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A Body of Art

By Sophia Carasone

Sparklle Thames, a 2006 Lasell College graduate, is advancing in her career as a fashion designer by becoming an artist of cosmetic self-expression. Designing custom clothing, swimwear, and corsets is among the many ways in which she continues to be involved in the fashion industry.
Through her work, Thames showcases the body “without putting it on display...people do not have to be completely uncovered to be sexy. The sexiest pieces leave it up to your imagination,” said Thames. She describes her style as “the line between sexy and classy.”
 “When I graduated and I started doing a lot of shows, I had no budget, so hiring a makeup artist was not an option,” said Thames. Out of necessity, she taught herself how to apply makeup properly to her models. Preferring to be a makeup artist rather than a designer, Thames attributed her switch to the fact that now “shows aren’t for the benefit of the designers, but for the benefit of the audience…[I] felt more valued as a makeup artist,” said Thames.
Thames did not stop designing; she continues to design custom-made clothing for any interested client. When she participates in fashion shows, however, she no longer displays her designs but instead showcases her makeup talents. When Thames creates a makeup look, her inspiration comes from her love of horror movies and color. She eventually ventured into the world of body paint, where she found a passion for using nude models to convey her vision.
Around two years ago, Thames was one of the makeup artists represented in the RAW Artists Boston Show, a monthly event that showcases various forms of art. The artists have full artistic discretion over what they want to convey and how they wish to convey it. Thames used paint on topless models to portray the “raw” aspect. In no way was it difficult for Thames to find models willing to be topless. In this instance, because the show was in a club, the models had to be twenty-one or older in order to participate.
 “If you are reliable and loyal, and if people believe in your work, they will work with you multiple times,” said Thames.
Most people associate nakedness with vulgarity, but there is a way to show skin and also be beautiful. Although today’s society may not be completely accepting of nudity, Thames disagrees. “The body [is] art, [and] the human body [is] a canvas for art,” said Thames.     
Thames is also involved in “The Slutcracker,” an annual burlesque version of “The Nutcracker,” which shows in Somerville every December. This particular production pushes all kinds of boundaries, as there is a lot of nudity. Having been involved for about four years, Thames is “very careful [as to] how much I promote it on social media.” Under theater constraints, nipples and genitalia cannot be exposed; to address this issue, pasties cover each performer’s nipples.
“The message of ‘The Slutcracker’ is...about women being able to have sexual freedom without slut-shaming,” said Thames. However, many would not agree with the approach and would prefer not to see revealing pictures on social media.
Thames continues to participate in various shows throughout Massachusetts and to express her individuality, as she believes “nudity is art.” Although the human body is a form of beauty, it can become vulgar. As Thames explained, “a woman spread eagled versus the same woman with her legs crossed” portrays two different messages. “The body is my canvas for art,” said Thames.

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