Body painting is an age-long practice. It is simply arts made on the body. In this process, the body of a human or animal serves as the canvas. In certain parts of the world especially in Africa, body arts serve different purposes. Just like tattoos or piercings, It is used for identification- members of different tribes are able to distinguish themselves from intruders just by looking at the type of art present on the body.
Throughout Africa, religious sets like worshippers of Ifa and other traditional deities have certain marks and inscriptions made on the skin to show loyalty to the faith. It keeps them protected during the times of war and serves as medicine during illness.
In recent times, Bodypainting has become mainstream, finding its way to many music videos and movies. One of such examples is when Beyonce collaborated with a Nigerian Body painting Artist Laolu Senbanjo on her Video titled Lemonade. Beyonce is not the only one known for utilizing body painting in her visuals, the Great Fela Anikulapo Kuti was also a regular user of body painting and markings on his sets.
We recently spoke to Ayohrkarz, a super talented body painting artist resident in Nigeria and we asked him what body painting means to him and the journey so far in this endeavor. Here is how the interview went
What’s your name ?
I go by the name Ayomide Kasali popularly known as Ayohrkarz
Tell us about yourself?
The brand Ayohrkarz is all about art and media. So I coined the nick name from the juxtaposition of my name and surname. Whatelse? I rep Ogun state, Nigeria and I am a disciplined artist.
So, what is Body Painting about?
Body art just like any form of art appears beautiful and eye catchy, only a few people who appreciate aesthetic value can decode the meaning behind it. This form of art is unique; I express my thoughts, opinions, ideas and inspiration on the Human body as my CANVAS. And this has exposed me to a different realm of artistry, which I tagged as SURREALISM REVOLUTION
What led you into this style of work?
Although I have done party paintings at birthdays and events years back, little did I know that I’ll find my path to bodypainting until I joined instagram in 2014. I was blown away by Laolu Sebanjo and his afromysterics, I developed a passion and I decided to venture into this
This is pretty creative but what message are you trying to pass across?
It goes beyond the aesthetics, it goes way beyond the process of achieving it, there is a pre plan for each shoot and this is usually documented, I have my sketch book where I put in what I want to achieve and the message I want to feed people with. My major theme is SURREALISM REVOLUTION it’s an art of the subconscious mind. I also have sacred themes like Oju ri meaning my eyes has seen, in all my art pieces I talk about deities, positive energy, hope, love, power and more, with the use of incongruous juxtaposition of visual elements to achieve the effect I want.
What field in art is this be classified?
It is a new trend and it doesn’t have a defined class yet but is related to performance art. It is a physical expression of creativity found in human culture and tradition. It started around 1960 and has gone viral, Hannah Wilke quoted, Why should we have this mind-body male-female duality? The mind and body are one, so I tried to make art an expression of that connection.
Is there a difference between body art and tattoo?
Of course there most certainly is, even though body art is now seen as a forebear to today’s general mainstream acceptance of tattooing, piercing, scarring, or otherwise . it is clearly different from tattoos and piercings Because the body becomes a canvas only for that moment.
What do you seek to achieve, what is your goal?
My work became a bridge that had to be crossed by young and matured feminists working with their bodies. And with this whole idea, I aim at making body art generally acceptable and recognized as a piece of artwork not an exposure of nudity or pornography. I want this to be chipped into musical videos with conceptual ideas. I want brands to look into this field and see the meaning of what we are giving out. It’s uniquely different from all what we see on media which we are already getting bored of. Hightime we tried something new.
How do people describe you?
If I depend on how people describe me, I am not going to move any further, because basic people would always think within the box. I get discriminations of all kind, religious, social, cultural, political reviews even. So, now it all depends on how I describe myself. I am a game changer, an opportunist and a leader in my field. I want to use this medium to break grounds and I am a real dream chaser. I put all the necessary impact in my work.
Following the trends of Carolee Schneemann, Him Dine, Chris burden, Hannah Wilke, Rebecca horn, Orlan, Olaolu Sebanjo, Ed the bodypaintking and so many others who are successful on this field, I do not have a second doubt in myself to be a Legend too
You seem to focus a lot on ladies, What do you say about people’s reaction to your style of work profession especially the many naked ladies you paint?
Well, people will always say what they want to say, either to get attention or just to criticize. Some people would even go out of the way to ruin the business for you, spreading false rumors. I don’t care, Just as long as I’m chasing my dreams and I am not ever giving up on it. In today’s media world if people don’t get to talk about you, then you’re nobody- 2baba knows better
How do these girls feel during this process?
My muses are human beings, and they have a very standard background. They are sapiosexual and they choose to be a muse for various reasons. Some just want to be exhibited on to have it in their portfolio, while some just want to enjoy the atmosphere that we create, but however they all feel great during the process and after the outcome, it is not just about them getting unclad it is the beauty that comes afterwards and trust me it’s a wowing experience.
How do you feel during the process, some people say in quote “it’s impossible to do this – without a hard on” How true is that?
My muses are my canvases as stated earlier, so I try to keep it highly professional as possible. This is a sacred process, so I give my muses time to orientate around the studio before work, we talk mature, we take light drinks and then we get to create something out of ordinary. I paint on both genders and I do not see any reason to have an erection on this field and this on the other hand doesn’t mean I am a robot. I am just trying to keep that respect at a good level.
Asides body art is there any work you handle professionally?
Yes, I am a designer. Working with couple of designers like myself outside the country, I plan out commercials for brands, I’m a script writer, I compose music too! I can paint on any surface, wall, leather, jean, shoes, wood, ceramics, glass, steel, I am still gathering all of my equipments together for the shine! Although I am still undergoing a program at YABA COLLEGE OF TECHNOLOGY and I have bigger plans thereafter!
Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
Its in Gods hands, he designs the destiny of man,I am just Christian who believes in God the perfect architect so I mostly would pray silently “God take me from where I am to where you want me to be” . on my part I double and triple the hustle since Faith without work is dead…and I have been seeing results over the years.
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