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Translating love on canvas

New York-based artist Alexander Esguerra invites couples to make love and paint for his artwork .

art and culture Updated: Apr 01, 2012 00:56 IST
Shara Ashraf
Shara Ashraf
Hindustan Times
Alexander Esguerra

One day, artist Alexander Esguerra woke up after a “wild” night of lovemaking and found his room in complete disarray. The moment sparked off an idea: How about translating love on to canvas, the New York-based artist thought. “Often moments like this trigger a creative response in me. I started to imagine how our bodies physically interacted with the space and the objects within it. I visualised every movement, every position touching an object, twisting a sheet, knocking a pillow on the floor, spilling wine, and so forth,” he says. The artist wondered what it would look like if these moments could be captured artistically without a camera.

“I figured paint would do the trick so I decided to give it a shot....on a canvas covered floor,” shares Esguerra, who has been inviting couples to create art after they make passionate love. The couples cover themselves with non-toxic paint, and lie on canvases and make love in a private room in a luxury hotel.

Convincing people to copulate and then paint turned out to be much easier than Esguerra had thought. “People tend to trust me. I am a pretty down-to-earth and my intentions are sincere and genuine. Once I explain that each piece is done in complete privacy, they feel much more at ease,” he says.

Esguerra’s clientele comprises old, young, and even the conservative. “I am quite surprised. Even the older ones are walking in; I love it most when they come. It’s magical seeing them revert to their childhood playfulness. It’s quite beautiful and I love interviewing them and learning their stories,” says the artist.

However, the 30-year-old artist’s Love and Paint package for couples comes with a hefty price tag. A paint and love experience makes you poorer by $2,500 (Rs 1.28 lakh approx). The artist who just had his seventh exhibition of Love and Paint at New York’s famous nightclub, The Box, calls it “hands down the best exhibition to date”. “The space was perfect, the crowd was vibrant like never before, the music was fresh, and everyone felt engaged,” he says. “Art shows are often nothing but white walls, white wine and white people. This was anything but that. There was a line literally down the street and around the block. That’s not bad for a Tuesday night in NY!” adds the artist.

Esguerra says he has always had India on his mind, and would love to visit the country anytime soon.

All about the artist
Alexander Esguerra is a New York-based artist. The 30-year-old has launched a novel art concept - Love and Paint. He invites couples to make love lying on a blank canvas, with non-toxic paint splattered over their bodies. The bodies of the couple become the brushes, and the art they create is displayed for sale at Esguerra's shows. He says his exhibitions break down the taboo associated with sex, and show it for what it is — an act of beauty and love.