The Paper Heart Gallery
750 NW Grand Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona
Chelsea from ASU State Press body paint art by mark greenawalt
January 20th, 2006



Chelsea from ASU State Press body paint art by mark greenawalt

January 2006 brought the 5th Annual "Sex, Drugs, and Rock n' Roll" exhibition held by the Paper Heart Gallery.  I had been asked to do two live bodypainting demonstrations to help kick-off the event.  The first night of the exhibition took place on the last Friday of 2005 (December 30th) when I did a bodypainting of the cover of the Dr. Feelgood album by Motley Crue.  The second painting was on the first Friday of 2006 (January 6th) when I painted graffiti words "Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll" with a brick wall background.  On the third Friday of every month, the Paper Heart has an artist's reception for those artists included in the monthly exhibition.  I was on the fence as to whether I would attend.  Some of my bodypainting photos were on display, but I wasn't really considered one of the displaying artists as much as I was the 'performing artist' who worked on the opening nights.  The scales were tipped, however when Stephanie Berger of the Arizona State University State Press Magazine asked to interview me and indicated that one of my bodypainted images might make the cover.

Stephanie had called on the night before the 'third Friday' event and I suggested that we meet there at the Paper Heart for the interview.  I suggested some of the bodypainting images that I have completed that might be candidates for the cover, but Stephanie informed me that ASU students working for the paper had to take the photographs.  With this new bit of information I offered to do a painting specifically for the cover.  I was fairly certain that I could arrange a model within the 24 hour window before the interview, but alas I was unsuccessful.  I loaded up my paints anyway and headed to the Paper Heart, confident that I would find a volunteer there.

I met Stephanie at the bar.  She was very cute and I half jokingly told her that I wasn't able to find a model and she would have to be the one to get painted.  She laughed like I was crazy, and then mentioned that the photographer that she had brought along might be interested in doing it.  She introduced me to her photographer, a very pretty girl with long auburn hair named Chelsea.  I said to her, "I don't know if you're aware of this, but Stephanie has volunteered you to be the model for the bodypainting."  I expected a reaction similar to Stephanies, but was surprised when she responded, "Sure, I'll do it."  Chelsea had to think through and plan how to use her tripod and the timer features of her camera to be both the model and the photographer.  She made it happen.

I didn't really have any preconceived bodypainting designs in mind when I showed up at the club.  In the parking lot, however, I noticed this large 18' musical note made out of Styrofoam.  I thought this would make a cool prop/background so I brainstormed a moment and decided to paint a musical staff on Chelsea.  For this project I used Mehron paints and Badger airbrush/compressor equipment and had my first opportunity to use my new Alien Bee studio lighting set up.

I was delighted to see that one of Chelsea's pictures (of herself) made it to the cover of the magazine (see below).  There were a couple of articles that mentioned our bodypainting project and I have included all of them below.  It was interesting to read Chelsea's article about her experience of being bodypainted and I thought Stephanie did a great job of including an hours worth of my blabbing into a cohesive story.  Thanks to both of you for working with me on this project.

The following articles are reprinted with permission from
The State Press

Different Strokes

From living canvases to provocative burlesque shows, these Valley artists aim to turn you on, push your buttons and challenge your view of what 'art' really means.

by Stephanie Berger
State Press Magazine, published on Thursday, February 2, 2006

Cover of ASU State Press Magazine from February 06.A scattering of regular patrons mills about the dimly lit room, stopping to chat at the edge of the small stage. Some wander into the side room to view the black and white photos of women in g-strings and oil paintings of two nude women in seductive embraces.

The Paper Heart gallery is calm on this third Thursday of the month. This is the night where the artists who currently have their work on display at the gallery come together, chatting casually at the beer and wine bar. Chatting with them is the gallery's owner, who seems part artist, part rocker with his straight, dark, shoulder-length hair and his bright red jacket.

It would almost be easy to miss the artist working in the corner of the gallery's main room. He examines his equipment briefly, looking over his airbrush, paintbrushes and dozens of different colors of paints. Finally, choosing a white vial, he attaches it to his airbrush and turns to his canvas.

"You can take your clothes off now," he says.

