You’ll have to look really close at this picture of a beautiful parrot to realize that it’s not a parrot at all. The rich red-and-gold plumes are, in fact, a woman’s limbs painted to perfection. The incredibly clever photograph is the work of 35-year-old body painter Johannes Stoetter. The artist, who lives in Italy, spent four long weeks planning the transformation of a female model into a hauntingly realistic parrot. The actual painting work took him about four hours to complete and he spent another hour positioning the model on a tree stump before clicking a series of photographs.
Stoetter’s photographs form the perfect illusion. But if you observe carefully, the head of the parrot is actually the woman’s left arm wrapped around her head. The wings are formed by her right leg and arm, while her outstretched left leg is made to resemble the tail. Stoetter said that he chose to have the model sit on a tree stump to enhance the life-like appearance. As you can imagine, the entire process was quite complicated and painstaking.
“It was quite hard to take the photo, to tell the model how to pose to make the parrot seem as real as possible and also to find the right point of view for me to take the photo,” said Stoetter. “It was not easy for the model to hold the position either. The whole process took about four weeks from start to finish.” Although it was tiresome, the artist said that it is immensely satisfying, especially when people compliment him for a nice picture of a parrot.
“I feel very happy with the final work. Most people’s reactions are ‘nice photo of a parrot, where did you photograph it?'” Stoetter said that even some of his closest friends who are familiar with his art could not tell the difference. “When they found out, they were really amazed, stunned and surprised.”
“Body painting is special because the artwork is alive and can move,” he said. “While a canvas painting lasts forever, a body painting exists only for a few hours” Nature is his inspiration and he believes that the secret of good work is to always have a love for it. “I think and observe the world, nature, colors and shapes with very clear eyes and an open heart. And painting is my big passion.”
Stoetter was declared Body Painting Champion at the World Body Painting Festival in 2012. This isn’t the first time the brilliant artist has created something like the human parrot. Last year, he made a life-like tree frog by painting on the bodies of five different models. He has also painted human heads to resemble melons and pineapples, and camouflaged a model to look like a pile of leaves. One of his best body paintings features a transparent woman against a tree. Like I said, brilliant!