Bodypainting art up close: 13 questions for Jörg Düsterwald in an interview

Bodypainting Künstler Jörg Düsterwald im Interview

Sit down, grab a cup of tea or coffee. Today I have 30 years of Jörg Düsterwald Art for you!
Be inspired by Jörg’s journey through the world of body art with me in this exclusive interview.

You have now been active as a freelance artist for 30 years. How do you look back on this time?

30 years – you can fit a lot in there! It’s been a long time since I picked up my first ‘official’ brushes. It was an eventful journey, of course. I was able to do a lot of great projects and tasks and was very successful with some of them. But there were also actions and sections that didn’t go well, were just exhausting and pushed me to my lower limits.

And yes, there were times when I wanted to quit. But I enjoyed the painting and designing too much to go back to a white-collar job. It’s a good thing I kept going. I’m very proud of that, someone should copy me first.

Can you tell us how you determine the theme and style for each of your works?

I never actually work on individual pieces. Rather, they are always series – regardless of whether they are canvas paintings or body art – performances. But one thing is always the same: I strive to never produce anything trivial, but always something special.

At best with a wow effect. With every brushstroke I try to tell a story, to evoke emotions. It’s as if I’m whispering into every screen, every action: “Come on, let’s experience something!” And this ‘opposite’ image then whispers back: “Yes, Jörg, let’s do it!”

Think back to your first work “Salza”. How has this freedom to experiment influenced your artistic path?

Haha, the misspelled Salza. Now that you mention it, I immediately have the situation in mind again, what it’s all about, how it came about and how it steered my career path, which I’m still on today. My resulting step into self-employment at the time was risky, but I think it’s great to have done it and, above all, to have persevered.

And since then I have really done a lot: whether it was creating a painting, painting a wall, organizing exhibitions, taking part in competitions, planning events, covering people with body paintings or accepting individual commissions… a lot has really happened!

Of course, not everything was great and there were jobs where I thought to myself: “Oh shit, that wasn’t so clever.” But as you know, you learn from your mistakes – or at least you should. And there were also some really great successes. Moments when you just think “YES!”.

These memories are priceless. It was a mega exciting time and without all these experiments and experiences I wouldn’t be the artist I am today. What comes next, what happens next…? You, a hunch… but I’ll probably do something, I certainly can’t let it go completely.

What about the wall calendars? You’ve been doing them for a long time…

Jou. This has simply become established over the years. The interested parties are simply always enthusiastic about what I do and happy, that I show this in the calendars for a whole year. I sell them nationwide anyway, but there are also international shipping addresses.

Artist Jörg Düsterwald is once again producing an exclusive premium body painting calendar for 2024. In the motifs for his NATURE ART project, he paints and brings together his body art photo models in a sensitive way in natural backdrops so that they merge into a symbiosis. Publication of the calendar by self-publisher in summer 2023

That’s really cool. The calendars are produced in the large DIN A2 format and in top quality – not just a fluttering ‘cheese sheet’, but a real premium product. In terms of content anyway, because the body art photos that can be seen in it have to be created first and for me every single one is a work of art in itself. So every calendar is not just a calendar, but a real treasure.

Jörg, let’s talk about your book. How did you come up with the idea and what can readers expect?

Well, my book. “Bodypainting in Nature – Colorful Symbioses” has become the title because that is exactly what it is about. The illustrated book is based on a long-cherished wish. In my anniversary year 2023 (30 years of artist Düsterwald, 15th calendar, my 60th birthday) I wanted to do something special.

cover photo book nature art bodypainting jörg düsterwald

Something that remains. Okay, my canvas pictures are hardware. But the many body paintings and performances with the models, which are somehow also paintings, are nevertheless like snowflakes: beautiful, unique, but also ephemeral. The photos are what remain. So I thought to myself: why not combine all these memories, all these great works of art that I have created over the years into something real, something tangible?

Et voilà, I started the book project. And I have to earn money with something. I don’t deny at all that this is also a reason for the book. As As a freelance artist, this is not at all easy.

And as my health handicap is also causing me more and more difficulties, making it less and less feasible for me, I hope that the photo book will also carry me through the next few years economically. May it be a joy for all who get their hands on it.

