Jacob Alexander Figueroa

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Jacob Alexander Figueroa
Zander by Norell.jpg
Zander onstage at the Summerset Music & Camping Festival, in 2012
Born (1986-08-01) August 1, 1986 (age 33)
Known forPerformance Art, Visual arts, Body Art, Mixed media, Multimedia
Notable work
Translucent Threads (2009)
Karnak Gallery & Studio (2010)
"All Over the Walls" (2011)
X Fashion Series (2011)
The Band Famous (2013 - Present)
MovementConceptual art, Expressionism, Surrealism

Jacob Alexander Figueroa, also known as Zander (born August 1, 1986), is a predominantly Minneapolis-based body painter of Minnesota.


Primarily a self-taught artist born in St. Paul, MN on August 1, 1986, he was moved around a lot with his siblings, mother, and step-dad from Argentina, California, Kauii, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, eventually settling and graduating from Armstrong High School in Plymouth, MN in 2005.[1] To cope with his own battles from his youth and family hardships, he immersed himself, applying ambitions in many arenas ranging from violin, which he studied at Mac Phail School of Music while in high school, as well as studying graphic design at Hennepin Technical College. When he was sixteen years old, he enlisted in Civil Air Patrol, the Air Force Auxiliary, the military branch dedicated to search and rescue, and served the United States of America for four years before returning to his love of the arts.


Jacob Alexander became known for gathering several artists together for his Shadows and Sounds exhibitions. Often the exhibitions served as benefits for larger causes, such as for Cystic Fibrosis when a friend of his was in need of a lung transplant.[2] After various collaborations, Jacob Alexander acquired a small team of fellow artists in the realm of painting, photography, mixed media, and otherwise, before stepping up to perhaps his most ambitious goal of opening an open platform art gallery on First Ave in the heart of downtown Minneapolis.[3] He signed the lease for what would become the first home for his company Karnak Gallery & Studio LLC[4] when he was only 23 years old. The gallery struggled with several figures seeking to control the development of the space. It was open and running for a few months in the Spring of 2010 and held several art openings, and multimedia performances, even bringing in acts such as IDM ("Intelligent Dance Music") artists like Solvent, with Ghostly International Records.[5][6][7] City Pages writer Andrew Flanagan described Karnak Gallery as a "forward-thinking-and-still-fun space".[8]

The story of Karnak Gallery & Studio LLC was partially captured and can be witnessed to a good degree in Blue Bride Media Group's documentary, "All Over The Walls",[9] which premiered as a "Work In Progress" screening at the Minneapolis St. Paul Film Festival in 2011.[10] The documentary was also screened at the Minneapolis Underground Film Festival on December 4, 2011.[11][12][13] It later won several awards including Highway 61 Film Festival "Best Featured Documentary".[14][15]

Mixed Media[edit]

His multimedia abstract creations - with nods to Expressionism and Surrealism - spanning years before bringing the paint brush to the human body, he received international acclaim by NY Arts Magazine in 2009/2010 for his mixed media artworks exhibited with "Translucent Threads" at Broadway Gallery. His works are often described as vibrant, intricately placed colors incorporated into exuberant designs with meticulous detail. Many of his most notable artworks portray a fusion of futuristic landscapes and transformative ethereal dream worlds, such as Path of Passion (2009). The Key to Life is Love was one work exemplifying a more luminous, ambient and esoteric feel within Alexander's work. NYArts has published that some of his mixed media works channel his fellow post-abstract expressionist, Ingrid Calame.[16]

Body Painting[edit]

Jacob Alexander only began body painting after years of creating mixed media artworks. His first time body painting was a live improvisation during an art show, where he experimented with several techniques and designs embellishing his first live canvases - several topless female friends - using various vibrant color combinations.[17]

His first attempt of body painting was such a hit in the Twin Cities community, that Alexander built a mini body paint empire with his Virtual Warrior Ink aka VWInk Agency body painting company - also known for the "Ink Girls", a collection of models who worked with Alexander for several body painting events.[18] He carried his abstract, romanticized style from his mixed media work to his body painting ventures.[3] By 2008/2009, he had become well known as "the performance artist who works on human canvas" in at least a few regular venues downtown Minneapolis, ranging from Gallery 13, Epic Nightclub, Soundbar, and Aqua Nightclub, among others, even the occasional yacht party. He is presumed to be one of the first notable body painters to arise from MN.[19]

