Gina Kiel: Putting Bodies on the Line

Creativity knows no bounds. We ask lineal lyricist Gina Kiel about being creative, and some of her forays into the undulating world of body art.

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Gina, how did your creativity begin?
Probably when I was in the womb and my mother played drums in a percussion street band. From there I grew up around a creative family full of artists, illustrators, musicians, writers, actors and designers. I couldn't have possibly avoided it!

You have a very distinctive style - how would you describe it? And, how has it evolved?
This is a hard question, I feel like my style develops and evolves a bit over time. I really like to be versatile while staying true to who I am, which possibly shows through as a distinctive style or a recognisable essence.

Wild & Free series

Wild & Free series

Tell us a bit about your work in body art, how did this come about? What is this medium like to work with?
It's not something I've done a whole lot of so when the opportunity arose to create a piece for a Five Senses themed Affectors show, I jumped at the chance to do something different. As a kid, I actually wanted to be a tattoo artist. I dabbled in tattooing for a very short time and body painting has a similar vibe, without the permanence and the blood, which doesn't bother me - I'm not squeamish. It's the moving, breathing, perfectly imperfect surface that makes it tangible and alive.

Grow, Bloom, Wilt, Die 

Grow, Bloom, Wilt, Die 

Referencing your stunning portraits, where did you get the inspiration for these works?
Photographer Garth Badger and I were working on some photo/illustration images together and one particular photo spoke to me, especially the model Ariel Ulrich's pose and expression, and the beautiful lighting that Garth captured. I worked up a sketch on the photo, and the editor of Remix magazine saw it and we created a spread in their issue #81 which ended up being the cover shot. I love the freedom and the organic process of working with photography in this way. I don't know exactly what will happen until I see the photo.

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Also, what was your inspiration for the Grow, Bloom, Wilt, Die project?
Life, growth and death, the five senses and the opportunity to create something using a variety of mediums, and to work with a bunch of friends who awesomely helped me make it happen.

What has people’s reception to your body artwork been like?
Really great! I think the video of the process helped people understand the project too. I get described as a 'body painter' quite often, as though it's something I do regularly. I'll have to do more of it and live up to the title...

Have you got a project brief that you've really enjoyed?
Creating illustrations for The Wellington Chocolate Factory's different chocolate bar flavours. Working with Inject Design is always a pleasure. Recently Be Genki has commissioned an illustration which I'm working on at the moment. Their brand, philosophy and product is so beautiful, the people are so lovely and they appreciate my creativity. It has to be one of my favourite projects to date!

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Click here to view more work by Gina

Click here to view Grow, Wilt, Bloom, Die