People as architecture: bodypainting transforms portraits into architectural works of art

by Valentina Ieva
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New York artist Trina Merry is best known for her unique style that blends body art with photography. By matching the painted body to and incorporating it into a physical landscape, she blurs the line of reality for both the viewer and the subject.

Colosseum, Italy


Merry had her subject, UK model Kyle James, pose fully painted in front of Modern Wonders of the World. This “guerrilla-style” approach is common to much of her work, which has been featured in numerous publications, including Time,The New York Times, and Forbes, among many more.

Great Wall, China


Merry travelled to the Modern Wonders of the World, so she called her last Series “Lost in Wonder”.

Pyramids of Giza, Egypt


Chicen Itza, Mexico


She said: “Many photographers say they ‘take’ a picture. At major tourist sites like these, there are masses of visual consumers ‘taking’ from this environment without really appreciating the space or the history and culture of the people who made these structures. Artists are culture makers so I couldn’t approach this trip the same way- we “made” a picture and gave energy back to these places.”

Stonehenge, UK


"I really wanted to understand what makes a place ‘great’- she continued - Why do these physical structures go down in history? I was amazed that, due to the nature of contemporary tourism, so many people idealize these places but they leave with some selfies, a branded trinket and a bit of disappointment. They looked… lost".

"I am highly interested in our methods of memory-making and the ways these are digitalized globally.

I wanted to examine, what does it look like when we strip down our dreams and confront ourselveswith the reality of these ‘wonders’ of the world".

Machu Picchu, Peru


Cover Image: Petra, Jordan

    • Valentina Ieva

      Valentina Ieva


      Bari / Italy

      Laureata in Ingegneria edile-architettura, giornalista per professione, web writer per diletto. Amante di architettura, design, fotografia e libri di carta. Dipendente dai social, Instagram e InstaStories su tutti. Affamata di vita, viaggi e storie da scoprire. Qualunque forma d'arte mi affascina da sempre e non posso pensare una vita senza: emozioni forti, immaginazione, buona musica, cucina pugliese, sole e gatti. Per dirla con le parole di Battiato, non potrei vivere senza: ‘un soffio al)