San Francisco Body Painting Day 2016-10-23

On Sunday October 23rd, a group of talented artists painted 25 nude models outside Ferry Building. The models were all shapes and sizes promoting body acceptance as well as human connection through art. The theme "Inner Beauty" encouraged artists to look to the inner spirit of their models for inspiration.

About Bodypainting Day

Bodypainting Day is organized and founded by NYC artist Andy Golub who has been painting bodies in the public streets of NYC since 2007. Bodypainting Day started in 2014 in New York City and is now sharing his art in cities around the world, including Amsterdam, Brussels and now in San Francisco.

Photographer's experience

On my arrival at the event site on the Embarcadero about 10:45 am, there was already a line of people signing up at a registration desk, the prospective painters and models who would be active here until close to 3 pm.

A few painters and organizers had come from New York, being part of NYC artist Andy Golub's group. Painting stations were laid out, together with Kryolan paints and paint brushes, and from the speed of their work it was evident that talent and experience was present in abundance.

Local publicity in various media had attracted plenty of spectators who from the sidewalk aimed their multitude of cameras at the nude models, of which there were both males and females. Also some of the models came from around the nation, willing to pose in the first such event staged in the U.S.

The organizers provided bottled water and pizza, easily available in the nearby mall of the Ferry Building. It became crowded when a number of spectators spilled inside the delimited area of models and painters, and organizers had to chase them outside roped-off sections, in order to have sufficient working space. After I identified myself as the photographer covering both WNBR, Anti-nudity protests, Bay to Breakers, etc. in San Francisco, the leader Andy Golub apologized for not knowing who I was. I also told him that pictures and some text from this event would go out to the nudist magazines around the world. When I mentioned England, he said that was the next place they would attempt to stage a Body Painting Day.

About a quarter to 3 pm a large motor boat designated San Francisco Police sailed close to our area of work and notified us that we now had only another ten minutes left before having to pack up and leave. Now there was frantic activity to finish any painting details, and then to get some group pictures. Andy Golub did his best to quickly get this organized, and afterward the whole group was supposed to walk along the sidewalk to Fisherman's Wharf, mixed with the crowds of tourists. I told him the models would be almost lost among the sidewalk crowds, but he just said, don't worry about it.

The models were then diverted to another pier, closed off to the crowds, and I went home.

Leif Heilberg, October 2016.

All photographs taken by Leif Heilberg, Viking Photography Inc.,

Find out more about Andy Golub, founder of Bodypainting Day.

Share this page


The site is just south of the Ferry Building in San Francisco. Early in 2016 Sinbad's Restaurant was located on the site, but it was torn down so the ferry terminal boarding area could be expanded.

Add a comment

Please enter the letters in the picture into the right hand box