Millions of visitors descend upon Time Square to experience the bustling metropolis that is New York City. They come to see and experience not only the historic landmark, but the the sight and sounds of the quirky atmosphere, filled with street performers, businesses and what has been dubbed the “Crossroads of the World”.
This summer however, Time Square’s painted topless ladies and costumed performers alike, came under scrutiny by the NYC Mayor’s office. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the formation of a multi-agency City task force to address the painted topless individuals and costume characters in Times Square. “It’s wrong, it’s just wrong,” the mayor said of the painted ladies. “I don’t like the situation in Times Square.” The Mayor goes on to say that the experience of Time Square by families and visitors “has been diminished by the proliferation of topless individuals and costumed characters who too often harass people and expose families to inappropriate acts. To ensure all are welcome, and to continue the great success that is Times Square, the City will aggressively pursue every avenue for regulating these behaviors.”
The regulation and potential crack down on the aggressive and tourist-targeting “painted topless ladies” who also refer to themselves as “Desnuda”, the Spanish word for naked, have caused the unfairly targeting of the art of body painting. The Desnuda essentially caused an uproar of the inappropriateness of public nudity. Following this, there were also other demonstrations that challenged the nudity aspect using body art as a platform to express it. Again giving body art negative attention.
In response to this negative overview on body art, on September 17, 2015, the last day of NYC Fashion Week, Dani Fonseca, body art extraordinaire, disturbed by all the bad press body art was getting in the media, decided to do something about it. According to Dani, “At this point I was fed up in seeing and hearing one of my favorite mediums get such bad press and negative attention, I decided I wanted to make a difference with that. So I reached out to some of my esteemed colleagues and proposed we unite and create something that would not only bring a positive spin to art and body art, but give New Yorkers, both visitor and native a taste of true artistry. We wanted to create art that would transcend nudity, gimmicks, and politics.”
Dani, along with her colleagues, Athena Zhe, Yvonne MacInnis, Kyle Harder, Caitlin St. Angelo and Suzanne Winwood doing hair, decided to create their own designs, “express our own artistry in a project we’ve been calling Art Transcends: Changing the Conversation about Art in NYC.” Though their designs and style were very different, Dani and her team tied the concept together by having their models hold picture frames to imbue the idea of “art” and place the hashtag #ArtTranscends at the top.
They were met in Time Square not only with awe and excitement of the public, but also by the other performers. “I even had a woman approach me and say I am a Christian woman, and though I don’t have an issue with nudity, I do not approve of public nudity, especially when kids are around. But this was great, an awesome experience. The way people were painted you wouldn’t even notice they were naked, and I loved it.” said Dani Fonseca
It was truly a great experience for Dani Fonseca and team to bring positive light back to a medium she loves so much. “It was awesome to work with such a passionate excited team, and get our point across with success.” Therefore, as a team, they have decided to come together again at the next NYC Fashion Week to do another artistic display. You can see more of Dani’s work at www.thebodyofart.com