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News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Los Altos bodypainter showcases curvy canvas


Most artists would be distraught if someone destroyed their creations, but 23-year-old Jessica Yurash of Los Altos doesn’t mind if her artwork gets washed away. In fact, it happens every time she paints a subject - Yurash is a bodypainter.

According to Yurash, the ephemeral aspect of her work makes it unique. When people see her bodypainting creations - whether it is a model coordinated to camouflage with her environment or a woman’s stomach painted during pregnancy - they often say they’ve never seen anything like it.

Covered by layers of water-based paints that Yurash applies to the skin via brush, sponge and airbrush, the curves of the human body virtually disappear to the human eye when the painting is complete.

"They’re not sure how to feel, but they have a sudden urge to want to be painted themselves," said Yurash of spectators’ reactions to her work.

Finding her passion

Yurash stumbled into bodypainting after becoming the muse and model for San Jose-based bodypainter Trina Merry. When Merry discovered that Yurash spent her weekends twisting balloons and painting faces at children’s birthday parties, she invited Yurash to assist with her bodypainting assignments.

Yurash called the opportunity to work with Merry "enlightening," because she had never considered herself a visual artist. Although she danced as a youth and performed in many theater productions at Homestead High School and Foothill College, where she earned an Associate of Arts degree in the performing arts and drama, fine-art media like painting and ceramics held little appeal.

"Traditional canvas is frustrating and takes too long," Yurash said. "Body art only takes a day."

While apprenticing with Merry, Yurash learned bodypainting techniques and acquired the business skills needed to thrive as a creative artist. She observed the process for managing assignments, from initial client inquiry to the test shoot and day-of painting, and was soon prepared to market herself as a bodypainter. Although she continues to work her day job at a child-care center, Yurash is hired for an average of 10 assignments per month.

"It takes a lot of time to conceptualize, design and figure out what art works best for each body, because every body is so different," said Yurash of her personalized process.

Because each new client has a unique vision for how he or she wants to be painted, Yurash noted that she’s constantly growing as an artist and expanding her range. To derive inspiration for assignments, she frequently references historical bodypainting styles as well as photos and other art that match her client’s vision.

A body of work

Yurash usually has a two- to six-hour window to paint her subject on the day of an assignment, a timeline that leaves little room for error. Test photo shoots help her determine the best angles for poses and visualize how she will paint her client. Although she’s never spent more than six hours continuously painting a subject, she once spent 12 hours modeling for another bodypainter.

When the cost of paint, Yurash’s time and other expenses are factored in, bodypainting can be pricey. Yurash notes that her fees typically range from a few hundred dollars for a client who only wants a small portion of the body painted to upward of $1,000 for a full-day assignment that involves multiple models in a complex setup.

With the availability of latex, glow-in-the-dark and ultraviolet paints, Yurash said, artists have many tools at their disposal to express their creativity.

The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform the body into something new via art renders the cost irrelevant, Yurash added.

"They want to take the beauty of a woman, femininity or humanity and become the artwork. … It’s so much more special because it’s temporary," she said.

Old art reinvented

Although the thought of covering the body with layers of paint or even tattoos may seem like a contemporary form of expression, bodypainting has deep roots as an art and form of communication, stretching back to prehistoric days. Cliff dwellers and indigenous tribes in Australia and Africa used clay, charcoal and natural pigments as a form of religious and cultural expression. Yurash said the art of bodypainting has evolved over time and she feels confident that it is making a comeback.

"The world of bodypainting is just on the edge of the cliff and is about to fall into our society once again," she said.

Professional bodypainters like Craig Tracy of New Orleans are finding unusual ways to showcase their work. From art for advertising campaigns to live painting events for corporations searching for ways to make their brands stand out, the bodyart medium is growing in popularity. Top artists like Tracy may charge thousands of dollars for artwork that lasts only a few hours on a person.

Performance-based bodypainting is gaining an edge locally. Merry launched the Art Alive Gallery in San Jose to engage Bay Area bodypainters in collaborative projects after a successful installation at the 2011 SubZERO Festival. Yurash, one of the gallery’s primary assistants, said she sees it as a stepping stone toward a full-time career in bodypainting.

In the meantime, Yurash continues to perfect her craft, actively participate in the bodypainting community and learn the art through osmosis as a model for other bodypainters.

For more information, visit jessicayurash.com.

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