could result in one or both of us getting arrested. She understood the risks, and decided to fully commit to the project.” Zoe was arrested by the local police, as seen in the accompanying photos, but she was later released and all charges dropped.
Andy notes that the reaction from the crowd of tourists, passerbys and native New Yorkers was overwhelming. “When the model first takes her clothes off, some people think it’s a stunt of some kind. But after the painting starts to take form, people just hang out and watch the painting develop. I think my favorite thing is the look that everyone has when they’re staring and contemplating how the process works.”
He points out that there are definitely differences between working in a public place as opposed to a studio. “The studio paintings are more intimate, and just between me and the models. We definitely chat more in the studio. When we take it outside, the painting is meant to be seen from a little bit of a distance, whereas in the studio it’s made for the camera, so I put in more details. But outdoors there definitely is more adrenalin — it’s pretty high energy!”
Andy relies solely on brushwork for his bodypainting technique, as opposed to airbrushing. “I only work with a regular brush. I use theatrical makeup, which washes off easily.”
He relates his goals as an artist and a bodypainter. “I would like to paint large groups of people, having their bodies form a human canvas. The largest group I’ve painted to date is one dozen men.”
Andy’s most recent project coincided with the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week that took place last week. “I did a collaborative photo shoot with Bootzwalla during Fashion Week in New York City.”
Now it’s back to the streets of Times Square for the daring artist. “I want to accomplish as much as I can before it gets too cold. I have several upcoming projects which I am looking forward to. For instance, I participate in the Halloween Parade every year. My painted cars and models have been featured for the past four years.”
The artist offers the following advice for other bodypainters, based on his own experiences. “I think it’s important for people to follow their dreams, whatever it is. Otherwise, where’s the joy? Although it may seem like live bodypainting is an extreme thing to do, for me it’s just the natural progression of my art. I have connected with so many interesting people that I would never have known if it weren’t for my bodypainting. I am grateful to have found something as personally fulfilling as my art. I hope you can find personal fulfillment in your art as well.”
You can find a video of Andy’s recent bodypainting demonstration with Zoe West here:
Check out this NSFW video of Andy working with Reby Sky in Times Square:
Models: Reby Sky (top), Zoe West (bottom)