Tallahassee’s Painted Ladies: Sexy, Sensory, Super Cool
When Graceyy Mayer was only three, her mom innocently left her alone in the kitchen with some finger paint and hopped in the shower. When she came back minutes later, she found her daughter stripped down and absolutely covered in “warrior princess” designs.
“I was enchantingly intrigued by the idea that you could put artwork on your actual body, and it could physically become a part of you,” Mayer said.
There was no way to tell at that moment, but the youngster covered in bright paint was a sign of things to come; a lifetime of skin doodles and flesh as canvas culminating in a fascinating and colorful combination of beauty, sensuality, and fucking ragers.
Mayer is the brains behind the growing phenomenon of Tallahassee’s Painted Ladies. If you’ve been to an EDM show in north Florida, you’ve probably seen her handywork. Since August of 2010, Mayer has hand-painted women in glow paint for such performers as Diplo and Benny Benassi, has been featured in FSU student films and is a regular addition to shows at Tallahassee’s Engine Room, the place for dance music in Tally.
“I never thought it would become something like this,” Mayer said of the Ladies’ success. “I always just did it for fun.”
Under the paint, the dancing ladies are entirely nude, but Mayer is quick to point out her mission is not to get partiers perked about boobies, but enthralled and jazzed up by the movements of living works of art. And these ladies aren’t erotic dancers. Some are trained, but most are just enthusiastic regulars of the scene who want to be involved, and Mayer works with each girl individually to come up with creative designs and themes that make each girl feel comfortable and beautiful in her own paint-covered skin.
For inspiration, Mayer turns to such artists as Holger Truelzsch, Peter Max, Wes Wilson, and Gustav Klimt, as well as 1960′s go-go dancers and mother nature herself. Growing up as a surfer, Mayer’s work borrows from the flowing structure of leaves and incorporates lots of flowing lines and intricate patterns. But it’s not all premeditated form.
“Things just come to me as I go along,” she said, “the design lets itself unfold.”
Though Mayer does most of the hard work herself; maintaining the facebook page, managing and scheduling appearances, liaising between promoters, she sees the Ladies as a collective between herself, her assistants and her dancers. The Painted Ladies are about celebrating a movement and a culture, about bringing beauty to something much bigger than one person with a brush.
“I just feel lucky that there are dancers who let me paint them, djs who play those addicting beats, and every other single person in the crowd who makes the night unforgettable in the best possible way.”
If you wanna get in on the fun, contact her at gmail, tallahasseepaintedladies, or on facebook. The Painted Ladies aren’t free, but Mayer isn’t looking to build a fortune. She charges for craft and travel expenses, and that’s about it.
“It’s definitely a labor of love for me,” she said, “I love every stroke I sling of that neon glowing liquid.”
And we love it, too. I mean, just look at these pictures below. Shit is crazy, and even cooler in real life.