Examples of Body Art
The first art to come to mind when thinking about body art is, naturally, tattoos. See how I automatically pluralized tattoos? Apparently, tattoos are addictive, at least what I have heard. Well, maybe more than what I have heard. Until three years ago, I had never had a tattoo artist imprint their creativity on my body. But once I did, it was within a year that I got my second tattoo. Last week, I made an appointment to get my third!
By definition, body art is a unique form of artistic expression that involves modifying or enhancing one’s body to create visually stunning and meaningful designs.
To date, I have experimented with the following body art:
- Face painting
- Cosmetic tattooing (permanent makeup)
- Fashion clothing
- Body painting
And here’s one I didn’t even consider as body art…cutting, styling, or dying one’s hair! Well, that includes many of us women, especially when it comes to those over thirty-five wanting to cover up resistant grays!
Let me not forget to mention my dear friend in the Detroit Michigan area who creates and designs beautiful Indigenous jewelry that is truly a work of art and a labor of love at the same time. Native American beadwork is another distinct form of art that can be worn or adorned. Native American body art is a prime example of body art that reflects cultural traditions and incorporates natural materials harmoniously and creatively. Let’s explore more of that…
Native American art characteristics
As my children grow into their teenage years, I no longer watch PBS for Sesame Street; I watch it for the programming my mother used to watch, which I thought was “so boring.” Now I love those programs! In fact, a program called “NATIVE AMERICA Women Rule” on PBS sparked my interest in Indigenous body art.
PBS does a great job of showcasing the diverse ways Native women carry forward deep traditions to better their communities, lands, and the world. An indigenous artist named Jamie Okuma was most interesting to me as she reminded me about how fashion is body art.
Okuma took a pair of shoes and went to work on her craft by hand. She beaded every single inch of those shoes, and wow, they are stunning. In fact, she has a whole line of footwear she was asked about. Okuma told Footwear News, “I was shopping on Yoox, and mom said, ‘Too bad there isn’t a way for you to combine your shopping issue with what you do,” said Okuma. “We wondered if I could actually bead on ultra-luxe shoes and boots. So I gambled on a pair of Christian Louboutins, not knowing if I could pull it off or if I was going to destroy a $900 pair of shoes.”
Okuma specializes in one-of-a-kind pieces that are hand-executed exclusively by the artist herself in all details of the process while also designing ready-to-wear fashion.
Some of the characteristics of Native American/indigenous art that transcend cultural and geographical differences are the artists all strive to create a sense of harmony, or order, in their works. Using geometric shapes and symbols, animals, and even abstraction was also a means of communication with their Creator.
According to Britannica, “There is virtually no natural medium that has not been explored and mastered by the American Indian: jade, turquoise, shell, metals, stone, milkweed fiber, birch bark, porcupine quills, deer hair, llama dung, sea lion whiskers—all were used by the artist to lend color or texture to the finished product.”
Britannica went on to note, “The relationship between material and design in American Indian art was quite different from that in the Western tradition…the American Indian painter and sculptor were less likely to force their materials to conform to a preconceived design. They tended instead to adapt their design to the natural outlines of their materials, which often happened to be a complete and, therefore, irregular buffalo hide, a tree branch, or a stone. This naturalism is one of the most pleasing aspects of American Indian art and often demonstrates the artist’s remarkable ability to incorporate the natural form into the composition.”
How do you identify Native American art?
By its appearance: Authentic Native American art is handmade and will have visual variations among the same items. No two items will be exactly the same. It is worth noting that identifying Native American art requires research and knowledge of specific tribes and regions.
Each tribe possesses its own distinct artistic traditions and cultural symbolism, making it essential to familiarize oneself with their particular styles, techniques, and materials. Consulting experts, visiting museums, or engaging with Native American communities can provide valuable insights and guidance in accurately identifying and appreciating authentic Native American art.
Native American beadwork is another distinct form of art that varies in design, technique, and materials depending on the tribe or region. Different tribes utilize different bead materials, such as glass, bone, or shell, to create intricate patterns and designs on clothing, accessories, and ceremonial regalia. Recognizing the specific bead materials used and the traditional patterns associated with each tribe can aid in identifying authentic Native American beadwork.
Furthermore, using natural materials such as feathers, animal hides, clay, and natural pigments in Native American art can also provide clues for identification. By understanding the traditional materials used by specific tribes, one can differentiate genuine Native American art from mass-produced replicas or non-authentic pieces.
It is worth noting that identifying Native American art requires research and knowledge of specific tribes and regions. Each tribe possesses its own distinct artistic traditions and cultural symbolism, making it essential to familiarize oneself with their particular styles, techniques, and materials. Consulting experts, visiting museums, or engaging with Native American communities can provide valuable insights and guidance in accurately identifying and appreciating authentic Native American art.
Examples of body art
In conclusion, body art represents a unique artistic expression that allows individuals to modify and enhance their bodies in visually stunning and meaningful ways. From tattoos and piercings to henna and body painting, there is a wide range of body art forms that people engage in.
By exploring and understanding the diverse world of body art, we can further appreciate the beauty and significance of this unique art form.
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