ARTS & CULTURE

Artist Uses Body Painting To Blend Nude Models Into New York City Skylines

08/06/2014 01:27 pm ET | Updated Aug 06, 2014

Can you spot the model?

In a new photo series, body painting artist Trina Merry paints nude models into New York City skylines, meticulously blending their body parts into their environments. Though the process takes several hours -- to scout the location and carefully blend the model into the background -- it all boils down to a single moment when the photo is snapped.

Merry, who recently relocated from California, initially conceived the idea for the series when she was trying to answer a friend's question about what New York means to her.

"It's not an easy answer," Merry told The Huffington Post. "It’s totally chaotic here."

While camouflage art is a frequent feature in Merry's body of work -- she previously painted nude models into murals around San Francisco -- the skyline project, which she began in May, is more laborious since the backgrounds are constantly changing.

trina merry

In this July 29, 2014 photo, model Jessica Mellow, left, poses for a final photograph by artist Trina Merry, in the Dumbo neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough of New York.

Settling in Brooklyn not far from the Dumbo waterfront, Merry fell in love with the Wall Street skyline and decided to begin her series about New York and its architecture.

For her first photo, she positioned a model on the rocks along the waterfront with the World Trade Center visible in the background and spent the next few hours using water-based paint to blend her subject's body into the buildings.

"I mark out where the model is standing. Then I mark where I’m going to be to take the final photo," Merry said of her process. "I run back and forth from my perspective point. It takes incredible concentration."

trina merry

After about two to five hours of painting, she settles on a final product.

"When I feel it's near completion and the lighting is right, I take the photo," she told HuffPost.

trina merry

So far, Merry has completed eight photos of models in situated near famous landmarks around the city, including the Brooklyn Bridge and the Guggenheim Museum. But public body painting is not without complication.

"It's kind of an uncontrolled process to step outside the studio," Merry said. "Each painting has a story -- from having to endure thunderstorms to cops stopping me."

While keeping her focus as passersby interject and crowds look on is a challenge, Merry said one of the most difficult aspects of her work is responding to subtle changes in the environment.

"The biggest challenge is as clouds are moving across the sky and the sky changes from gray to blue to white," she explained. For her Central Park snap, she said she had to repaint the model at least 10 times to adjust the painting to color alterations in the storm-stricken sky and reflections on the water.

Head over to Merry's website to view all of her NYC skyline prints.

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