Daily Tedium

A New Coat of Paint

The story of a body painter and storyteller who’s bouncing back in a big way after a major health scare. This creative spirit can’t be stopped so easily.

By Ernie Smith

Last year, Anthony Dortch suffered a major personal setback—surviving a stroke at a young age.

This health struggle threatened to stop Dortch, a Washington, D.C.-based artist, from following his muse, a muse that he’s followed for years with a long-term creative project that’s taken on many layers. Quite literally, in fact.

See, Dortch’s art literally involves painting people to and making them, effectively, into comic book characters—each in different colors to represent different walks of life, with elements of his storytelling highlighting issues of race, gender and sexuality.

Tony Dortch Pure

Dortch, shown bottom left, with just some of his collaborators. (via the artist's Facebook page)

The overarching work, PURE, led him down many varied paths creatively. Not too long ago, for example, he created a set of comic books that mix live photography and body art with creative visuals that give the work an air of fantasy—a style known in the world of comics as fumetti. It’s also, at times, moved into the realm of video:

“I do graphic design, photography, the body paint and the storytelling along with short videos that showcase The Pure,” Dortch explained in an interview with Nerd Caliber last year. “What really helps me to go forward is my fan network and my fans are also the people in The Pure. They constantly push me to continue this.”

Dortch’s vision is the kind of thing that moves beyond his idea board, too. He often works with numerous other types of artists—painters, photographers, videographers, designers, a whole community of crew members on the different shoots he’s done in different locations—to build out this vision. It may be his art, but it’s got a wide array of fingerprints all over it.

The stroke, at one point, threatened to stop this community of work. But it didn’t, and a big part of that were those fans. As a result, Dortch just announced a Kickstarter campaign for a full-length movie. In the day or so that he’s had the campaign going, he’s raised more than a quarter of his base $5,500 goal.

“I don’t have a studio behind me. It’s just one guy that survived a stroke and wants to create art,” Dortch explains on his Kickstarter page.

It’s going to take more than a stroke for Dortch’s muse to lose steam.

Ernie Smith

Your time was just wasted by Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the editor of Tedium, and an active internet snarker. Between his many internet side projects, he finds time to hang out with his wife Cat, who's funnier than he is.

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