WILLIAMSBURG — Body painting's nudity aspect may elicit thoughts of sex for many, but one artist is on a mission to expand people's minds.
Danny Setiawan, the artist at Long Island City's DenArt body painting studio, has been throwing monthly interactive body painting parties in Williamsburg in hopes of helping people become more comfortable with the concept of body painting.
Full nudity's not allowed, but partiers can opt to go topless and have "tasteful" and "beautiful" designs painted to cover private regions, according to the event description.
"It's really just an art form," Setiawan said. "The nudity is there, but it doesn't always have to be associated with sex. It's also for people to be more comfortable with their bodies."
Setiawan has been painting bodies at the DenArt studio and at events since 2010, and he always gets asked questions like, "You get laid a lot, huh?"
But for Setiawan, it's about expressing a person's story and "enjoying the expressive nature of the body," adding that the nudity eventually no longer becomes a novelty, he said.
The safe, communal atmosphere of a party encourages people to start exploring painting bodies or having their own bodies painted, such as by starting with just getting an arm painted, Setiawan said.
Sessions with Setiawan will cost $175 at the party, but several amateur artists will be on hand to paint on bodies without the extra cost.
"A lot of people want to do it, but there are a lot of body image issues," he said. "This is an opportunity for people to take baby steps."
Body painting has gotten more attention in past years.
Yet, Setiawan said actually getting painted still seems very limited to the arts or Burning Man communities due to a sexual stigma, similar to the way tattoos were once more stigmatized.
He plans on hosting the party every month to help bring the concept more to the mainstream.
"The main thing we do is give people the opportunity to play with this new medium," he said.