Nipple Riot at Upfest

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Nipple Riot at Upfest

Recently, I was invited to paint a piece at the famous Upfest in Bristol (UK). The Upfest is one of the biggest Street Art festivals in Europe and it was a truly great experience.

Because of the very high numbers of visitors coming to this festival (~ 30.000) I wanted to do an experiment and see how people would react to the image I painted. For that I chose a photo-realistic image of the ‘Venus of Milo’ a statue displayed in the Louvre. I wanted to create something that looks like a photo of a real person. When looking at art the public is more open and liberal than when looking at pictures of real people. For example the display of female nipples is prohibited on social media if they are “real” but not when the subject is a piece of art.

But where is the point where one becomes the other and what if a well-known piece of art becomes a real person? What do you think?

During the festival I first painted the upper body, then the skirt and then the beanie. When I painted the latter I heard cheering from a small group of young women standing behind me… … that was pretty much the only open reaction that I witnessed, apart from the many people (mainly men) that explicitly would not take pictures or even glance on my work while photographing the work of my neighbors.

The full description of this piece can be found here.