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Colourful interpretations of the female form

Update: May, 10/2015 - 11:42

Paintstaking painting: Muc Tau needs about four hours to complete a body painting. — VNS Photos Dinh Thu Hien

by Dinh Thu Hien

Many Vietnamese painters and photographers have been passionately pursuing the art of painting on the female form for years. But, they are also struggling to get the art form the recognition it deserves.

Artistic collaboration

It was his quest for experimenting that took Nguyen Thai Phien, who specialises in nude photography, to collaborate with Muc Tau, a painter. Now, together they create stunning body painting pictures.

Thai Phien is a popular name among body artists as he has been taking nude photographs for 20 years. He has also published a book, Xuan Thi (Spring Time), through Fahasa Publishing House.

Thai Phien's partner Muc Tau is a makeup expert and has a showroom in HCM City's District 7. Muc Tau recently posted the photographs of some pictures he drew on a woman's body on his Facebook page.

This got him invited by a famous domestic game company, which wanted him to draw the pictures of female knights. What makes Muc Tau's more endearing is the fact that he has not trained in any art school, and yet, he creates lively and impressive pictures on nude bodies.

Thai Phien and Muc Tau found each other on a social networking site. It was the common passion for body painting and the determination to exploit the beauty of this art that brought them together.

A body painting has a short life and lasts only for a few hours or as long as the painter continues working on it. The drawing ink that is used for body painting causes itching, so the model has to wash off a painting immediately after a photograph of the work is clicked.

Although Muc Tau can draw and take photographs by himself, he says, "I don't want to work without Thai Phien."

The impressive collection of the pictures and photos of body paintings is proof that when the two of them work together, art shows up in the best forms.

The most difficult part in creating a body painting is finding a model. But for Thai Phien, this is no great deal because his source of models is endless.

Muc Tau takes about four hours to complete a body painting and then Thai Phien takes over to change the body painting art into the photography art.

Winning hallmark

Ngo Luc is a painter who has many public art pictures to his credit. He graduated from the HCM City College of Fine Arts and has been following international and domestic picture collectors for many years.

In 2013, he arranged three art exhibitions in Japan, Australia and South Korea.

Ngo Luc joined hands with photographer Quang Giang. Giang often uses black-and-white photographs to express Luc's body paintings.

In black-and-white photographs, Luc's body paintings make a remarkable impression.

Final touches: After finishing the body painting, photographer Thai Phien will take over to change the art into the photography art.

He observes that people choose different ways to record the moments of their lives. Some write diary, some write reminiscences, some take normal photographs, and some others take nude photographs. So body painting can develop into an art form.

Luc says that to work with him, models need to cast off their selves; they should not only cast off their clothes but also cast off their minds. All of their pictures must be published after they are completed.

He notes that many body painting pictures at present focus only on highlighting the woman's body, so they are not really body painting works.

Secret story

While Muc Tau does body painting for other forms, for instance, to create female fighters for computer games, for Luc, it is totally an art.

Thai Phien does not focus on the model's face while clicking body painting pictures, while Luc desires to show the liberation of the model's thoughts. Luc wants body painting works to be shown to the public so that they can think instead of hiding in their own narrow space.

Ngo Luc has still not managed to apply for an official permission to conduct a body painting exhibition. He is planning to move the process with the help of the Viet Nam Fine Arts Association.

Thai Phien has previously sought permissions to hold nude photograph exhibitions. He continues to take photographs, while waiting for the right moment when he can open an imposing exhibition in the future. — VNS

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