The slim redhead nods and removes her top and bra. She sits in the gallery, naked from the waist up, while the artist begins to spray a light mist of paint over her nipples.

Mark Greenawalt is a body painter. He began taking art lessons at age 9, later sketching and doing oil paintings, and even dabbling in singing and songwriting in Nashville, Tenn. But Greenawalt, a 38-year-old father, husband and vice president of a counsulting engineering firm, found his hobby and passion around five years ago.

He has been painting naked women ever since.

"This is a way for me to really be on the edge of a new frontier, and to help pioneer an art form," Greenawalt says.

But The Paper Heart gallery is no stranger to innovative artists. Stop by on another night of the week and perhaps you'll meet Christy Zandlo, a 27-year-old ballet instructor by day and burlesque dancer by night. Zandlo is a founding member of Scandalesque, a burlesque dance troupe that aims to revive the art form that is taking off in other big cities across the country.

"We do the typical feather fan dance, and there are stripteases," says Zandlo, who goes by the name Pyra Sutra and does tricks with fire for the show. "We don't get nude; it's classy. It's just a tease. We get down to bras and booty shorts, and there's a few numbers involving pasties and a g-string, but it's cute and funny."

The Paper Heart in Phoenix isn't the only place that these erotic artists call home -- their performances and work are featured in shows and galleries throughout the city.

Greenawalt does live body paintings at the Alwun House's annual Exotic Art Show, and Zandlo and crew are frequent performers at local venues.

But what ties these artists together is that Phoenix provides a prime environment-to-be for their cutting edge, boundary-pushing, taboo arts.

"People are developing an interest in the synergy of this city, and what's going on in this area," says Paper Heart owner Scott Sanders. "They want to see more of the arts, and this city really freakin' needs it. Watching Phoenix get to this point is just amazing."

Party Like It's 1949

It's Friday night at Ain't Nobody's Bizness, the gay and lesbian bar known as The Biz in the local lingo. Tonight's theme is "Filthy Gorgeous," and that's exactly what its customers are. With an assortment of naughty Catholic schoolgirls and 80's glam rockers. And with strobe lights spinning and "You Spin Me Right Round (Like A Record)" pumping, the night's set to be an entertaining one.

Enter Scandalesque, the burlesque dance troupe with naughty-yet-innocent fun in mind. With the house lights up, the five women prance on stage in their tiny green silk negligees, their black fishnets and short shorts drawing all kinds of howls and catcalls from the crowd.

"Who's got plans for a bed for three this Valentine's Day?" leader of the pack Zandlo asks, her long, blonde ponytail bobbing as she skips from one audience member to another for a response.

Zandlo's moves come from years of professional ballet training when she was young. But she says she never wanted to be a ballerina. Her favorite musical growing up was "Cabaret," and she says she was always attracted to seductive dance.

"I always loved the cabaret and burlesque dances," Zandlo says. "I loved the showgirls, the whole glamour-and-glitz, and diamonds, and scantily-clad women, and naughty and pretty and glamorous all at the same time."

Zandlo says that a couple of years ago, she was hired to do a Vegas-style showgirls performance at local casinos. When the deal for the performances fell through, she says she finally decided to pursue her dream.

The result is Scandalesque, a burlesque show that celebrates fun, fantasy and the female form.

Popular in the 1930s through the 1960s, burlesque is a form of entertainment that involves variety acts, comedy, singing, dance and striptease.

"The 70s killed burlesque because with the sex revolution, there was nothing to hide," Zandlo says. "Now, strippers make more money, and they're less talented."

Scandalesque's performance involves each woman assuming a character and doing skits and dances based on that persona. There's Fontayne, the glamour queen, and Shynasty, who plays coy and devious. The women, who are all professional dancers, coordinate their own routines and even work on their own costumes, embellishing bras and corsets with rhinestones and beads.

All this attention to detail is praiseworthy, but it's hard to focus on when the women strut their stuff on the floor at The Biz. As Zandlo and company do kicks and bends, covering their torsos suggestively with huge, white-feathered fans, they give the audience occasional peeks of their silver, star-shaped-pasty-covered nipples.

And the crowd really gets wild when one dancer, through a series of suggestive dance moves, spins and twirls, unwraps herself from a full body gauzy covering, revealing a sparkling brown bra and shorts underneath.

