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Shay Armstrong
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Artist // Professional // Varied
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My Bio
I am an artist working in the photographic arts and the world of bodypaint and body art. I’ve given up calling myself a “photographer”, because it’s too confusing to explain the many facets of the media I work with, depending on the day and my mood. I used to call myself a “bodypainting photographer”, but find that label really doesn’t cover it all.

I’ve spent the last 3 years working to complete my MFA in Photography from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and trying to fit my self-taught style and skills into the world of academia. My thesis work consumed my creative life, and led to what has become my signature style - bodypainted nude figures photographed in the modernist style, with the colors and patterns on the bodies derived from textile patterns. These images are either printed as traditional enlargements or, using new digital technology combined with hands-on printmaking techniques, emerge as limited edition prints on cotton muslin.

My other area of creative passion combining photography and bodypainting is exploring UV, or blacklight, work. I particularly enjoy working with very linear and geometric patterns, mixed with a bit of whimsy, producing unique imagery that is different from the average trickery and flat imagery traditionally produced. I’m also looking forward to flipping the idea of the use of black and white in UV work, and seeing what emerges in some of my work in the near future.

I still work in the traditional wet darkroom, something that is increasingly rare in this digital age, as is the use of 35mm manual camera gear. It is just a link to my past that I find comfortable, and gratifying, as I watch images emerge from nothingness, and know that I have created them from start to finish myself. I love the deceptive simplicity of a black and white image - which may seem to conflict with the colorfulness of my bodypaint work, but there is just as much thought and planning involved in each. I have to visualize the finished image, the finished product, and then plan each step involved along the path to acheiving my goal.

My growth as an artist has been a long, rocky one as I have learned how to better complete the steps of these journeys, but as more and more people are sharing the joy of my work, I know that the stumbles and missteps along the way have been for a reason, and helped me be a better artist and a better person. I’m reaching out. trying new things and stretching my boundaries, and taking new leaps of faith - my husband has said of my bodypainting friends and I that the reason that we can’t think inside the box is that we don’t have one. Would someone pass me that purple camera bag with paint on it? I think I hear opportunity calling!

Favourite Visual Artist
Edward Weston
Favourite Movies
Alomst Famous
Favourite TV Shows
CSI, Prpject Runway, Top Chef, Face Off
Favourite Bands / Musical Artists
The Pretty Reckless, Halestorm, Pink, Journey
Favourite Books
The Dragon Riders Of Pern series
Favourite Writers
Anne MacCaffrey
Tools of the Trade
Nikon D300, Kryolan Premium Foundation Brushes, Kryolan Aquacolor, Diamond FX, TAG makeups, Paasche airbrushes, Bad Ass Airbrush stencils
Other Interests
REading and drawing my body paint designs

Profile Comments 3

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Your work is so inspiring I LOVE IT :iconbigheartplz:
Your lovely artwork has been featured here: [link]

Keep up the amazing work, and please do add the journal to your favorites to increase exposure. Happy New Years!
I absolutly love your bodypainting work!!