[4:21] “There’s actually something very meditative about it when you paint someone for hours, you get into for lack of a better word, the zone. I prefer the term, being in the bubble.”
[12:42] “It’s a little scary when you are living the artist life, meaning not knowing when from one month to another what is going to happen financially; and I don’t like this whole myth about the starving artist – No, I’m sorry. You need to be grounded and you need a certain emotional and mental stability in order to be creative. Everybody is built differently, but I don’t think I could deal with the stress of not knowing that I’m going to be kicked out of my apartment if I can’t pay rent.”
[26:14] “I’m hoping that if there’s one thing that can keep people together or bring back people together will be any art form. And that’s really something I’m hoping for the future.”
[29:23] “I think that if the situation is teaching us something, it’s that we definitely have to take things one day at a time, and if we consider buddhist philosophy, it’s supposed to be carpe diem and seize the day and isn’t it supposed to be one of the key elements to happiness?”
Synopsis of the show:
Nelly Recchia is a professional body painting artist who has won international makeup and body art competitions and worked with Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Marilyn Manson, and more.
Born in France, Nelly finds the art of body painting a meditative practice. She’s always been artistic – her parents saw her doing strange makeup on her dolls and really nourished her creativity. In university, she failed at languages and philosophy, but found her calling at a professional makeup artistry school when she studied a section on body painting/body art and loved it.
After an American judge at an international body painting competition suggested she move to California to pursue her dreams, she applied for a tourist visa. She ended up making connections and received an artistic visa, built her experience, and now 20 years later, she’s still painting and now teaching at a prestigious school in California.
Although she’s an airbrush instructor, Nelly will always gravitate towards paint brushes as her tool of choice, and prefers to use water-based paint. Her record for painting someone is 13 hours.
Living in California, Nelly talks about working with celebrities and how she doesn’t get starstruck – she’s more impressed by what someone has achieved, not how many followers they have. She’s heavily inspired by nature, and tries to walk for at least an hour each day throughout the hills in California. She also draws inspiration from the classic arts like painting and sculptures. She adores Italian Baroque and Surrealist painters like Salvador Dali.
Nelly is working on putting out a book of her work, but wants to be sure that it’s of the highest quality. She believes she’s demanding of herself, and in the most humble way, has so much more to learn and is hoping that she hasn’t created her best work yet. She’s currently creating more images for the book, and most won’t be released on the internet – she wants people to still have images to discover when they open her book.
You can find Nelly on Instagram @nellyrecchia
A few things you will learn from the podcast:
- What models need to do to prepare for being body painted
- What Nelly’s creative process is when she’s hired for a project – but she’s not a control freak!
- How a body painter can still work even through the COVID-19 lockdowns and quarantines