Zandlo says she learned many of the tricks of the trade from 27-year-old valley burlesque dancer Lolita Haze. Haze, whose stage name comes from Vladimir Nabokov's novel about a young nymphet, prefers to keep her real name a secret.

Unlike Zandlo, Haze never had professional dance training, but she was always interested in the thin line between sensual dancing and stripping. She performed at the Miss Exotic World competition in 2002, and has been dancing burlesque ever since.

"I was hooked," Haze says.

Haze differentiates her style of burlesque, called classical or traditional, from the neo-burlesque that many dancers practice today.

"Classical burlesque is in the spirit of the golden years of the 40s and 50s, and focuses a lot on beauty and grace," Haze says. "There is no story telling, just me prancing around on stage removing my clothing. Neo-burlesque performers are storytellers. It's less dance and more performance."

Haze says neo-burlesque is helping to expand the art form and arouse interest in a contemporary audience, while the traditional form preserves the history of the dance.

But either way, Haze adds, burlesque is more about entertainment than sex.

"I don't set out to have my acts tingle people in their naughty spots," she says. "I set out to entertain and tingle their imaginations."

A Living Canvas

Mark Greenawalt has never been a dancer, but he's probably painted a few. He says he's painted more than 300 works on bodies ranging from Playboy models to sci-fi convention volunteers to pregnant bellies.

His works range from a full-back painting of a butterfly in every color of the rainbow to a full frontal portrait of Gene Simmons from Kiss, the rockstar's black-and-white painted nose ending right above the model's pierced naval, his bright-red tongue darting downward and ending, suggestively, at the edge of her pubic region.

But Greenawalt insists that his artwork is meant to be taken more for art value than for shock value.

"I know this stuff crosses the border of being erotic, but it's been received in general as art and not pornography," he says. "It's adult in nature, but yet it's not promiscuous."

Greenawalt says he has worked with a few porn stars as models, including Cheyenne Silver, a Vivid Entertainment model and former Penthouse Pet of the Month. But he adds that he turned down an offer to work on a porn movie set because that's not the direction he wants his artwork to take. He prefers to dabble in body painting without pay, and what money he does make is at live, promotional shows put on by companies such as Playboy and Maxim.

He also works at many sci-fi conventions, doing futuristic paintings with themes from comic books and movies such as "The Lord of the Rings" and "Star Wars."

Greenawalt says that he has done some body paintings on male chests, but he has never done a full-body nude painting on a man. He says that all of his commissioned works have been females, and that the ideas he has come up with independently have always centered around the female form.

It seems that there are more people, both females and males, that find the nude female form attractive than there are that find the nude male form attractive," says Greenawalt. He adds that he has seen very little body painting work on naked males, but that he thinks under the right circumstances, he might add some nude male paintings to his portfolio.

Although Greenawalt's job seems glamorous, he says it's hard work. Full body paintings can take up to 5 hours, and can involve both him and his models getting into embarrassing positions, crouching or lifting their legs for some up-close detailing. The business also has its share of challenges, such as painting a body while taking into account that its curves will affect what the image looks like from different angles. Also, because skin is very elastic, Greenawalt says that perfect circles painted while a woman is lying down can turn into ovals when she stands up.

"You have to be flexible and just go with it," he says.

And being flexible may be the key to Greenawalt's success, as his artwork is certainly perceived differently by everyone. He says his two sons don't like it; the 5-year-old thinks it's "yucky" and the 12-year-old does his best to pretend he isn't curious. The boys' mother is also uneasy about her husband's hobby.

"My wife is very supportive, but I think she would be very happy if I gave this up tomorrow, if not today," Greenawalt says.

In addition, while Greenawalt says he has never met with too much criticism, his work does present a topic for feminist debate and discourse.

School of Interdisciplinary Studies senior lecturer Tanya Augsburg says that while her work focuses more on women's self-representation in art, a student in her Interdisciplinary Approaches to Contemporary Art class once gave a presentation on Greenawalt's work. She adds that the students in the class were fascinated by the work and wanted to learn more.

"I do not endorse his work, but I understand its popularity," Augsburg says. "The female body has always been considered a work of art, often an erotic one, and our culture is obsessed with skin."

