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News

Electrical shutdown scheduled today, tomorrow

PG&E is installing new electrical service to the 400 Main St. development project today, which will require the temporary interruption of electric services to several businesses located on First, Main and State streets in downtown Los Altos. PG&a...

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Schools

Community support pays dividends

Community support pays dividends


As a recent cover story in The New York Times Magazine revealed, getting low-income students into college is not enough to close the achievement/income gap. The percentage of low-income students entering college who actually earn a degree lags far ...

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Community

War veteran to visit D.C. memorial on Honor Flight

War veteran to visit D.C. memorial on Honor Flight


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos resident and World War II vet Earl Pampeyan is preparing for an Honor Flight trip to Washington, D.C., next month.

Los Altos resident Earl Pampeyan is scheduled to fly to Washington, D.C., next month to vis...

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Sports

Making a splash

Making a splash


Courtesy of Clarke Weatherspoon
Stanford Water Polo Club’s under-14 boys team earned the bronze medal at the Junior Olympics. Front row, from left: Corey Tanis, Larsen Weigle, Nathan Puentes, Walker Seymour, Alan Viollier and Jayden Kunwar. B...

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Comment

Whom can you trust?: Haugh About That?

Waving my pink poodle skirt with all the fervor of a matador preparing to tease a raging bull, I blinked my 20-year-old eyes and gave a come-hither look to indicate, “I’m ready!” Little did I know that the blind trust I had in this ...

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Special Sections

Getting right by eating right: PAMF doctor's book addresses South Asian health risks

Getting right by eating right: PAMF doctor's book addresses South Asian health risks


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Dr. Ronesh Sinha, a physician at Palo Alto Medical Foundation, promotes healthful living among the South Asian population. His new book, “The South Asian Health Solution,” includes nutritious recipes.

When you think o...

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Business

From Google to First Street: Massage therapist sets up studio in downtown Los Altos

From Google to First Street: Massage therapist sets up studio in downtown Los Altos


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Upuia Ahkiong is slated to open Kua Body Studios next month at 106 First St. Ahkiong is sharing space with Evolve Classical Pilates.

A massage therapist with ties to Google Inc. is slated to open a new – and shared...

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Books

"Jack London" chronicles author's adventurous life


Much has been written about American author Jack London, primarily known for his early-20th-century Western adventure novels, including the classics “White Fang” and “The Call of the Wild.”

In Earle Labor’s biography of the literary icon, “Jac...

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People

TIMOTHY WARREN WATSON (TIM)

TIMOTHY WARREN WATSON (TIM)

Born June 2, 1935, died peacefully on August 11, at home in Mountain View, surrounded by his family. He died of complications of Parkinson’s Disease after a courageous 15-year battle.

Tim was the beloved husband of 55 years to his college sweethea...

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Travel

Bergama bound: A visit to newest World Heritage site

Bergama bound: A visit to newest World Heritage site


Photo Eren GÖknar/ Special to the Town Crier
The amphitheater in Turkey’s ancient city of Pergamon, now known as Bergama, overlooks the Bakirçay River valley, left. The city’s ruins also include the Temple of Trajan.

It was 90 F during t...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks offers 'Spoonful' of drama beginning this week

TheatreWorks offers 'Spoonful' of drama beginning this week


Kevin Berne/Special to the Town Crier
Three strangers – “Chutes & Ladders” (Anthony J. Haney, left), Odessa (Zilah Mendoza, center) and “Orangutan” (Anna Ishida, right) – come together in an online support group in TheatreWorks’ regional premie...

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Spiritual Life

Spiritual Briefs

Meditation group meets at Foothills Congregational

A Weekly Meditation Practice group meets 7-8:15 a.m. Tuesdays at Foothills Congregational Church, 461 Orange Ave., Los Altos.

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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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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