Gives living art a whole new meaning

Her former canvases include Dave Grohl, Pink and some of the Playboy bunnies. Body-painter Melissa Pizzamiglio can now add Oceana Gold Nugget Damon Cleverley to the list.

The US body-painter, teaching make-up artistry at Aoraki Polytechnic, painted a shirt, waistcoat and bow tie on the 190cm tall basketballer during a fundraiser for the Otago Community Hospice yesterday.

Miss Pizzamiglio has been body-painting for about seven years and got her start after taking care of Foo Fighters lead singer Dave Grohl's male grooming for tour photographs.

She said Cleverley "did really well for a first-timer". She would normally have her subjects stand for the process, which could take hours.

Cleverley said the experience was "nerve-racking" at first, because he was not used to being topless in public, and that the paint was "pretty cold", but he enjoyed it in the end.

Team-mates Mark Dickel and Akeem Wright also stripped off and let basketball fans transform them into a gecko-covered wildlife scene and a tiger, respectively.

Wright volunteered to be painted because he "thought it would be cool", but said it tickled and felt cold at the same time, while Dickel just thought it was "a weird feeling".

Meghan Hellyer bid on the right to paint Wright because she was "obsessed with basketball".

"I also thought, instead of watching them play, I could paint them instead," she said.

"It's a bit of a laugh and a good cause."

Otago Highlanders members will be body-painted at the Angus Cafe on Friday as part of Hospice Awareness Week.

ellie.constantine @odt.co.nz

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