Augsburg says that while she thinks Greenawalt's work is an objectification of women, that the bigger problem is that women in today's culture are willing to become objectified. "I cannot condemn his work, because it is an expression of our culture, something larger than him," she says.

Augsburg also says that she'd like to see more diversity among the female bodies he paints, because not all women look like models.

But Greenawalt says that at many events he's done, where he offers to paint volunteers for free, women line up for the experience.

"I'm surprised by how many people say they would never do it, but I say, 'Are you sure? We can do it right now,' and you can sense that they want to."

Phoenix's Taboo Future

It's past 1 a.m. and the Paper Heart gallery is shutting down. Someone cuts the main lights, and mutes the hard rock playing on the stereo.

Owner Scott Sanders says that while it may seem cutting edge, the Paper Heart tries to cater to all kinds of artists and types of performances, from film and comedy to music and multicultural arts.

"I try to add diversity to the space," he says. "We don't cater to just one crowd."

Sanders says he doesn't necessarily see his gallery as being taboo because other galleries in the area have also had body painting, burlesque dancing and other controversial performances and displays.

"There's quite a bit of activity happening here along Grand Avenue, and the more that's going on, the more people have an interest in the arts and culture happening downtown," he says.

But he adds that he doesn't see these art forms as being pornographic or too risque.

"Some close-minded individuals don't know what pornography really is," he says. "They need to open their mind a little bit."

Reach the reporter at


Mark Greenawalt with bodypainted model at Paper Heart Gallery.
Local body painter Mark Greenawalt says he enjoys pioneering the art form in the Valley. He created this painting using both an airbrush and traditional paintbrushes.

The women of Scandalesque burlesque troupe.
Chelsea Kent
The woman of the Scandalesque burlesque troupe perform at "Filthy Gorgeous." 


Megan Irwin editor of State Press Magazine.Editorial: From the Edge

by Megan Irwin
State Press Magazine published on Thursday, February 2, 2006

Phoenix is a weird place to live. It's a place where people were never meant to live, and it certainly should never have gotten as large as it has. Yet for all the miles of pavement its citizens have laid across the Valley, they've failed to produce a real cultural center.

At least that's what conventional wisdom and the Valley's many naysayers would have us believe. But after five years here, I've learned that between the storage centers and box-shaped superstores, there actually is some culture to discover here. You just have to know where to look.

In other cities, New York for example, if you want art all you have to do is leave your house. It's there in the street for you. Or if you prefer your art in a frame, you just have to hop on the uptown subway and in minutes you're at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

But what if you want art that's a bit more interactive? After all, there's nothing more frustrating than those tiny yet firm "do not touch" signs hanging all over museums.

Which is why I appreciate what the artists in this week's cover story (Different Strokes, page 8) are doing. In the very traditional sense, these art forms are a bit taboo. But art is at its finest when it's challenging the status quo.

What suprises me is that these art forms are still considered shocking. The women who artist Mark Greenawalt paints represent the female form as beautifully as any John Waterhouse nymph. The difference is that Greenawalt's women are alive, and right in front of you. The viewer can interact with the art, talk to the art, and watch the creative process. The experience is more than pure aesthetic pleasure; it encourages human-to-human interaction. You can't frame it and hang it on the wall, but it's beautiful. And it's just what this conservative, concrete-covered patch of land needs.

Megan Irwin is the editor-in-chief of SPM. Reach the reporter at 


Inset: Living Canvas

A new kind of new modeling

by Chelsea Kent
State Press Magazine published on Thursday, February 2, 2006

Chelsea's face being airbrushed for the State Press Magazine Article.Let me just start by saying that, even for a pretty daring person, my Friday night was quite the adventure. I arrived with a friend at The Paper Heart gallery off 7th Avenue and Grand Avenue in Phoenix with the preconceived notion that the night would be relatively short and definitely painless.

I was planning to meet artist Mark Greenawalt, a local body painter, who looks oddly like a mix between Tom Petty and Dwight Yoakam, and his model in order to shoot a picture for this story.

I could have never imagined that within a few minutes of arriving I would agree to fill in as his model for the night. I soon found myself sitting topless on a stool in front of a group of strangers, or art enthusiasts, as I prefer to think of them.