"Being painted in nothing but a thong—or nothing at all—requires a great deal of confidence on the part of the model, and Figueroa is acutely aware of the sensitivity of the situation. 'It’s a leap of faith,' he says. 'You expose yourself and you’re hoping we’ll make you look like you’ve never looked before. And we will. But without trust, without confidence, it just doesn’t look as good.'”[17]

In 2011, after doing X Fashion for NY Fashion Week in NYC, he did the X Fashion Show in Minneapolis, where he worked with several models, including actress, model, and Emmy award-winning YouTuber, Spricket24, Karen Alloy. His X Fashion combined body painting with aluminum tin foil, as well as other materials.[20][21]

Music and software[edit]

Zander has extended his body painting into the Band Famous - with lead singer Norell also being a long time model for his body painting, dating back as early as August 2010 when they met at Alexander's "High Seas Heaven" body paint, music, and art exhibit that took place at internationally known DJ and techno producer DVS1 in his personal recording studio and production space in Minneapolis, MN.

While Zander still body paints often for various events, he is a key contributing member to a group of artists, musicians, and software developers, the Band Famous, adding violin to synthesizers.[22]

The group formed in 2013 when a mutual friend introduced Zander and Norell to a fellow musician, artist, and app developer, "Terrance Clifford". The very first meeting spawned an improvised jam session, as Norell - a passionate aspiring singer and artist at the time - took the lead after finding several synthesizers, instruments and microphones in Terry's home. That very first spontaneous improvised session was also recorded and simultaneously live-streamed over the Internet. They continued to record in an improvised manner for several sessions thereafter, and thus "the Band Famous" was born.[23]

For the past several years, in addition to body painting and creating various other art mediums, Jacob Alexander studied and applied gained knowledge of mobile development, deploying a native iOS app on the iPhone App Store in June, 2014. "The Band Famous" was built and released with the help of his bandmates, Norell and Terry, to release their debut EP, "Last Words", a featured game, and other media in a virtual platform they call the "smart album", with music, lyrics, and more available offline once the app has been downloaded to iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.[24] The Band Famous is the first and only known band in the world to live-stream free in-app concerts through an app that they develop themselves. They won a Sennheiser wireless D1 microphone from MusicPage.com and writer and fellow musician Erik Jarvis wrote a feature on them.[25] Upon invitation by comedian and cult icon Tom Green, TBF is going to be performing live on the Tom Green Show in the near future.[26]

The Band Famous received their first full feature press article in November, 2014, by writer Jay Gabler of Minnesota Public Radio - a sub-division of NPR - on the KCMP The Current Blog as well as notable mention on The Local Show with David Campbell and Jay Gabler.[27]

TBF aka "The Band Famous" has also received support from various music and technology gurus, including Kim Dotcom, who reached out to the lead singer personally about being on his next album,[28] to Emergency Broadcast Network's Special Agent G, and co-founder of Adobe After Effects and the Hoverboard program, Greg Deocampo, who showed his support to TBF by sharing the TBF app on his personal blog,[29] as well as in an app review on the App Store.[24]

The Band Famous app was demoed live on Tom Green's Webovision on Friday, July 17, 2015, showcasing the first app to feature free in-app concerts,[30][31] built by the Band Famous. The app was demoed by Norell, lead singer of TBF, who had previously established rapport with the well-known comedian and actor.[32][33] As of November 25, 2015, the band has made "The Band Famous" app cross-platform on both the iPhone App Store and Android Google Play.[34]

Contributions to pop culture[edit]

Several performance artists and musicians may have been inspired by Zander in implementing body painting and aluminum foil in their acts to free improvised shows, even releasing app albums - though not necessarily doing all the work themselves.

