Trina Merry

TrinaMerry_WEBIt’s hard to forget Trina Merry’s works of art once you’ve seen them. That’s because her canvas of choice is the human body: Merry is a bodypainter. Her models have been painted at C2SV, South First Fridays, and Midsummer Night’s Yelp, to name a few local events. Merry didn’t always paint on models, though. She worked in other mediums while holding down a day job for several years before finally figuring out what she really wanted to do, and eventually started her own business as a bodypainter. “I don’t see myself stopping bodypainting anytime soon,” Merry says.

You didn’t always used to body paint. What did you used to do? I went to school for film. I worked on major Hollywood films and TV shows. I worked on TV sets, I made the environments people lived in. Then I thought I needed a break. I took a sabbatical in Yosemite and began to paint on canvas and found objects.

Why did you make that transition to bodypainting?

I was doing really well and doing sometimes up to nine gallery shows in one month. A lot of people dream about that, but maybe it was over the top. I just saw that I would do really well, but I’d hit a wall in five years creatively. I had just gone to the Guggenheim Museum and saw a Kandinsky exhibit. I decided I didn’t know enough about modern art so I thought I should take some classes. So I could understand why I hated this guy’s work, but I why was connecting to it emotionally. So I took a class, and through that class I learned the difference between popular art and great art. I decided I didn’t want to make popular art, I wanted to make great art.

So I thought bodypainting was a new, contemporary medium, but also our most ancient art form. I thought I could try to push what I wanted to do creatively with body paint.

What’s the difference between great art and popular art?

Great art is about ideas. Popular art is about what everybody likes, like your Thomas Kinkades. Popular art is what appeals to the masses. It’s very aesthetic. A lot of low-brow art falls into that category. Not to say that that there isn’t great art that is low-brow art. I think there is.

Full Interview in Issue FEAST 5.5

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