Almost Getting Arrested for the Sake of ART!

I met up with Benji Schwimmer on Tuesday morning at my hotel in L.A. We took a few minutes to get to know each other, but it was obvious that we were best friends maybe even family in a past life. Our plan was to paint the iconic Randy’s Donuts in L.A. which Benji was super down to do. Before we left he said “Natalie, in the future when you come back I’d like to commission you to paint me in front of the Mormon Temple”. You see Benji was raised Mormon. He was a loyal and active member of the church for 27 years! But there was one thing in the way of him being fully accepted in the church… Benji is gay. And the Mormon church sees that as just another “problem” or “sin” that needs to be fixed. Benji for that reason is no longer a member of the Mormon Church. And in my opinion any church who doesn’t accept you for your race, gender, or sexuality is no church for me. So I said, ” Benji! Screw the donut shop we’re going to church!” And that’s just what we did! We arrive to a beautiful temple covered in signs that say “everyone is welcome here” which did not end up being the case. We took a tour with Elder so and so, where he proceeded to tell us “We believe everyone is created equal” and  “we’re all the same in the eyes of the lord”. I wonder if he thought I was possessed by how hard I was rolling my eyes? Anyways, next we gathered our supplies and headed out in front of the church to paint. And not even 10 minutes later we’re kicking kicked off the lawn, and notified that the cops have been called as per request of the President of the Temple!! Hahah, little did they know that they added the key creative element to this piece, how did I not think of this!!?? The fence! Not that we were kicked out we had to finish with the fence in the photo. I love symbolism. I hope you enjoy this piece as much as I do, the story makes it even better! The paint job isn’t perfect, nothing is, but that day was priceless, I now see that this project is definitely going to evolve. As long as I continue to be open and making it about the model. That’s the best thing about body art!! 2 creative minds are better than one, Love you Benji!!



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