Taking your clothes off in the name of body positivity during summer is one thing. But a brave group of models will do just that in the middle of Times Square this wintry weekend.
The first-ever Polar Bear Paint is going down on Saturday, Feb. 10, in the middle of what’s been one of the coldest winters on record in the city.
The event is a way to keep the body painting message of positivity in the spotlight even during the winter months, says Andy Golub, who’s been organizing New York’s mid-July tradition of Bodypainting Day since 2014.
“We are doing a series of studio paintings,” where three or more models make up one canvas, he tells Metro. “But I also figured that so many of our models are always up for a new challenge.”
Though there are usually a couple hundred models painted during the summer, only about 25 men and women will take part in Polar Bear Paint. While toplessness is legal in New York, full nudity is allowed for artistic productions.
All of the models are volunteers, and if you’re feeling up to the event’s description as “an experience for people who like to challenge themselves physically and spiritually,” there are still slots available for Saturday’s event. The only requirement is that you’re at least 18 years old; models are also asked to contribute $30 to cover fees like studio rental, artists and security.
Instead of everything happening in public as usual, the models will be painted in a studio. Then they’ll make the 15-minute walk to Times Square to pose for photos on the bleachers at 47th Street and Broadway at 4 p.m. — “snow or shine.”
“The theme for this event and for 2018 is Movement,” says Golub, who founded Human Connection Arts to coordinate body-painting events around the world. “First of all, our painted models become canvases that actually move. Also, Human Connection Arts is in a way a movement. We support accepting all people and don’t discriminate or judge people regardless of how big or small, male or female, gay or straight, conservative or liberal.”
Coinciding with Fashion Week is just that, a coincidence. Golub is not against clothing, just how we tend to use it: as a way to hide what we see as flaws, as opposed to another way to express ourselves.
“I just think it’s best to not feel shame towards our bodies, because that’s who we are,” he says.
As far as putting his own bare butt on the line, Golub is usually one of the people doing the painting. “I did get painted once. It was a little awkward,” he acknowledges. “I think I’m best behind the brush.”