Welcome to another session of The Love Project, where we try to focus on people’s hobbies, passions and anything that makes us sing, dance, express ourselves creatively or puts a giant grin on our faces. Today we will be featuring a Seoul-based artist, who specializes in a very personal, yet very liberating type of art – body painting.
Alla Ponomareva: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Corey Malcolm Lajeunesse: Hello, my name is Corey. I run Scorpio Body Painting and I do exactly that – Body Painting and Photography here in Seoul. I do custom make up and interesting art work as well, which basically involves me painting people’s bodies and photographing it.
AP: How did you get started?
CML: I started as a photographer and I had some ideas that I thought would be cool to have bodies painted for it. So I went out and bought some paints and painted people up for the project and kind of kept going from there. It’s a lot of fun.
AP: Why bodies specifically, why not traditional canvases?
CML: I do canvases as well, but bodies are more fluid and interesting and definitely more challenging. As an artist, its easy for me to start working on a project and then walk away from a canvas and if for some reason you’re not feeling it, you may never go back to finish it. But with body painting, I can’t do that. I have to finish the work that I start and I have to do it in a very specific amount of time. Therefore it really does force me to complete what I start and to follow through with what I’m working on.
AP: Do you find it challenging finding models in Seoul, or in Korea for that matter? People can be a bit conservative here.
CML: I’ve been pretty lucky, actually. I’ve had dry seasons, where I don’t find what I’m looking for. But for the most part, I have people available for my projects most of the time. It just takes me posting on Facebook or utilizing a group of past models who have worked with me, who are more than willing to repeat the process. As well as new people who come up interested in the process.
AP: Can you talk a bit more about advantages and perhaps challenges of working as a body painter.
CML: I think for me to do this, it’s a type of thing that’s not a lot of people do. Certainly in the art community here, I’m the only person who is doing this sort of thing and even in the Korean community at large, I’ve not encountered anyone else who does exactly what it is that I’m doing. It’s a bit unique in that aspect and it gives me a distinct advantage when it comes to creating new work. So a large advantage for me is meeting new people.
AP: Checking out your work, I see that you play around with various themes. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
CML: Everywhere! I look on the Internet for images, it could be animals, it could be landscapes, abstract patterns in magazines. If I see something that sparks an idea, I sit down and start sketching in my notebook, trying to figure out how to incorporate a body into it and so on.
AP: Here’s a tough one, do you have a favorite piece?
CML: That’s hard to say. There was a time I turned a girl into a wasp, that was fun. I really like how that one turned out, cause it’s very unique and she really does look like a wasp. We had to contour her body to create this form and it turned out pretty cool. Some of my landscape pieces I really enjoyed doing as well, probably because they turned out even better than I had expected. Still, I always look to improve and challenge myself to do that next, more difficult thing.
AP: Any plans or aspirations for the future or the direction you’d like to take your work?
CML: I hope to start doing very specific commission work, where people want something unique – as a piece of art with themselves being the subject. I would sit down with people and design something unique to them and make something creative that they can stick on their wall some day. I think it would be something very special for people – a very unique experience, I think, for anybody to go through.
AP: For aspiring body painting models, could you give some tips from the perspective of an artist, since you’ve worked with a few of them already.
CML: I kind of have a philosophy when it comes to Art and challenges like this – I basically look at it like this – if it’s not gonna hurt you or anyone else, then why not just go for it. If it’s an experience that you enjoy, then try it again. If not, then don’t do it again, but remember, you don’t loose anything in a chance to give it a go. I’m sure anyone of my models can tell you that I’m safe to work with. They have never had any issues with me and I still have people coming back for more. My art is my art, this is what I do, and it is important to me to maintain a reputation that make people want to come back and do it again.
AP: What would you recommend to an upcoming body painting enthusiast?
CML: Don’t compete with me! No, haha. I think just do it. Myself, I’ve never had any formal training in this type of art. I just picked up a brush one day, started putting some ideas down and just starting creating stuff. I don’t think that it should be any different for anybody else who is aspiring to just start. Many people say that they’ve never been trained to do this or that, it’s like so what?! just do it yourself! You’ve got the wonderful world of Internet, with its tutorials, as well as our own ideas, our own creativity. There’s no reason for anyone to not have an idea and just go with it.
AP: Do you exhibit your work or where else can people view your pieces?
CML: Most of my stuff is online on my pages, however there is an Art Community here in Seoul, with exhibitions happening every once in a while. When that happens, I usually get involved with those. They are not a consistent venue, so following me online is the more reliable way to catch my work.
AP: Where can people find you or how can they connect with your work?
AP: Thank you for sharing your work, your passions and aspirations and we wish you nothing but the best in your future endeavors!
If you would like to be a part of The LOVE Project, please get in touch! I’d love to feature you or that special passion of yours.
Also, don’t forget to give Corey some love through his online sites or by sharing this article.
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