Squeeze will be interviewing local artist twice a month beginning with Luciano Paesani. A few months ago I was invited to live Body Paint over at Groundwork Fitness on Pine Ave. My station was set up next to Luciano, so I had the pleasure of meeting and painting side by side with him. Luciano is a local fine art artist and also a professional Body Painter. Here is a small look into Luciano's creative world.
How did you get into the arts?
I have been an artist since I was a little kid and doodled with crayons on the walls, back at my home town in Brazil my father realized how fascinated I was with colors and provided me with materials to grow as an artist. Later my family helped me get into art school and the passion grew.
How would you describe your art?
My art would be best described as contemporary Modern art. My Passion for Acrylics on Canvas was always predominant until I discovered Body Painting a few years ago. That was Love at First Sight! As an artist we grow and evolve every day with every brush stroke, Body Painting took me to another level exploring not just the colors but the human body as a canvas where you have to take advantage of every curve. It’s a three dimentional living canvas, where your respect and interaction for the human body is extremely important.
Tell us about your body painting, and what led you into that medium?
I got into body painting approximately three years ago. I remember when I first saw a body painting picture in a magazine, a creation from one of my biggest inspirations Craig Tracy. It was love at first sight. I knew at that moment that was the direction my art was going to take. I dove head first into body painting and discovered all the amazing facets in that style of art. There are not many art styles where you get to interact with your canvas, that you must have a great respect for it and treat it with care because it is a living canvas. Some body paintings can take up to 4 - 6 hours. It is extremely important to make sure your canvas (the model) is comfortable, hydrated and well taken care of.
How do you come up with the theme for your body paintings?
The themes on my body painting art comes from my artistic brain that never stops, always creating. You must come up with an idea and then visualize it on a body conforming to its shape and also to what the model feels. I usually like the imput from the model because it will definitely show on the result when they have a say and love the idea.
Do you enter contests? How many do you enter a year?
Body painting contests are extremely hard. Usually you have around 5 hours for a full body paint from head to toe including head piece, prosthetics and anything that will enhance and its accepted in the competition.
This is a new venture for me. This year I entered a competition in Long Beach, and now accepted for another competition in LA. Then at the end of June, beginning of July I was accepted to enter the World Body Painting Festival and competition in Austria. It is definitely an honor to be accepted there and compete among hundreds of amazing artists from all over the Globe. Later in September there will also be a competition in Atlanta and Greensboro NC. It is not easy to enter all this competitions because most of them is in the east coast and Europe, it takes quite an amount of money for the trip and the budget in life of an artist is always hard. But I will make it to all of them if I can. I’ll find a way.
You don't see many body painting events in Long Beach or Los Angeles, why do you think this is? is there a big body painting culture we just don't know about? Can you tell us a little about that culture?
All though body painting is not a new form of art, actually one of the oldest ones that goes way back to tribes around the world, only now has become big in the United States. There are big body painting festivals all over the world like the one in Austria, Korea, Australia, and a few smaller ones all through Europe. I think thats because of the closer proximity, the east coast has become the biggest place to be for body painting artist. I started working on trying to bring more competitions to the west coast, we have huge artistic talent here and I believe it could be the next big thing.
I've lived in Long Beach for a long time, almost 24 years since I arrived from Brazil, and I love how much this city puts into arts. Why not have body painting events here? iIt would be fantastic. The WBF World Body Painting Festival in Austria attracts thousands of artists, models, photographers and media. Bringing to them not just an amazing cultural event but a revenue that grows every year. Long Beach has the infrastructure and the love for arts. I still believe it could be the next big thing to have a festival or competition held here and I will do whatever i can to make it happen. Body painting was usually mistaken with some sexual kind of art, but its not, and now days people are starting to understand what an amazing form of art it is. With an enourmous amount of respect for the human body.
Who are three of your favorite artists and why? Inspirations and influences?
Well, I have a few different artists that inspire me for different reasons. Fernando Botero from Colombia for his bright colors and personal interpretation of the human figure.
Jackson Pollok from America for being so ahead of his time and opening the eyes of the people at that time to a whole new style, which now days feels sometimes almost impossible.
Craig Tracy from America is an absurdly talented body painting artist, he is definitely someone I look up to.
How often do you paint?
I paint every single day! When I have models I create new body paintings but also always working on my acrylic on canvas.
What role do you think the artist plays in society?
Artists have a vital play on the lifes of everyone around us. I remember my mom used to say that we artists are angels created to bring happiness to the people. Can you imagine a world without paintings, music, theatre, and every other type of art that entertain us throughout our lives? I can’t!!
We artists see the world in a much different way, we see beauty in the simple things, we see a world much more beautiful that others see, and we have the talent to translate that in a way that it’s easier for the normal person to see. Sometimes it may not seem like a very glamorous life, but it is a very important role.
What is your creative process like? Canvas and Body Painting
My creative process happens all day, every day. Like I said, we artists see beauty in everything. From the light hitting a leaf on a tree to the color changes in the sky. I take that all in and bring it with me to my studio. There I start sketching and adding colors. If I am using that idea for a body paint, I first see how to complement someone’s body and make it part of that person like a second skin. All of that with music…which makes a huge difference.
What artistic accomplishment are you most proud of?
Well…I am proud to be able to live of my art for most part. That is something very difficult to achieve.
I am proud to have a son that thinks of me as “His dad, the best artist.”
I am proud to be able to say that my art put a smile on people’s faces and makes their day a little better if only for a minute.
How has your style changed over the years?
I believe artist’s styles changes all the time, we evolve. Its part of creating. I think the one thing that remains the same for me is my love for bold and bright colors.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Follow your dreams and work hard on making it happen. No matter how hard it may seem or what people think of it, it is your dream and not theirs!
What advice can you give an aspiring artist?
Practice makes perfection. Work hard on your skills and even harder on what you are not so skilled at.
An art professor once told me: “In this world there are approximately 3% of the people that will absolutely love and want to purchase, follow you as an artist. Your job is to find them!” Expose yourself, don’t be afraid of failing in the eyes of others, there is no gig small enough, you may find one of the 3% there!
What can we expect from you in the future?
May 16th I will be competing at the “Body Fine Art” body painting competition in LA. I will be representing Long Beach. http://www.bodyfineart.com/
July 2nd is the WBF, World Body Painting Festival in Austria where I will be competing among thousands of other body painting artists. It was an honor to be accepted and I am travelling there and competing to represent us here in Long Beach. http://www.bodypainting-festival.com/en/