What a delight it was to be included as competitive artists in Atlanta’s Third Annual “Bodies As A Work Of Art”, a charity event benefiting The Chelko Foundation. Begun in memory of fine artist Paul Chelko, the foundation benefits women in their region through arts and education endowments. We were honored to create our own art, for this worthy cause.
We arrived to meet our beautiful model Mikhail, in a private airplane hanger that would host the evening’s festivities (they parked the jet outside!) and after acquainting ourselves with some of the finest bodypaint artists in the area, began our work.
As we worked, a flurry of activity buzzed on around us as an entire upscale nightclub was built in the empty space around us. Main stage, catwalk, lights, sound, seating, bars (including one carved entirely of ice), rigging for the silk aerialists, plush banquet seating… it was as if we began a painting and 5 hours later, looked around to find ourselves transported to another realm!
After judging, a well-heeled, impeccably dressed crowd floated in and began to drink and socialize, while servers circulated with trays of hors d ovuers. We readied a radiant Mikhail to wow (we hoped) the crowd. Unique to this contest, they had set up an instant audience vote capability via text, each artist had been assigned a “code” and the guests could choose their favorite.
When Mikhail appeared shrouded in her hand-painted ‘feather’ cloak at the end of the catwalk… all eyes were upon her. She turned her head very slowly from side to side, allowing the audience to focus just on her face and the elaborate details of the headpiece, above. Then, with a swell in the music she spread the ‘wings’, raising the ends of the cloak skyward, showcasing her painted body surrounded by brilliant flashes as the sequins and rhinestones inside bounced the stage lighting back into everyone’s eyes. A huge gasp went up in unison from several hundred onlookers, as we looked on proudly.
We waited as they called the results, taking the stage for first place, only to turn back around to accept another award… the audience prize! We were so grateful to have been involved in such a beautiful event. Many thanks go our our friend, fellow bodypainter Stephanie Anderson (who finished 2nd) for connecting us to begin with. Also to the beautiful Randi Layne, who pours heart and soul into making this fundraiser happen. Finally, to Paul Chelko… though we didn’t meet in life, we are honored to know you and the love you will continue to inspire, throughout the world.