Artist Feature

Monty Knowles and The Junkanoo Nymphes

Monty Knowles is an architect who has transitioned into a body painter and photographer. He’s well known in the Bahamas and around the globe for his body-painted creations and presentation of the Junkanoo Nymphes.

Monty Knowles

‘Nymphes’ as described from Greek Mythology are female deities of nature. Monty describes his Junkanoo Nymphes as ‘ambassadors to the world for Bahamian Arts and Culture’.

©Monty Knowles Art & Photography

 “A Junkanoo Nymphe exudes the essence of the Bahamas, happiness, joy, the ability to get rid of stress. The ability to actually think positively, that’s the essence of who we are, and that’s what she does,” explains Monty.

Since his first presentation of the Junkanoo Nymphe 7 years ago, the Nymphes have appeared in Copenhagen, New York, Paris and Fort Lauderdale with the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. Monty’s body paintings have travelled the globe to cities like Oslo, Copenhagen, Paris, Lisbon, Rome, Greece, South of France, Miami, New York, Montreal and Thailand.

Curious to learn more about his process and creations we scheduled a quick interview with Monty.

©Monty Knowles Art & Photography

Story-Book’s Interview with Monty Knowles

Story-Book Entertainment (SBe): How does one go from being an architect to a body-painter and photographer?

Monty Knowles (MK): It’s not much of a transformation really as they are all art forms. The body painting grew out of a photography project we dreamed up and the resulting art still holds more fascination to me than canvas painting. Although ephemeral, it is beautiful to see these nymphes in motion for as long as the paint lasts.

Monty at work

SBe: How long did it take you to develop the technique? Tell us a little about your process?

MK: All of my art is still developing.  When I body paint, I follow the shape of the body to create a variation of the body’s form. I imagine the body paintings are actually the true skin colour of the people I’m painting, if we were somehow able to wash off the ‘normal’ skin.

SBe: What has been your most rewarding experience so far?

MK: The most rewarding experience was probably painting four of Denmark’s female national handball champions for a huge international marketing and charity event.

Monty wants to leave a first and lasting experience with his audience.

“When people see the Junkanoo Nymphe, I want them to be wowed!  To have an understanding that we (the Bahama Islands) are beyond, sun, sand and sea. What better way to do it than an exciting, vibrant live, work of art walking around and representing the Bahamas?” exclaims Monty.

Body painting and photography by Monty Knowles

To see more of Monty’s work, visit his Instagram Page:

Follow him on Facebook: Monty Knowles Art and Photography


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