By Sarah Francis
An innovative artist has camouflaged NUDE bodies by painting them into the world’s most expensive artworks.
New York body artist Trina Merry, 36, picked the 20 top dearest paintings, then photographed naked models disguised as part of the piece.
The talented artist began her career in body painting after being struck by lightning, and has worked on thousands of human canvases since – while most session last three hours, her longest took a whopping 18 hours to complete.
Trina’s latest project titled ‘Lust of Currency’ was sparked by Trump’s presidency and his controversial plans to cut the National Endowment for the Arts.
The passionate painter hopes to draw attention to the value of art and the booming market, which recently saw a Basquiat piece sell for $110.5million.
‘Lust of Currency’ features a $135million master piece by Klimt, The Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, and the $119million painting, The Scream by Edvard Munch.
Trina said: “I wanted to talk about why the economy is so ridiculous. The Dow Jones is the highest it’s ever been but Trump wants to abolish National Endowment of the Arts. It’s a bizarre dichotomy of culture.
“People have tons of money and they obviously want to spend it on the arts as we can see in the art trends, but government wants to withdraw all funding, despite it not taking up much of national budget.
“This series was an investigation to art work and the economy of art.
“It also examines the shift of how we are seeing art, less people going to galleries more people viewing them social media so the experience, is smaller flatter and incorrect.
“Conversely, what is it that makes people spend $30million for the actual piece of art, when they could go online, there’s something that makes people do that and what is it?”
Trina’s foray into the body painting occurred following a retreat into the Californian countryside, where she happened upon the medium, after being struck by lightning.
She said: “I was living in LA at the time and the lightning strike made me sensitive to electricity, so I moved to Yosemite National Park to escape the electrical lines.
“While I was there my friend’s band was playing and they had body painting on stage, they talked me to standing on stage and getting body painted myself.
She added: “Body paint is the ancient art form, it’s thousands of years old.
“Despite that, a lot of people think it’s this new trend and don’t see it as an art medium.
“However, it’s being universally found around the world, so it seems it’s something we are all craving, connecting person to person. For me it’s an essential human practice, it’s part of story-telling.”
Having originally studied traditional art, Trina went on to work with indigenous body painters and has produced an impressive back catalogue of work that includes painting models into natural landscapes.
She said: “There certainly were bashful moments at first. It was awkward to ask people to be nude but now people are begging to get painted by me.
“It’s infinitely more interesting than traditional canvas because the “canvas” is talking to you. It’s far more it’s more interactive than a 2D inanimate object, but you can’t come back and put layers on a piece in the same way, it’s a totally different process.”
For the series, Lust of Currency, Trina sourced the background images online, printed and enlarged them, purposely displaying the reduced quality.
Trina explained: “I didn’t want this to be about fan art, or paying homage. It’s to show how far removed we are from the art.
“I felt passionate about how disconnected we are, we go on the internet and see these images, but that’s not how they were made to be seen.
“They were made to be seen in a giant cathedrals, or in gallery on a museum.
“We are seeing smaller images, flattened and our screens change the colouring.
“So it’s strange way to see art, not the visceral experience we are supposed to have.”
Trina will be presenting Lust of Currency with her team of 20 performers, including a live painting, at the Con Artist Gallery in New York, June 3 – 5.