Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Nude Nite had a stellar opening night.

Nude Nite is a dazzling art and entertainment event celebrating the beauty of the nude. It brings together hundreds of artists for three evenings of visual art, performance and a cast of characters both in costume and out. Open to the public, tickets can be purchased at the door. This year the event took over an empty warehouse at 5051 LB McLeod Rd. Orlando FL. Tree trunks outside the venue gave a visual clue that you had arrived along with the line of cars waiting to park. Valet parking is $10 so I drove down the road a distance to find self parking.

Once inside, I quickly walked around searching for a subject to sketch. Since most performers were nude or partly nude, the choices were overwhelming. On a stage with butterfly wings as a backdrop, a figure squirmed inside a dark fabric cocoon. Later in the evening she was free of the cocoon and gracefully flapping her wings. There was a staging area for Marla E. Artist who began a life sized nude painting of a nude female model on one of her thick impasto canvases.

In the furthest reaches of the warehouse, I found these two men hard at work. A large ball of electric wiring sat between them. They were pealing away the plastic casings from wires to expose the inner copper wire. The copper wire was then cut into one foot lengths and stacked in a neat pile. A video camera taped the whole process and a black and white projection filled the back wall. As I sketched, I realized that the projection showed a different time. It didn't sync with the live action performance. What does it all mean? Who knows. Art I guess. The crowds weren't too dense on opening night, but I'm always amazed at how many people are shooting photos. You can tell the amateurs with their red laser beams and flashes. They should learn to sketch, it is far less disruptive.

After my sketch was done, I packed up to get right back home. As I left, there was a huge crowd with their cell phones raised to take photos of some unfolding action. Linda Saracino who was with her friend Lillian Verkins explained that there was a clothed couple standing on display in front of the mob. People standing in line were given a chance to take a pair of scissors and cut away a one inch square of fabric. As each square was removed, the couple was slowly unclothed. I would think two strategic snips could make the outfits quickly fall to the floor, but I suppose the cuts were supervised in a grid pattern. I never did see over the crowd to find out. Before I left, I was once again tempted by a sketch opportunity when I saw a nude woman painted silver and elevated on stilts which were hidden under a graceful silver skirt. She was Voguing for photographers however which made her an unpredictable twisting turning subject to sketch. Oh well perhaps I'll catch her tomorrow night. Parking near a large event like this I always fear that my car might get towed for profit. Thankfully it was where I left it.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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