This Guy Paints Anatomically Realistic Body Art
Many artists use their work to explore what makes human beings tick, but medical illustrator and painter Danny Quirk has undertaken that mission quite literally. Using media like latex paint, water color and Sharpies, he creates body art that accurately shows what's going on under our skin.
Quirk uses his work in a wide variety of settings throughout the medical field. This includes lecturing at colleges to presenting at avant-garde seminars where he works with a doctor, dancer and movement specialist to visualize the body's internal movements in a way that he describes as being 'more lively than the cadaver.' We sat down with him to ask him a few questions about his process and got him to share some of his fascinating pieces with us.
MTV News: What got you interested in painting human anatomy?
Danny Quirk: There's always an element of external beauty that draws you in, but I've always found the inner workings to be the most fascinating. When I was about 12, I got an Italian anatomy book at a yard sale. I was absolutely mesmerized by the illustrations. When we were moving my junior year in high school, I found the book and made my senior thesis for AP Art based on the body — relating every day life to the body, and how society parallels the human body.
How did that manifest itself in your college career?
I continued with anatomical work in college, making a series of 'self dissections'... where the subject was peeling back skin, and revealing/discovering aspects of themselves that had stayed hidden out of sight. After college, I started doing work for medical journals and publications, and it was then that I started doing anatomical body painting as a means of learning (and eventually teaching) anatomy on a living, moving canvas!
How long does it take you to complete a painting?
It varies. When painting on paper, the average piece take 50 to 75-plus hours before I feel it has matured to the point of acquiring a signature. For paintings on skin, the average piece takes four to 10 hours, depending on size and complexity. For the body painting, my technique has matured, and I've become exponentially faster at pumping out quality work in a fraction of the time.
How did you learn to paint in this way?
Trial and error, really. In the profession of the arts, the industry is cut-throat on its best day, and to stay alive in the field, you have to find something that works; and when/ if you do, you have to constantly outperform your last (work.) If not, you stagnate and atrophy away.
I work under the mantra of 'Artistic Darwinism.' Each piece is an experiment, a new way to reinvent what worked in previous pieces, a new slate to toss what didn't work (as well) in earlier pieces, and evolve your process to be better... come the next. I'm very hard on myself, and believe firmly in 'be a perfectionist; you're nothing if you're just another.' Pieces are labeled as failures in my eyes if they don't surpass the last, and by being this hard and demanding of myself, I believe that has been the push necessary for growing and bringing something new and different to the table.
Scroll through more of Quirk's incredible work below:Danny Quirk Danny Quirk Danny Quirk Danny Quirk Danny Quirk
And check out a time lapse video of Danny in action here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feqVNp19__s