Ali Spagnola, for example, made and released the Power Hour Album Drinking Game app after following the all members of TBF and the band on Twitter. The Band Famous was live on the iOS App Store by May 2014, with the app release party and celebration taking place on June 13, 2014. Ali Spagnola’s app was released in September 2014. [35] [36]

Tickle Torture, another Minneapolis band, did a body paint runway show, reminiscent of the X Fashion Show.[37][38]

New Zealand native and Los Angeles based songstress Kimbra has been seen performing in aluminum foil fashions, reminiscent of X Fashion Show, and also has been performing free improvised concerts with spacey projected visuals, titled “Space Jam” regularly since November 2014.[39][40] [41]

Miley Cyrus as of June 2015 has embraced body painting and has also since creating the Happy Hippie Foundation, been a voice to raise awareness for homeless and LGBT youth.[42]

Reggie Watts, an improvisational musician and comedian, was approached by CBS to head the music on The Late Late Show. Since early 2015 he has performed improvised in-app concerts via the CBS app with his band Karen, following suit of the band famous.[43][44][45] CBS incorporated improvised musical performances with Karen streaming through their app in 2015, although their app was launched in 2013.[46]

Pittsburg based Jordan York is another artist who recently began incorporating body painting with his performances.[47] [48]

Most recently, actress and musician Rose McGowan, released her debut single “RM486” on Vimeo, with decadent body paint and artistic elements similar to Zander's style and branding with TBF. One of TBF’s supporters, Emergency Broadcast Network’s Special Agent G shared one of the two tweets TBF sent out tagging Rose, sharing parallel past works her video made them reminisce on. [49][50][51]


