Yesterday I did my final shoot. This involved me being painted white as if I were a sculpture in a gallery and then inviting people to come and put their handprints on my body, turning me from a plan white and dull sculpture into something colourful and bright.
The reason I wanted to do this is to create a mini social experiment, to see who felt comfortable enough to get involved and to also see how the public reacted to my body shape.
Growing up with my spine the way it is, I have always had people say "I'm too scared to touch you incase I hurt you" which has always been difficult as someone that is a huggy / touchy person, to have people afraid to even give me a hug was always difficult when younger.
The painting of my body took us over an hour, I had purchased some white liquid latez paint from ebay because it looked as though it would give a nice white finish and because its latex I would be able to just peel it off at the end. To be on the safe side though I also purchased some white acryclic paint and oh wow am I glad that I did. The liquid latex paint was just not working, it needed at least 4 layers before it would have actually stayed a white colour. We switched over to the acrylic and that worked a lot better and made me very white which was great.
The biggest downfall was that the studios were FREEZING. I was so cold wjhile being painted, I had to keep holding the hairdryer on me, but the paint was so thick I couldn't really feel the heat on me which was very disappointing. I tried to not think about it and just get on with it but I could not stop shaking. I think though that adrenaline kicked in a bit when it was finally time for me to stand on the podium and become the statue. Nerves were high to start with but then they soon dropped which was good.
To my surprise as soon as it hit starting time, a huge group of people walked in. It was a little bit uncomfortable at first because people weren't quite sure what to do, so I had to break my statue for a second and ask fran to paint peoples hands.
Then it started, people came up and put their handprints on my body and I was so happy that this was actually working.
I found it extremely hard to do this though as the whole point was for me to be a statue and statues do not move or talk, but I couldn't keep silent! I did break a few times and speak to people, I tried not to say too much though. I couldn't keep my eyes closed as I was very unsteady and almost fell a few times when I tested it so I had to keep my eyes shut.
(She had just put her hand on my bum. First person to do it)
So going back to what I said earlier about how people were scared to touch me incase they hurt me, I really wanted to see if this would change due to the fact I have named the piece 'I'm Fine' which is telling the audience I am ok, AND I am inviting people to put their handprint wherever they like.
It didn't change, there came a point where my body was getting quite full and I had people walking around me saying "Theres no where left to put it" even though my back and my bum were totally clean. They were the two areas people avoided.
It wasn't until one person, came and put their handprint on my back that people suddenly saw that it actually was okay to touch my back.
I was really happy with how it turned out and I am so glad that I did it. In total over 40 people came which was SO much more than I was expecting.
The only problem was that it turns out I am allergic to the latex paint! I came out in rashes all over my body which were so itchy so I don't think I'll be doing this again in a rush.