After a week delay, live body painting kicks off in Macon

Phillip Lockwood dabs a brush into a light blue paint splotch on his palette before delicately stroking it onto the leg of a bikini-clad model.

“It’s something new,” said Lockwood’s model, Symone Tufts, “And I wanted to try something new.”

The SoChi Gallery in downtown Macon played host to a unique form of art Friday evening -- live body painting.

The “Dark Eden” event was originally meant to be held last Friday and advertised nude models and free alcohol. However, it was postponed for a week after a Bibb County sheriff’s deputy told the organizers there could not be nudity and alcohol together at a public event.

Daniel Montoute, creator of the event, said dropping the nudity and alcohol was not an issue, nor did it interfere with artistic integrity.

The event, he said, is an attempt at bringing Macon’s art scene to the Atlanta level.

“A lot of great artists go to Atlanta to have shows or to be involved in the arts scene,” he said. “We need to bring it here.”

Montoute added that Macon has “just as much talent, if not more,” as there is in Atlanta.

SoChi Gallery General Manager Marc Childs said the venue wanted to “embrace something that’s new for Macon” to show that the arts are supported here.

“There’s only one strip in Macon,” Childs said, “And that’s Cherry Street.” He added that having events like “Dark Eden” helps “revitalize downtown” and lets people know there’s more to the downtown area than Cherry Street.

About 50 people came out to see an estimated seven to eight artists paint on roughly 20 models. Montoute said he hopes to continue holding more events like these in the future.

“I’m just happy to bring it here,” he said.

To contact writer David Schick, call 744-4382 or find him on Twitter @davidcschick.