  1. ^ Kelly Higginson (February 2015). "Native Apps". Plymouth Magazine. No. February 2015. Tiger Oak Media. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  2. ^ "Shadows and Sounds: A Cystic Fibrosis Event". Sarah P. on Yelp. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Trey Mewes (May 5, 2010). "Looking Back, Jacob Alexander Goes Forward". The Wake. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  4. ^ http://phonixintl.com/karnak.html
  5. ^ "Solvent". Ghostly International. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  6. ^ "Solvent at Videodrome: Star Wars Edition at Karnak". Resident Advisor. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  7. ^ "[Video]: Solvent's 'Loss For Words'". Ghostly International. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
  8. ^ Andrew Flanagan (June 16, 2010). "Downtown's Karnak Gallery throwing a Star Wars free-for-all". City Pages. Archived from the original on February 11, 2015. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  9. ^ "All Over The Walls (2011)". IMBd. 2011. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  10. ^ Euan Kerr (April 6, 2011). "Pumping up the Minnesota in MSPIFF". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  11. ^ Colin Covert (December 1, 2011). "Movie spotlight: Underground film festival". Star Tribune. Retrieved February 8, 2015.
  12. ^ Mike Everleth (November 4, 2011). "2011 Minneapolis Underground Film Festival: Official Lineup". Underground Film Journal. Retrieved February 8, 2015.
  13. ^ "All Over The Walls". MPLS Underground FILM Festival. Retrieved February 8, 2015.
  14. ^ hwy61 (October 12, 2011). "Highway 61 Film Festival winners". Highway 61 Film Festival. Retrieved February 8, 2015.
  15. ^ Blue Bridge Video Productions. "All Over The Walls (Official Website)". Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  16. ^ Suzie Walshe (2009). "Threading It Together". NYArts. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  17. ^ a b Jamie Thomas (March 21, 2009). "Live nude art". Twin Cities Daily Planet. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  18. ^ Jamie Thomas (September 24, 2009). "The Atlantis Exhibition: The under-the-sea erotic art party Minneapolis has been waiting for". Twin Cities Daily Planet. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  19. ^ Jessica Armbruster (September 23, 2009). "The Atlantis Exhibition". City Pages. Archived from the original on December 18, 2014. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  20. ^ Karen Alloy (September 19, 2011). "Modeling and other projects". Spricket24 aka Karen Alloy's Personal YouTube Channel. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  21. ^ Jacob Alexander (December 29, 2011). "X Fashion Show - Body Painting Runway Show 2011". Jacob Alexander's Personal YouTube Channel. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  22. ^ LOVE BODY ART (July 11, 2014). "Jacob Alexander Figueroa (aka the artist Zander)". I Love Body Art: Body painting from around the world. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  23. ^ Jay Gabler (November 20, 2014). "Music making, body painting, app building: Meet the Band Famous". Minnesota Public Radio The Current Local Current Blog. Retrieved September 23, 2015.
  24. ^ a b Jacob Figueroa (May 29, 2014). "Official App on iTunes".
  25. ^ Erik Jarvis (September 2, 2015). "Final Contest Winners". Retrieved September 23, 2015.
  26. ^ Tom Green and The Band Famous (July 17, 2015). "Tom Green's Webovision With Ben Seidman, available as subscription service at connectpal.com/tomgreen, referenced from The Band Famous Official Instagram". Retrieved September 23, 2015.
  27. ^ "The Local Show featuring Andrea Swensson and Jay Gabler". The Local Show. November 23, 2014. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  28. ^ "Kim Dotcom Direct Messages TBF singer Norell". Verified Twitter. July 13, 2014. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  29. ^ Greg Deocampo (June 15, 2014). "the Band Famous /* an app album /* Jacob figueroa". Personal Tumblr. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  30. ^ Tom Green (July 17, 2015). "Webovision With Ben Seidman". Tom Green's Webovision. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  31. ^ The Artist Zander (July 17, 2015). "Singer Norell demoing our app on the Tom Green Show". "Tom Green's Webovision. Retrieved September 23, 2015.
  32. ^ Tom Green (March 12, 2015). "Episode #5 The Tom Green Podcast". The Tom Green Podcast. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  33. ^ Tom Green (March 28, 2015). "Harland Williams - The Tom Green Webovision Show". Tom Green's Webovision. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  34. ^ Phonix Intl (Nov 25, 2015). "Official App on Google Play".
  35. ^ ”Ali Spagnola. ""Power Hour App launching for iPhone and Android!"". Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  36. ^ Ali Spagnola (September 19, 2014). "Ali Spagnola's Power Hour App!!". Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  37. ^ Kim Taylor Bennett (January 25, 2015). "Deluded High Fashion and Shameless Low Budget Sleaze: Enter the World of Tickle Torture". Noisy: Music by Vice (magazine). Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  38. ^ Sarah Stanley-Ayre (September 8, 2014). "Tickle Torture at 7th St. Entry, 9/6/14 (NSFW)". City Pages. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  39. ^ "Kimbra's Space Jam". Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  40. ^ Olding, Rachel (November 21, 2014). "Kimbra review: Elements of show were too large for tiny rockin' diva". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  41. ^ Normandie Luscher (July 19, 2015). "Kimbra's Intergalactic Space Jam". Salt. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  42. ^ Petrusich, Amanda (June 6, 2015). "Free To Be Miley". Paper. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  43. ^ Lucas Kavner (March 23, 2015). "Reggie Watts on His New Gig As Bandleader of The Late Late Show and Why He Was Initially Annoyed by the Offer". Retrieved April 18, 2016.
  44. ^ Megh Wright (March 23, 2015). "Reggie Watts Says the 'Late Late Show' Band Is Named Karen". SplitSider. Retrieved April 18, 2016.
  45. ^ Richard Ecke (April 28, 2015). "Comedian Reggie Watts leads band on 'Late, Late Show'". Retrieved April 18, 2016.
  46. ^ Joseph Keller (March 14, 2013). "CBS launches app for streaming full episodes of shows". Retrieved April 18, 2016.
  47. ^ Jordan York. "Jordan York Music body art. Get with the Movement". Jordan York Official Instagram. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  48. ^ Jordan York. "2016 is off to a great start." Jordan York Official Instagram. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  49. ^ NOWNESS on Vimeo (September 21, 2015). "Rose McGowan: RM486 (Official Video) - NOWNESS". Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  50. ^ The Band Famous Official Twitter (October 12, 2015). "The Band Famous Tweet @RoseMcGowan #1". Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  51. ^ The Band Famous Official Twitter (October 12, 2015). "The Band Famous Tweet @RoseMcGowan #2". Retrieved February 17, 2016.

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