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Interview: Artist Covers Body in Paint to Become a Living Comic Book Illustration

Norfolk, Virginia-based visual artist Gigi Rodgers (aka Puck'n Khaos) explores the power of paint and perspective through body art. Using her own face and physique as her canvas, the dedicated artist carefully covers her body in mindful strokes of acrylic paint and “appears to be a comic book character that jumped from it's page.”

In a recent collaboration with photographer Paul Chin, Jr., Rodgers utilized her self-body painting skills for a photo shoot, simply dubbed World. Initially, the images appear to fool the viewer into thinking they're looking at a comic book style, graffiti wall mural. In actuality, a fully painted Rodgers is posing in each photo, like a living illustration.

In an email, Rodgers gave us some insight into her laborious process: “Like any production, the prep work takes the longest. The day before the shoot I spent about half the day applying the highlights and shadows on the clothes, shoes, and hat. The largest amount of ground covered to date. The morning of the shoot, 2 hours before rendezvous, I did some ‘Cirque du Soleil' acrobatics to get into the shirt (which only took 2-3 minutes, but felt MUCH longer) and then started to paint my face, neck, arms, and legs.”

Scroll down to take a look at Gigi's incredible results, accompanied by an exclusive firsthand account of the process behind these photo shoots with Paul.

I drove, in full paint, to our designated location in The Arts District in Norfolk, VA. Can you imagine the look on peoples faces as they look over at me at a stop light? o_O

Five minutes after we arrived, I was voguing. Pose. Click! Pose. Click! Pose. Click! Pose. Freeze! Click! Click! Click!

Paul Chin, Jr. was masterful with working with the sunlight to our advantage and not being afraid to get high or low (on concrete and gravel in 96 degree weather) to create the desired effect of the photo.

We hit about 6 locations within the Arts District in about 1.5 hours. It was a fast and fierce, guerrilla style photo shoot that produced some amazing pieces that made us say afterwards, “I can't believe that worked.”

Of course we had a few onlookers, some honked horns with “thumbs up” and smiles, and a cameo or two. As we moved from location to location, my appearance definitely made people do a double take.

My Modern Met: What do you hope viewers take away from this project?

Gigi Rodgers: From this project, I hope a group of people with some time on their hands decide to paint themselves in black and white and become their own comic book super heroes. They create their own story line, have some posed action shots, all with the photographer (aka best friend with an iPhone) capturing it all. They piece it together in post and revel in the fact that they did THAT! Who knew we could do THAT?! Also, it gives you the opportunity to answer someone when they ask, “So what did you do this weekend?” “Oh, we turned ourselves into superheroes and ran around the city. Wanna see?”

Gigi Rodgers: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Gigi Rodgers.


Pinar Noorata is the Managing Editor at My Modern Met. She is a writer, editor, and content creator based in Brooklyn, NY. She earned her BA in Film and Media Studies from CUNY Hunter College and is an alumni of the Center for Arts Education’s Career Development Program in NYC. She has worked at major TV, film, and publishing companies as well as other independent media businesses. When she isn’t writing, editing, or creating videos herself, Pinar enjoys watching movies, reading, crafting, drawing, and volunteering at her local animal shelter.
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