REAL LIFE

I turn people into art!

Orly takes body painting to a whole new level
  • Talented Orly Faya creates incredible works of art using body paint
  • She’s turned a love of nature into a therapeutic experience for her clients
  • Her beautiful work, which she shares on Instagram @orlyfaya, helps people heal from grief and heartbreak

Here Orly tells her story in her own words

Wind whistled through my hair as I put the finishing touches on my artwork.

Natural, earthy colours danced in the glittering sunlight. It was a wonderful feeling as my paintbrush glided along effortlessly.

I wasn’t painting on a normal canvas, though. I was painting on people!

‘Time for the photo,’ I said, squinting through the camera lens.

My muses, Elena, who was pregnant, and her husband Raffi, relaxed their bodies, smiles spreading across their faces.

I had painted them into their new property, merging them and Elena’s baby belly into their beautiful world.

Elena’s face was a pale blue to match the sky, while their torsos became browns, blues and greens to match the lily pond behind them.

‘It’s amazing, I love it,’ Elena said.

I’d spent years travelling the world to places such as India, Peru and Costa Rica, where I expressed myself through art.

Earlier days had seen me exploring performance and circus arts, but at some point, I reached a crossroad, choosing to nurture the quieter spaces of painting over the glitz and glam of show business.

With a cross-cultural background and a BA in anthropology, my art was destined to focus on humanity and nature.

I started by painting murals, moved on to faces, then finally found my calling painting the human body.

From the moment I first placed a paintbrush onto skin, I fell in love with it.

Nothing like painting on a canvas, it requires another level of gentleness, different ways of layering the paint and mixing the colours.

Plus, humans are alive! We’re sensitive, complex, vulnerable creatures. It takes a fine balance of trust and care to create a therapeutic experience for someone.

Orlay Faya's incredible art
Orly’s work is stunning (Credit: Instagram @orlyfaya)

I painted my first landscape merge on a woman in Israel.

On a summer day at the beach, I stood for hours painting her hair, face, shoulders and breasts to blend into the gorgeous water and sunset behind her.

Seeing the finished piece was amazing for both of us.

Everything we stood for, connecting people with earth, had visually come to life.

I painted people into the landscape all over the world until I made it back to my Aussie homeland.

In the beginning, it could take me up to three hours to finish an artwork. Today I manage to keep it to an hour most of the time.

The outdoor pieces are challenging.

Of course, for my clients, standing nude in the elements isn’t easy! And contending with passers-by can be tricky.

For me, sunlight is harsh on my sensitive eyes because I have a rare condition which causes pigmentation on my retina.

All things considered, I decided to build an indoor studio in Sydney.

I print large photographs of selected landscapes and custom designed backdrops, and paint people into them.

Then, I snap pictures of their camouflaged bodies.

Orly Faya artwork
Orly’s work helps heal her subjects (Credit: Instagram @orlyfaya)

People come to me for all kinds of reasons, such as trauma, heartbreak or grief.

They want to feel beautiful and connect with their true nature.

Some, like Elena and Raffi, celebrate milestones of marriage and pregnancy.

For others, the focus can be body positive art therapy, merging into backdrops such as flowers or surfboards, or even their own art.

It’s a very profound experience.

I learn about my craft every session. Because it’s such an intimate experience, I spend time with my clients before, so we can build a connection, and I can be clear on their intentions.

Setting clear intentions is a core part of the magic of body painting therapy.

After the painting and photography are complete, they wash off, and we share a cup of tea and debrief.

This year, I painted my amazing mum, Sharon, 68, for Mother’s Day.

I blended her into the background of Lake Louise in Canada, the last place she holidayed with my dad, Oren, before he passed.

‘I could literally feel myself becoming one with it all,’ Mum said.

Now, after 10 years, I’m still just as passionate about it as the first day I started.

The creation process and my clients mean so much to me. It takes a lot of energy, but I love every minute of it.

I feel honoured to help people feel happy and tap into their own healing with the strokes of my brush.

Follow Orly on Instagram, @orlyfaya

Orly Faya artwork
Orly’s clients blend into beautiful landscapes and natural backdrops (Credit: Instagram @orlyfaya)

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