Bodyart artist Jörg Düsterwald is present when his photo book Bodypainting in Nature - Colorful Symbioses is completed for his art project Nature Art in the Integralis bookbindery. Hanover on October 20, 2023

But I digress. So what can readers expect? Well, pretty much everything that has to do with the NATURE ART project series. A feast for the senses – visually and textually, but also an insight into my life and my work as a whole. Either way, it is always interesting and unusual. For everyone – and for fans of body painting anyway.

So the book documents almost exclusively your art project, in which you combine body painting and nature. How is this expressed in your book?

Yes, that’s exactly the point. With this book I take you on a journey into my world of body art and nature. Pictures, pictures and more pictures! With very few exceptions, every bodypainting artwork that was created in nature has made it into this book. It’s the ultimate cross-section of my work – that’s all there is to this project! But of course it would be a bit boring if there were only pictures.

That’s why I’ve also added some of the stories behind the pictures. Making ofs, outtakes, statements from photographers, models, assistants and clients are included as well as background knowledge and explanations about the projects and body painting work in general. Almost 300 pages full of valuable art, stories and information.

Is there a chapter or passage in the book that is particularly close to your heart and that you would like to share with our readers?

Oh, you’ve just touched on a really emotional subject! Yes, they do exist. Now you might think that I would emphasize some supposedly very special set motif. But no. The page that is closest to my heart is the thank you page. For me, this site represents the hugely important support I have received from so many great people. Without all these people, the book – or my artistic path in general – would never have been possible.

Those lines are more than just a ‘thank you’. A bow to all those who have supported me on my journey.

Friends, family, mentors, colleagues, great photographers and of course my wonderful models. Ultimately, they are the real heroines behind my art. Gratitude for what you receive should never be forgotten and should also be shared. I always do this personally, verbally, but I wanted to write it in the book for everyone to see. That was very important to me.

How Does the book reflect your artistic path? Did you have to overcome any hurdles during the writing process and how did you deal with them?

The book is like a mirror that reflects everything I’ve done with nature motifs over the last few decades. It wasn’t that difficult to put together the contents of the book. Apart from a few details that only emerged during the layout process, it was clear to me from the outset what should go in there. But of course there is a lot to consider. The selection of the pictures, the texts and above all the whole basic layout was a lengthy process that I found very difficult.

Once that was in place, everything had to be optimized with a lot of fine-tuning. Every single photo, every I sometimes spent hours tinkering with each individual word. Checking the quality of photos, rewriting lines, rephrasing words, making photos bigger, smaller, here, then like this, then like that, then different, nothing forgotten.

But I wanted to make it BestOf and with a mixture of perseverance, creativity, a bit of madness and a lot of coffee, I managed it. I wanted it that way and I’m glad I went through with it. The book is a blast, full of up-close art and declarations of love for nature.

Does the NATURE project also have anything to do with environmental protection and nature conservation?

Yes, absolutely. Since we humans exist, we are also part of nature. (Not necessarily the other way around). With my works – and of course with the book – I want to remind people how beautiful, valuable and downright spectacular our earth is.

It’s kind of my indirect way of saying to people: “Hey, look how cool it all is here! Let’s not ruin it! ” Even ‘on location’, i.e. out there in the world, in the natural settings of my art, I pay attention to the protection of the respective places. But the whole series is also a tribute to the beauty of the human body and to art itself.

Color selection certainly seems to play an important role in your creative process. Did you also use Senjo Color paints?

But of course. What was that: Good tools/materials are half the work. Of course, I also have many other products on my shelves. Each has its own characteristics and a good mix is helpful. However, airbrushing is not my cup of tea, especially as it is difficult to use outdoors in open terrain. It’s a different story in the studio.

This is where the Senjo BASIC airbrush paints come into their own. They help me, whether it’s with fine gradients or sparkling speckle effects.

Is there a particular project or event that has particularly shaped you as an artist?

You raise a very special point there! Do you remember when I won first place at the 2008 German Championships in Mainz? That was something very special for me – and now it’s getting really personal. Not just because Leonardo da Vinci was exactly ‘my thing’ as my theme motif (the guy was really brilliant), but even more because of the team of 3 with model Mieke and my ex-partner Sunny. A time when this constellation blurred the boundaries between work and private life.

