Body painter Gigi Archibeque Stepped Up to the Canvas for This Week's Cover
By Jessica Lopez
The human body is a medium of pure intimacy, immediacy and intuition. And no body painter wants to mess up the outcome.
Gigi Archibeque knows this all too well. A self-taught body/face painter and henna artist, she understands that to achieve a vibrant body piece, it is necessary to truly listen to her client.
“I want to beautify you with a momentary stain that is coming from you, that emanates from you,” she said.
Archibeque identifies as a survivor who is in active recovery. She views art as therapy and a means for catharsis, both for the painter and for the individual being painted. She believes touch is a method of healing that promotes a connection with our humanity.
However, Archibeque isn’t always comfortable in a bustling environment, which is where, most often, her work must take place.
“I tend to be a bit more private,” Archibeque said. “I don’t mind sharing my work, but due to my PTSD I hide my personal work. I usually don’t open up easily.”
Nonetheless, as a working artist and owner of Luna Sirena Body Art by Gigi Archibeque, she is usually found maintaining her livelihood by painting faces at local festivals and various community events.
Archibeque also paints in acrylics, and has been commissioned to create posters, logos and other materials for acclaimed ¡Globalquerque!, New Mexico’s annual celebration of world music and culture, in addition to several other art collectives and productions.
Privately, Archibeque also paints pieces that symbolize the love, loss and resiliency she experiences in her life and in the world around her. Using bold paint strokes and earthen tones like yellow ocher, brick red and umber, she paints through the lens of her cultural chicanisma.
Archibeque may safeguard her privacy, but she is all intellect, passion and compassion. Her combination of intensity and generosity work to elicit such intricate, powerful images both on the body-as-canvas and upon framed canvases.
She’s funny too.
When asked if she had any hesitation in interviewing for a feature article, she said, “Well, I’m trying to be a ‘Yes, Ma’am.’ Everything I fear, I say ‘yes’ to.”
With a hearty chuckle, she deadpanned, “Otherwise, if I don’t face my fears, I’m going to die in a corner of darkness.”
Click here to see more of Archibeque’s work.
Jessica Lopez is a freelance reporter.