Nov 14, 2010

Australian Italian bodyartist broadens creative horizons to Mexico, by Eva Rinaldi

The more my star continues to shine in my chosen profession as an artist - bodyartist, and community entrepreneur, the more I get asked about who I am, what makes me tick, and what I do.

Many of you will not know this but my family enjoys strong ties to the South American community, with my late grandmother Sebastiana Lupica having been born in Peru, later to travel to Italy to marry my late grandfather Vincenzo Cantali in 1939.

It wasn't that many years ago that I never could have ever imagined various magazines, newspapers and other media companies would be quite interested in me and what I do.

There's an expression...ask who you are and what you are about, not what you do, so I will try to do that in my first ever article for the fabulous Viva.  At the same time I will give you some insight into my work, as of course my work does take up a considerable amount of my life, but fortunately my work is often not too much like work, if you follow. I will also cover some of the people that I am fortunate to collaborate with on my artistic journey.

In 1997 I discovered my true artistic flair, and it wasn't until soon after the birth of my beautiful son Joseph, that I discovered face painting, that the led to bodypainting, then human statues, and of course the rest is history.

I believe that one should be passionate about life, as we only get one shot at it (for certain).  In these modern times work unfortunately (for most) takes up a large majority of our lives.  It's important to try to enjoy life as much as possible, and between my family, friends and artistic creations, I am very happy and not a day goes past when I don't stop to think just how blessed I am.  In many ways I am living my dream, and I also get to witness others living theirs.

One of the most fun and interesting aspects of doing the face painting, bodypainting and human statues is that I get to work and collaborate with some very interesting people at a wide range of events. Even take the past few months for example.  We had 'Lets Paint Oprah' (Winfrey), 'Dear Oprah'. 'Walk To Oprah', 'Rebel Avatars', 'Phantom Of The Oprah' and 'La Catrina: Mexican Day Of The Dead', a collaboration with world renown photographer Roberto Duran. 

South America is such a vibrant and creative place. Yes, a lot of the country is in poverty, however, like in many cultures, talent and hard work can help one rise above the hardships. Roberto is a great example of this, and only last month I learned more about his phoenix like rising from the ashes, having arrived in Australia a few years ago, dreams in tact, but a touch down on his luck.  He fortunately found work to bring in income, no, not as a photographer, but as a labourer for Sydney City Rail. Fast-forward a few years and now he is a leading Sydney architect and professional photographer. He's combined them both beautifully, so he doesn't have the financial struggle that many photographers and that the larger art world has to battle on almost a daily basis. Roberto will soon be exhibiting at the Hola Mexico Film Festival and Dendy (Newtown and Circular Quay) in Sydney.

Let me tell you a bit about 'La Catrina: Mexican Day Of The Dead'. Dia de los Muertos is celebrated between October 31st and November 2nd, and is a celebration in which Mexicans remember and honor their deceased loved ones. It might sound gloomy or morbid, but its not. It's a festive and colorful holiday. Mexicans visit cemeteries, decorate the graves and spend time the presence of their deceased friends and family members. They also make elaborately decorated altars (ofrendas) in their homes to welcome the spirits. The belief behind Day of the Dead practices is that spirits return to Earth for one day of the year to be with their families. It is said that the spirits of babies and children who have died (called angelitos, "little angels") arrive on October 31st at midnight, spend an entire day with their families and then leave. Adults are understood to come the following day.

Continuing on the Mexican theme, but of a different kind of artistic expression altogether, how about Latino sensation Rey Mysterio Jr (real name Oscar Gutierrez), the masked Lucha Libre  professional wrestler who is quite the modern day superhero for kids of all ages across the globe. I'm pleased to be now able to reveal that Mysterio is one of a number of superheroes my team and I will be recreating in the coming months, and he will likely be found alongside other iconic superheroes like The Incredible Hulk.  Yes, we will also likely have 'Spidy' (Spider-Man) too before you ask. As artistic living legend Stan Lee would say, Excelsior!

Lastly, thank you everyone for reading, and a big hi to all of my website and Facebook fans out there - all 10,000 plus of you Human Statue Bodyart aficionados. I'm expecting to be writing more in print and also on my blog, so if you don't see quite as much of me on Facebook and other artistic online forums, don't worry, the South American evil spirits haven't got me, and I might even seen some of you at the Hola Mexico Film Festival in Sydney later this month. A big adios - bye for now, until next time.


Human Statue Bodyart

Hola Mexico Film Festival

Roberto Duran official website