Interview with John Poppleton – bodypainter and “Jack of all trades”

Interview with John Poppleton – bodypainter and “Jack of all trades”

In the following interview with John Poppleton you will find out how to make art which is truly delightful and treetastic! An artist that is inspired by nature. Check-out his youtube channel as well!

Hello John, who are you and why did you start with body-painting?

I’m a creative “Jack of all trades” that has always strived to be different. I never planned on becoming a body painter, I was just a stressed out wedding photographer that wanted to have more creative freedom. After twenty years of weddings I decided I would rather be a “starving artist” doing what made me happy than to work with Bridezilla just to pay the bills. In the beginning it just started out as an idea to buy a blacklight to experiment with my photography. It took about three years for it to evolve into the UV bodypainting (“Bodyscapes”) that I’ve become known for today.

Your art is quite different. You use black-light. Can you explain the way you make your art? Do you paint while the blacklight is on?

Yes, it’s different and I think that’s why it has become so successful, not because I’m a master painter but because no one else was doing it. The paint and the process is also very different. It falls under the properties of light rather than pigments. A paint that looks almost black in regular light can look almost white in UV (blacklight) so it’s imperative that it all be done under blacklight. When photographing the final painting I’ll introduce visible lights to enhance the body and hair but the painting is lit only with UV.

How long does it take to make a new piece of art?

The painting process has ranged anywhere from ninety seconds while practicing for America’s Got Talent, to ten hours for a full body nebula but most average about two hours. Tree branches are what take the most time. Evergreens can be stamped out pretty fast and palm trees a little longer but all the branches of deciduous trees without leaves can take forever. Once I tried painting one big tree from head to toe that took eight hours and still could have used more branches but the “canvas” and myself were both too worn out to do any more.

How do you decide that a painting is finished?

That’s always the hardest part. I always feel like I need to add more but can’t decide what. I probably overthink it too much. When I look back at past work my favorites are often the simple ones.

Do you also have a movie how you create your art?

I have lots of videos on my YouTube channel of me painting but if you mean instructional videos like Bob Ross I haven’t yet. I’m okay being in front of the camera but haven’t gotten comfortable talking to the camera yet.

Trees seem to be important in your life… do you hug trees?

Yes, and I have long arms. During the warmer months I even spend a number of days living in the trees from my Tentsile Tree Tent. There’s something magical about trees and as you can see from my paintings I love trees silhouetted against colorful sunset skies.

Did you ever make a painting of a treehugger?

I’ve painted lots of trees and I’ve painted trees on tree huggers but I haven’t had the chance to paint someone hugging a tree yet. I do have a faerie from my fantasy portrait line hugging a tree though.

Would you be able to make a painting on several bodies at the same time?

Something like this:
I’ve painted scenes on multiple bodies lots of times but nothing that creative.


Which NGO do you support?

I don’t have a favorite but I’ve used my art to help a few local groups including Search & Rescue, The Humane Society and CAPSA, a local organization that helps abused women and children.

What are your plans for the future?

I get bored easily and I’m always looking for new ways to be creative. There’s no telling what I might be doing tomorrow. As for the UV Bodyscapes I’ll be doing a live exhibit with paintings on twenty to thirty models in Texas (the exact location and date still haven’t been set) and the biggest event on the calendar is doing a large commissioned series of Australian scenes for a six month long festival starting Oct of 2020 celebrating the 250 year anniversary of Captain Cook’s discovery of Australia. That will keep me pretty busy for the next two years.
Love & Blessings!

Thank you for your time and your treetatic art! And merry Christmas!

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