body work and paint jobs a body painter makes his mark By Gene Newman Filippo Ioco makes his living , butterfly, neighbors, ticket, interviewed, philip, victim, wants, wall, files, staff, different, standing, height, where, island, content, nudity, readcomminc, here, left, much, Tag Rules The World

body work and paint jobs
a body painter makes his mark
By Gene Newman

Filippo Ioco makes his living stroking paint on to naked people.  He turns planes of flesh into lush landscapes, ripe fruit or perky vegetables.  So it was ironic that when I interviewed him an hour after he got his first tattoo I learned that he had picked the simple butterfly design off the parlor's wall.

Demi Moore and that infamous Vanity Fair cover introduced the world to the art of body painting. The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue even used the technique this year.  But Phillip (he's an Italian guy who lives in Puerto Rico and insists on being called Phillip) distances himself from those gimmicks. "That Demi Moore thing was cool but they could have just thrown some clothes on her," he says.  And of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model who wore a paint bikini: "It can take 12 hours to paint a tie-dye suit, but only a few seconds to put on a real one. If I'm going to spend that much time painting a body, I try to do something really exciting and different."

For Phillip, body painting was a way to distinguish himself in the crowded 80s New York art scene. "Galleries always have the same paintings and the people who attend are always forgetful. I wanted to do something people would remember for at least a couple of weeks." Body painting became his calling card. The shows went something like this: A fully painted model walked out from one side of the stage. A person holding the painting walked out from the other side. When they met in the center of the stage the model walked in front of the painting, virtually blending into it.

Filippo Ioco

How do the models feel?
Imagine standing bare-assed for five hours in a drafty studio in front of a man who wants to stroke your parts with a stiff paintbrush. Of course the models are uncomfortable at first, says Philip. But once they are fully painted many of his models act and feel as if they were fully clothed. "People say it feels like a body suit. Sometimes, at first, a model will try to cover up with his or her hands. Once their body is painted they're fine, even in public. After the shoot, when they take a shower, they cover themselves again."

As for Philip, once he starts painting he's on a mission. "When it comes time to paint I just enter another world. I start from the head or the feet and work straight through. I have to be very professional and put the model at ease since I'm going to be touching every part of his or her body. It wouldn't be right if I was giggling while I'm painting the crack of someone's ass," he says. It's like visiting the doctor's office, he claims, and there is very little sexual stimulation. Some of the guys giggle out of nervousness, but none have ever gotten erect. When it comes  time to color a man's stalk, Phillip has a simple method: "Just take it and paint it.

Indecent Exposure
Not everyone is comfortable with the nudity. He was chased off by the police once when he was shooting his "Man with a Snake" piece on an East Village rooftop.  Some of the neighbors, who never complained when he shoots naked women on the roof, were offended by a naked man. "Once the cops left I went back to the same spot and continued working," Phillip says. "It took me six hours to paint this guy and these people were telling me to stop. Get the fuck out of my face."

Next Victim
Phillip's next challenge is to do a piece that turns people into the ingredients of pasta sauce. For the shoot he needs pudgy and flabby models to create a life sized tomato, onion and bulb of garlic. Recently he created a Gay Pride flag, where he had to find six men and six women to create the rainbow.

Even though it can take up to 12 hours to finish the paintings, it can take him less than an hour to record it on film. "I don't like having to do things over because I know what I want," he says. "The first time captures the feeling. If it's necessary, I'll do a second time. Fuck the third time."

Philip sells many of his paintings through galleries and on his Website

One of Philip's creations:
cotton candy and a coney island hot dog

Julianna get's fitted for her cotton candy

the hot dog is waiting for his mustard and relish

here's the complete shot.  notice the popcorn and used ride ticket


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