Urban camouflage – Artist paints subjects into the world around them
A New York artist has used body paint to perfectly camouflage her subjects into a variety of famous landmarks.
Trina Merry, who specialises in bodypainting, line her subjects up and photographed them as they appeared to blend right into the scenery around them.
The backdrops to her eye-catching art include the White House, Freedom Tower, Grand Central Station, the Golden Gate Bridge, and even Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway.
By painting her subjects into a modern background, Trina is putting a modern twist on the oldest art form known to man.Trina said: “I paint on people and, with great care, photograph them using single perspective point photography.
This creates a hyper realistic illusion that they are blending into their surroundings.
“Bodypaint is the eldest art form that we know of, predating cave paintings.
“I am fascinating by how these indigenous markings were used to identify stages of life, rank within a tribe and a distinction between tribes.
“We have a very similar behaviour in contemporary societies via consumerism, fashion, the cars we drive and houses we buy to represent status.
“However while indigenous tribes accept and embrace the individual as a part of their community, knowing them by name, in our contemporary culture, our individuality is lost and our ‘markings’ only homogenise.
“I’ve never felt more alone and disposable than while living in New York. It feels like I could disappear and no one would know.
“My work shows that experience. It uses marking the body to show what we put on our bodies to identify ourselves within a ‘tribe’ actually cause us to disappear.
“Painting on the body also creates a special connection to a person that other visual art forms have trouble accomplishing.
It’s a distinctly human experience. Working quickly, it usually takes Trina between one and three hours to paint a person. However, the work requires to subject to remain completely still. It can be a test of endurance.
Trina said: “Durational performance art takes training, both of the body and of the mind. We train, we meditate, we communicate and we trust each other.
“Taking the art into public spaces mean that Trina’s work, as well as her subjects, are instantly exposed to people’s opinions.
She said: “People love it, they hate it, they think I’m a genius, they don’t get it and ask questions, they are scared of the nudity, they embrace the human body and complement the models on their beauty and bravery.
“I’m immediately confronted by people’s opinions and have learned to not to take anything personally because they are projecting themselves onto the work.
“It has nothing to do with me or my reality of making the work and so I just focus on my responsibility to make the work.
“I have to be incredibly courageous and vulnerable to create this kind of work.” The works include: White House: Embrace.
Trina says: “This layered work explores juxtapositions between culture versus nature and power versus protest. The fading Garden of Eden-like embrace reinvents the love and pacifism of the Flower Power movement.
“Freedom Tower. Trina says: “What is our responsibility post 9/11 to our city and our skyline? How will those lost be remembered and how do we move forward as a country making policies, especially in light of our new election?
Will we continue to be a melting pot country that invites all people towards equality and freedom?
Or will we exclude, kick out, gentrify and make the immigrant disappear in the coming 4 years?
We have many decisions to make as a country on how we respond to fear based words that may or may not accurately describe a crime like ‘terrorism’.
“Grand Central Station. Trina says: “This was a work of stillness in the middle of one of the busiest areas of movement in New York’s Grand Central Station.
We are all coming and going so fast, pushing aggressively past each other in order to save time.
In this durational work, the performer simple stands still and observes the passing of time as the painter and hurried New Yorkers affect her body, blending her into the environment.
“Highline 2. Trina says: “This work was a commission for a Korean Documentary about colour, created on the Highline in Chelsea, NY.
The statuesque model transforms into a living public art work.”LOVE Statue. Trina says: “A couple blend into each other and their surroundings while sharing an intimate moment among the concrete and hurried chaos of New York City.
This special pose was inspired by the famous WW2 sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square at the end of the war.
This iconic pop art sculpture was created by Artist American artist Robert Indiana.
“Washington Square Park Arch Monument.
Trina says: “These arches were placed around Europe by Napoleon as cultural symbols of conquest.
What are they ways that we are colonizing our neighbour through gentrification in the neighbourhoods of New York?
How are we forcing our neighbours or their cultures to disappear?