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I want to show the world who you are by painting your personality on your skin. Read more

Toronto, Canada Painting
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Funded!

This project was successfully funded on August 15, 2012.

I want to show the world who you are by painting your personality on your skin.

Toronto, Canada Painting
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About this project

The Human Canvas Project

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Subject Kira
Subject Kira

I set out with the Human Canvas Project with the intention of giving my friends unique portraits that showed their beauty in a way that would communicate their tremendous impact on my life. I wanted complete strangers who had never met them to see their images and understand who they were and what they really are. It has since turned into a fascinating study of body image, and our relationships with each other, our bodies and our identities.

Subject Tom
Subject Tom

Many of us remain insecure in who we are, but that is something I'm hoping to change with this project. Body painting is often traditionally used to cover up the body, or to "enhance" a models appeal. With this project I wanted to take a more artistic approach. I want to show who these people are by painting their identities on their skin and I wanted to do it in a way that made them proud and made them feel beautiful about themselves. There's a celebration of who we are as people and how we are seen in the eyes of others.

Subject Chad
Subject Chad

What began as solitary appointments has expanded and has grown to include relationships. So far I've painted friends, strangers, people I worked with, people I acted with, sisters, brothers, couples and best friends... but I'm hoping to expand and be able to capture a much wider range of relationships. 

Subject Georgia
Subject Georgia

The project has also begun to extend into film as well, such as the music video for "Petty Victories" entitled Concrete and Rosy Cheeks.

As someone who has struggled with body issues myself, I've also begun to turn the paint brush on myself to craft images relating to pain, joy and remorse. I feel that by exploring these complicated emotions in a tangible way it has often helped me to sort through overwhelming times.

The project now carries a new mandate. I want to be able to paint more people. More relationships. I'd love to paint every gender, orientation, race and age. We are a diverse people after all and the more I try to diversify the richer this collection will become.

The money I raise from this Kickstarter will be going to three things:

#1 - I am hoping to raise enough money to expand my collection of paints and brushes in an attempt to find something that will be safer to use on the human body without sacrificing the rich and bright colours of the paint.

#2 - I am hoping to craft a 40-60 page hard cover coffee table book that will not only document the creation of the canvases, but will also capture the impressions I had of the experience, both immediate and lasting , as well as  highlights from every persons journal entry to offer a comprehensive account of both of our emotional headspaces.

#3 - I don't want to keep this project a secret and have decided to produce a gallery show which will take place in Toronto later this year. The show would feature roughly 20-30 of my best pictures blown up to a gallery size, would include copies of my book for people to purchase and would also include a live model demonstration of the procedure.

Subject Mark
Subject Mark

Ideally I'd love to take this new expressive form of body painting around to schools and universities to teach the techniques I'm discovering to other artists.  I would love to see this project grow into something bigger and better and hope that you will help me to achieve that. 

I would love to have your help with this endeavor! Please feel free to contact me with any potential questions you have on the process, the project or to be a canvas. Don't hesitate to contact me!

Subject Chris
Subject Chris

FAQ

  • Well... technically I CAN... but it never shows up as well as painting on the body. You'll notice on several canvases there will be splashes of paint on their hair but most of the time it wasn't intentional. It is possible to paint on lighter coloured hair with watercolour paints as it does come out easily, but it is best used in moderation. Plus, there is also hair dye, but that tends to be quite expensive.

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  • I hope so! I'm much more likely to paint someone elderly because children tend to be very impatient and as such, asking one to sit still for 45-60 minutes might be a bit much for them. It comes to the person. It all comes down to the request. If they ask me to paint them, or they say yes to being a part of the project I will gladly do it.

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  • I would love to, but again it comes down to practicalities. Plus, it depends how young the child is. I will not paint a new born because there's always a chance they could ingest the paints which could be a very serious medical emergency. However, given the opportunity, I will gladly paint any relationship I can get.

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  • I really wanted to find a way to capture the personalities and spirit of the people I met on their skin, so that in the future I could see their picture and immediately know what kind of person they were. Normally body painting is used to cover up a person, or to blend them into an existing painting, whereas my project really wanted to focus on making sure the people involved became the work of art. I wanted them to be the center of attention and to showcase exactly who they were to the rest of the world.

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  • I primarily use acrylic paint. I have used other mediums before but oil is too toxic, and watercolour absorbs into the skin too easily. I am hoping that with this kickstarter I can move to a non-toxic body paint that can be worn for hours on end, but up until now, the paint is never on the skin long enough to absorb or cause any damage.

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  • No. Yes. No. I don't know. What?

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    3 backers

    A warm thank you on our website.
    +A free digital wallpaper of the project.
    +A free digital copy of Matti McLean's first book, "Catalyst" plus some previews of his upcoming books
    +A personal phone call or email specifically for you - just in case you feel lonely
    +The opportunity to become a part of this project

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    6 backers

    A 8.5 x 11 glossy or matte print of your favorite picture.
    A magnet set.
    A special postcard with my love.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    9 backers

    5 glossy or matte prints.
    +A soft cover copy of Matti McLean's first book Catalyst as well as previews at his upcoming works

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    1 backer

    +A special "We are the artist" t-shirt designed by Matti
    +A 2013 Calendar featuring Matti's 12 favorite images
    +A special limited edition CD featuring the music of Rebecca Mayes, Petty Victories, Kevin Wong, Another City and many more.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    6 backers

    +A limited edition, special signed hard copy of the book, "The Human Canvas" upon it's completion. A large landscape, glossy paged, hard cover canvas collection complete with a comprehensive listing of the photos, the experiences and all the entries of the journal.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    1 backer

    If you're in the Toronto area you can buy Matti for a night to be your artist of the evening where he will paint you, your friends and/or family, and serve as your painting entertainment. Want to hire me for a school event? Entertainment at a party? Want a teaching session? All are options!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    1 backer

    Matti will paint you a picture and mail it to you for your own private collections! This includes all previous rewards!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,500 or more

    0 backers

    +Matti will fly to you (or fly you to him) to be a part of this project. Explore the local city and see what kind of craziness awaits you when you and the artist figure out the best course of action for your very own canvas project. This level includes dinner, accommodations, and all of the extras you'd want and expect.

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (30 days)