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Body as canvas: Johannes Stotter’s paintings

Posted in Things We Love

Johannes-Stotter-body-painting-6I can’t pretend to know anything about body painting. I don’t think I gave the matter much thought over the course of my life. sofagirl and I briefly considered getting a tattoo during a long ago vacation in S. Diego, and we went as far as milling around a tattoo parlor until we realized we were both too chicken to go for even the smallest drawing. I can safely say we are both glad we showed some unusual restraint.

Body painting, on the other hand, is not permanent and it involves much longer prep time than a tattoo ever will. The person who put it on my  map is a good friend who, courtesy of her uncooperative back, is spending a lot of time lying in bed and trolling the internet – she knows we are always scouring for unusual ideas and, a few days ago, the photograph of a parrot popped up on my screen. I dismissed it as a parrot, until I read the accompanying line: Look closer, it’s a woman.

Parrot-webJohannes Stotter is the artist behind this marvel. When I started digging for more, I found other incredibly detailed and complex works of art all involving bodies as canvases. I got so carried away amassing images, it took me much longer than usual to select what I ended up using.

Jahannes Stotter’s very German sounding name belies an Italian identity: he was born in South Tyrol in 1978 and he is an all around visual artist who also paints and photographs. But body paintings are his claim to fame.

In an interview for oddity central, the artist explains that “Body painting is special because the artwork is alive and can move. While a canvas painting lasts forever, a body painting exists only for a few hours.”

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Nature is his inspiration and he believes that the secret of good work is to always have a love for it. “I think and observe the world, nature, colors and shapes with very clear eyes and an open heart. And painting is my big passion.”

Possibly my favorite
Possibly my favorite

The work is a labor of love that also requires a willing model. It took four weeks to reach the “parrot” end result. It’s not just a matter of reproducing life-like colors and images but also to arrange the perfect position for the model and, eventually, take the perfect shot.

Johanness Stotter was crowned body painting Champion in 2012.


All images copyright of Johanness Stotter 

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  1. That parrot lady had me squinting for minutes! And the pebbles, I’m still squinting…nope, see nothing.
    I was never very good at those optical puzzles.
    But what a talent. An illusionist!

    April 18, 2014
  2. silvia

    I think he is really smart and talented when he uses bodies to create the trompe-l’oeil effect like in the parrot and the frog.
    The frog I had to watch the video to fully understand!

    April 18, 2014

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