Hi Nelly, thank you so much for taking your time to do this interview with me. So let's start with this simple question: how did you get into the body art industry? What kind of training did you have before starting this career path?
I was enrolled in a makeup school in France years ago and for our final we had to present a body painting based on a given theme. That day I had a strong and positive reaction from the jury and the audience towards my work. After that, I realized the magic of paint on a human body would be my future career and here I am!
I see a lot of cool body artworks on your site and I am glad you are choosing this as your career path. What 3 words will you use to describe your body art style?
I find it difficult to judge your own work so I would rather use 3 words which are the most often mentioned by people when describing my work : elegant, dark, powerful.
I have a strong fascination for classic art, especially for Italian baroque artists such as sculptor Bernini, painter Caravaggio, the victorian area, the 20's / 30's, and vintage fashion photography. I would like to take the opportunity with your question to clear what the term inspire means to me. Today more people tend to use the word inspire when all they do is to plagiarize someone else. Even if I believe no one is really inventing anything completely new anymore and we are all mainly recycling ideas. Many people called themselves "artists" (especially on the internet and its social networks) are showing a tremendous lack of personality and humility. It is easy to see today people are mistaking what they would like to be or be perceived as …with what they really do and who they actually are. There is such an unhealthy need for validation through the eyes of others. To me, there is a major distinction between enjoying the recognition for one's efforts to accomplish quality work and the obsession to be noticed at any costs.
I agree with you and I always encourage my fellow artists friends to be original and refine their unique styles. It is true that many people like to be noticed at any costs and I do not want these people to corrupt the arts industry. So, why do you think the public should recognize body art? Do you think this could be a future trend in the fashion runway shows?
In fact there is nothing different from traditional painting except that the canvas is human. Body art is an ancestral practice, it is one of the first thing humans used to do whether for spiritual reasons or survival ones such as camouflage from danger. I believe in genetic memory which perhaps could explain why no matter their degree of interest in body painting, people always respond to painted skin. I was once working with Vogue on a runaway for Rodarte and I had to paint tribal designs on the models. My work is often compared to Haute Couture which reenforces even more my desire to collaborate with upscale fashion houses.
I have a feeling one day this kind of art form can really blend well with the clothes on a runway show and I assume this will become popular in the future. Let's get back to your works. So, till this date, which body art experience was the most memorable one? Why?
I cannot think of one more memorable than the other, each project has its importance with the experience I gained from it. I remember right before I moved to the States, I wanted to work with Marilyn Manson because I founded the band's imagery so interesting, then a few weeks after my arrival in L.A this wish became true ! This was such an intense feeling, I felt as if it was a sign telling me I was on the right track with my life. Being on the set of Madonna's video American Life was very impressive as well as being given freedom to conceptualize the strangest characters for a scene in a major feature film like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. It feels so good when a director and the production design team love your work and trust your imagination and skills that they are willing to give you all the tools to turn these fantasies into reality !
I am happy that you can work with some great entertainers and I am sure there will be more exciting projects coming your way! Last but not least, if you could work with any models/celebrities for a body art project, who would you choose? Why?
There are many who would be or . ..could have been wonderful canvas : I am in awe with beauties who are now resting in peace such as fashion model Dovima, Marlene Dietrich, Audrey Hepburn. I am working on a book project which involves celebrities, since it is in the making I cannot say too much for the moment. More that just physical beauty, I am rather drawn to people with strong personality, charisma and genuine talent.
------------------------------------Now it's time for my favourite part of the interview: Trivia questions!
Pink or Black?
Pizza or Hamburger?
Chocolate, licorice and macarons !
Mountain or Ocean?
Number 13 or Number 777 ?
7 or 3
France or United States?
Both for different reasons
Red or White Wine?
Even if I am French I don't drink wine, in fact I don't like alcohol
at all and I have never been drunk !
Scented Oil or Scented Candle?
Snow or Rain?
Silk or Cotton?
Skeleton or Alien?
Alien ( Mugler style !!! ) The truth is I moved to the US with a visa saying I was an " alien of extraordinary ability " !!! ha ! ha !
The last trivia answer really makes my day! Thank you so much to Nelly for letting me to feature her on this site as the first [Un]Discovers of 2012! If you want to see more of her works, please visit her official site. All images are courtesy of Nelly Recchia.