Artist John Poppleton combines his love of painting and his knowledge of photography to create stunning landscapes that glow under black light. But the cynosure of his work isn’t the painting itself, it’s the unusual canvas he paints on – the human body!
Poppleton’s Bodyscapes feature mesmerizing scenes – right from summery African savannas to electric lighting storms – on the soft curves of the human form. The breathtaking images usually span out from the model’s back, branching out on to the arms, legs, neck, and even the head. He mostly uses female models, but some of his paintings are done on men as well.
“Like most artists over the ages I feel the female form is just more pleasing to look at in art,” Poppleton told A Plus. “I could use the excuse that it’s because I’m a man attracted to the opposite sex but even female body painters prefer to paint on women over men.”
The idea came to Poppleton early one morning in 2010, when he happened to be sitting in a hotel bed. He was a professional photographer at the time, “stuck in wedding and portrait photography for more than 20 years,” by his own admission. But that morning his lifelong fascination of black lights, the human body, and the world around him “unexpectedly collided.” The result: Bodyscapes.
Poppleton spends anywhere between 15 minutes and three-and-a-half hours to paint each canvas. “Coming from a photographic background I want my paintings to be as photo realistic as possible,” he told Bored Panda. “In a darkened studio, while painting with UV body paint under the illumination of the black light, I’m literally painting with light. From the artist’s perspective, it becomes a very surreal, even spiritual experience.”
His unique style and the type of scenes that he chooses to paint have earned Poppleton the title ‘Bob Ross of Black Light Body Painting’.