As an artist, there is often simply no separation between these areas of life. I would want to do it again today. (Attention, this is a hidden hint – ladies, I’m on the market :o) In addition, I had been self-employed for 15 years at that time and saw that first placement as a reward for everything I had done so far.

Of course, outsiders didn’t even notice these thoughts. It was just for me – and it was great! A highlight of my career that I always like to think back on and a great boost for many things to come.

What advice would you give aspiring body painting artists based on your experience and knowledge?

Uff – me and giving tips. Sometimes I don’t know exactly what I’m doing myself :o) No, nonsense, it’s not wise to be as resistant to advice as I am. Quite the opposite: stay curious, see what changes in materials and tools are available that could be useful, stay up to date, accept tips and advice, try out variations at least once.

But these are just the practical things. Above all, however, you have to be fully committed to what you do with conviction and passion. Then good things will come out of it. It doesn’t exclude the possibility of quarrelling, uncertainty and doubt, and that’s okay too. The main thing is to be daring.

Look at my book: I had hoped and hoped that I would really do it and that I would actually manage to do it this year – and self-publish it to boot – but it was still unclear. Until, yes, until a few weeks ago, when the books were actually finished in the print shop and bindery and I received the print run. I did it! And that’s super cool! So: Anyone with ideas: Go for it! Do it!

Please tell us about your future projects and creative visions.

Oh, there’s a lot more. Perhaps another book? I’ve actually thought, at least fleetingly and roughly, about writing another book. There were so many other projects besides my NATURE ART that you could easily present one or two more.

As part of his bodypainting art project NATURE ART, body artist Jörg Düsterwald styles his nude model Tatjana with body paint so that she merges with the backdrop, merging human and nature. Photographer Hendrik Penschuck captures the performance at the Lappwaldsee near Helmstedt. Harbke on May 11, 2022

The SPLASH things, for example, are something very special.

And there are also a few new paint ideas. Some of these are still quite vague, others are concrete, but all require appropriate preparatory work and commitment. But you have to be in the right flow for that and nobody is pushing me. I do it when I feel like it, when the circumstances are right, when I feel like it.

I also want to devote more time to my canvas painting series BODYARTWORK: Exhibitions, events, presentations, vernissages,… whatever you can do with paintings. A next calendar in 2025 would also be worth considering.

Actually, I don’t want any more, aaaaabut… ;o) Well, let’s see. And in addition to being an artist, I also have to be a businessman and marketing strategist if I want to continue generating my income with it. There’s always something to do.

Where can you actually get the photo book and the calendar, how much do they both cost and are there any special features?

I’ve always done the calendar anyway, but I’m also self-publishing the book. It’s a bold move, because you have to find your way through the jungle of the book trade, but I wanted to retain full control over what happens to it. I also have a pleasingly large fan base that – without wanting to sound pretentious – will not want to miss out on this admittedly sensational photo book.

In short: I have a calendar and a book. Simply visit my website, where you will find views, information and order forms. Or you can write me an e-mail, call me, send me a carrier pigeon… 😉 Even if you order from real bookstores or online marketplaces, everything always comes from me personally and by hand from my ‘base camp’.

And it is precisely this very personal, 1-to-1 contact with the artist that my customers appreciate. Oh, and to answer your question: the book costs €62.80, the calendar €42.60, both plus packaging and shipping.

And to make it even more personal, I also offer extra copies with a signature and individual dedication for a small surcharge.

Studio Jörg Düsterwald Hamelin

Thank you Jörg, it was really interesting with you!
I think you have motivated some (bodypainting) artists to boldly push ahead with their own projects.

Bodypainting Buch Joerg Duesterwald
And thanks for the book 🙂

About Senjo Peter 294 Articles
Seit 1992 in der Welt der Körperfarben unterwegs. Mit versorgte ich die ersten Bodypainting Künstlerfreunde mit Farben seit 1998. Bis 2009 endlich die Marke Senjo Color daraus geboren wurde.

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