New York artist Trina Merry is best known for her unique style that blends body art with photography. By matching the painted body to and incorporating it into a physical landscape, she blurs the line of reality for both the viewer and the subject. Merry had her subject, UK model Kyle James, pose fully painted in front of Modern Wonders of the World. This “guerrilla-style” approach is common to much of her work, which has been featured in numerous publications, including Time, The New York Times, and Forbes, among many more. 

About this series:

Trina Merry has been juxtaposing the soft flesh of people against architecture and questioning our ideas about permanence through the use of bodypaint.  In this series, Merry travelled to some of the best architecture humankind has created- the Wonders of the World.

Surrounded by the aged at the end of their lives climbing stairs with modified ski poles and honeymooners breezing past sites holding selfie sticks, Merry examines Western tourisms impact on memory making, bucket list dreams, and decaying architecture.

Merry included “wonder" as a part of her process to create these works.  She and her model traveled to each site and took a historical tour of the site, often with a private guide.  

Merry then returned to the site to sit and observe the architecture, decay, energy of the people and effects of tourism on the sites.

Finally Merry returned with her subject to create the work over a period of 1-3 hours onsite, creating and giving energy to the site. 

“Many photographers say they ‘take’ a picture.  At major tourist sites like these, there are masses of visual consumers ‘taking’ from this environment without really appreciating the space or the history and culture of the people who made these structures. Artists are culture makers so I couldn’t approach this trip the same way- we “made” a picture and gave energy back to these places.”

“I really wanted to understand what makes a place ‘great’.  Why do these physical structures go down in history?  I was amazed that, due to the nature of contemporary tourism, so many people idealize these places but they leave with some selfies, a branded trinket and a bit of disappointment.  They looked… lost.”

“Im profoundly interested in the culture of the selfie.  Why are people traveling to these sites for only a brief moment to take a picture and brag to their friends?  It completely isolates the architectural structure from its original meaning, intent and use. I am highly interested in our methods of memory-making and the ways these are digitalized globally.”

“I wanted to examine, what does it look like when we strip down our dreams and confront ourselves with the reality of these ‘wonders’ of the world.”