|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.
How do the models
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.
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."
sells many of his paintings through galleries and on his
One of Philip's