In searching for a way out I met a few interesting women who all had the same "I would but I know too many of the guys here" excuse. It was obvious that I had to either volunteer myself or risk not getting the shot. So I sat back in a plush lounge chair, enjoyed the local bands playing and awaited my soon-to-be-exposed destiny.

As I sat there thinking about what I was about to do, I was surprised that my only real worries were that I might not get a good self-portrait afterwards and the fact that the room was so cold. Greenawalt gave me the signal that it was time to begin and I fled to the bathroom to do my undressing in private. Armed with only a zip up jacket I marched back into the public room and took my seat on a stool functioning as an easel.

With a quick unzip I became a canvas.

I could feel all eyes on me and I hoped he would quickly cover me with the first layer of paint. My hopes turned to prayers with the first spray from his paint gun -- the feeling of cold wet paint spraying out of an airbrush gun in an already cold room wasn't one I wanted to last forever. But after the first layer of white paint, my skin was completely covered and the only thing I had left to worry about were the goose bumps left behind.

Through the inevitable small talk we made, Greenawalt decided to turn me into sheet music. I have to admit I was relieved -- especially after seeing photographs of some of his previous work. I was happy I would not be turned into the Queen of Hearts or another of his wilder designs. Don't get me wrong, playing Texas hold'em poker with my grandma is a blast, but strip poker isn't my thing.

After several hours and what felt like a thousand brush strokes, the composition was finally complete. I had been turned into a human canvas, covered in twisting sheet music. It was an experience that I will never forget and definitely one that won't be happening again. But hey, at least it ended on a positive note -- pun intended.

-- Chelsea Kent 


Editorial: Defining Art

Arizona State Press published on Thursday, February 2, 2006

Michelangelo's "The David." Bottecelli's "Birth of Venus." The ever-so popular Michelangelo's "The Creation of Adam."

All priceless masterpieces featured in world-renowned museums today.

And all pieces featuring the human body.

Five hundred years have passed since Renaissance artists took their brushes to canvas and sculpted figures from stone and bronze. And in that time, art forms have changed a bit.

Sure, we've still got paintings and statues and the like, and are still interested in seeing those same Renaissance masterpieces. If that weren't true, a lot of museums would be out of business.

But new art forms have also emerged, like the body painting and burlesque shows featured in this week's SPM cover story, "Different Strokes."

These art forms celebrate the human figure in ways that may not have been around in Michelangelo's time, but the artists behind them are just as deserving of praise.

Not that either of these art forms are brand new, although they have been showing up in Phoenix galleries quite a bit lately.

Burlesque shows were popular beginning in the 1930s, featuring women teasing audience members with sensual dances and barely-there costumes.

Different forms of body painting have been around for centuries - just think of henna painting or tattoos. But Paper Heart gallery in Phoenix has been showcasing one artist who paints portraits, designs and pictures on nude models, using their curves as part of the art.

It would be easy to write off these artistic efforts as thinly disguised excuses to showcase sexual material. After all, burlesque can look an awful lot like stripping, and those models being painted are naked!

(Well, they're not really naked - there's so much paint on those models, it's more like they're wearing a thin, form-fitting shirt, really.)

But these are actually carefully crafted exhibitions of a form we're all familiar with - the human body.

And though some people are still uncomfortable with the idea, let alone the image, of nudity in publications, the fact of the matter is that it's only a minor factor in many seriously talented art forms.

Even for those who are reluctant to acknowledge any type of art other than traditional paintings and sculptures, it's obvious that it takes real talent to do what Mark Greenawalt can do. Can you imagine painting someone non-stop for hours on end, and it still resulting in something beautiful?

Neither can we.

But what about burlesque dancers, whose moves we didn't think were physically possible? They too have a raw talent that, regardless of one's idea of what art is, not many people can even learn.

So you thought Shakira could move? Check out these dancers, and you'll see there's even more. 




The following books are available from by clicking on each selection.  Your purchase helps fund this site, so please buy as many as you like and thank you in advance for your support!

cover cover cover

This page has been designed and maintained by FUTURE-CLASS X PUBLISHING.
Unless noted otherwise, Photography and Artwork by Mark Greenawalt c2006

Please send comments to: