On June 6th, over one hundred people went to Times Square, took off all their clothes, and painted a unique message across each of their chests. Why? Simply for the sake of human connection and art, that's why.
The event, known as Body Notes, was organized by Human Connection Arts, a nonprofit organization that is committed to building a community of acceptance through public art. Body Notes was inspired by Subway Therapy's sticky note wall, which gained national popularity after the election by providing people a public outlet for their thoughts.
The volunteer models varied in age, gender, and public nudity experience. Once clothes were shed, full body paint was applied and a box resembling a sticky note was filled in with a message that the model felt compelled to share with the world.
“Body Notes is really an opportunity for people to express themselves both with their bodies but also with their ideas, with their words, their literal words,” said Andy Golub, Founder of Human Connection Arts and Bodypainting Day.
Roger Theriault had “Be Yourself” painted across his chest. Theriault told Salon that so many people suppress their dreams due to worrying about the opinions of others. “People should not worry about what they look like or what people are going to think about them, they should just be themselves,” Theriault said.
The phrase “Be Juicy” covered L.A. Newbegin’s chest and stomach. “Be alive and live in the moment" was her response when asked to define her message. Newbegin is a breast cancer survivor, a life event that was a catalyst for her participation in Body Notes. “I wanted to come out and show that women with differences, scars, breast cancer, any type of disability should also still be proud and love their body. It’s not just about [what] society thinks. You can just be spectacular any way.”
“I think that human expression is something that is so important and it’s lacking in society today. It helps us to be together and to feel connected as a community, but there aren’t a whole lot of opportunities to do it,” said Matthew "Levee" Chavez, the creator of Subway Therapy.
"It all comes down to love," said Eva Mueller, who had the words “love” and “life” splayed across her chest with a heart symbol in-between.