The Backstory Behind Bodypainting Day

Bodypainting Day is a natural progression of Andy Golub‘s art. Before Andy ever painted on a nude body, he painted many objects including rocks, hats, tables, cars and mannequins.
Painted Lexus By Andy Golub

Painted Lexus By Andy Golub

The various shapes inspired art that he never would have created on a flat canvas. These paintings were collaborations with the object itself.
Andy began painting bodies in 2007 and it took his work to a new level. Now that the objects were actually alive, Andy could connect with the model’s personality as well as their form to help inspire the art. After a series of studio shoots, it seemed only natural to Andy to share this unique process with the public.
Body Painted Girls

Body Painted Girls

In 2009, Andy was kicked out of Times Square while painting a male and female model, wearing G-strings. Andy didn’t know what his legal rights were, so he contacted civil rights attorney, Ron Kuby. Kuby explained that not only was his work legal, but it would still be legal even if the models were completely nude.
Kuby advised Andy that there remains the possibility of arrest, albeit a false one. After a week of serious contemplation, Andy was resolved that he would no longer back down to police for his body painting, even if it meant the risk of arrest.
The first time that Andy painted fully nude models was in 2011. After several hours of painting, police arrested him along with his two female models. They spent over 25 hours in jail. Coincidentally, Andy had an interview with the New York Post the following day. Andy’s art and arrest became a big NYC news story.
Andy Golub Gets Arrested In NYC

Andy Golub Gets Arrested In NYC

One month later, the NYC legal department informed Kuby that despite the earlier arrest, that it was in fact legal for Golub to paint fully nude models in public. Kuby informed the city of Andy’s next scheduled body painting. Although police were instructed not to arrest, model Zoe West was taken away in handcuffs anyway! West, later received $15,000 in a settlement with the city.
In 2011, as charges against Andy were dismissed, the District Attorney warned him that full nude body painting would only be tolerated at night. There was no legal basis for this restriction. In the summer of 2013, with the help of the New York Civil Liberties Union, the nighttime-only restriction was rescinded. The city acknowledged that Andy could paint fully nude men or women, day or night, on any public street of New York City.
Body Painted Couple By The Guggenheim

Body Painted Couple By The Guggenheim

In 2013, Andy was busy. He painted models in Times Square outside of the Apple Store, the Guggenheim Museum, a group of 10 models on Broadway, which landed him as the subject of David Letterman’s Top Ten List.
Other body painters began approaching Andy about painting together, so he decided to make a NYC Bodypainting Day. Young Naturists America helped organize the event along with body painter Craig Tracy. The event celebrated the unique art form of body painting, freedom of artistic expression and freedom of artistic nudity in New York City.
In 2014, 30 artists from around the country painted 40 fully nude models in the public streets at Columbus Circle. In 2015, the event doubled in size and was expanded to the city of Amsterdam. 2016 promises to be even bigger with some new cities on the horizon.