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Telegraph Hill Centre, London, 9 April 2015

14 April 2015

A quick recap of the plot so far…

I took part in my first handful of art nude and naked protest events between 2009 and 2011. I’d heard about most of these by pure chance after signing-up to the Spencer Tunick Experience forum. Then, in February 2012 came a defining moment: I was invited into the Mud Circles of Adam James.

Among the 14 other Mudhead glitterati that day were artist Alexandra Unger – who astounded me with details of her performances and creativity – and life model Clifford. It was my conversation with Clifford on that Bermondsey rooftop, while gazing across the infinite horizon of London’s skyline, that set me on my own path as a life model.

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Jump to July that year. My life modelling was still in its infancy when I was invited to pose with a dozen or so others in Mortlake at a Spirited Bodies event, organised by Esther Bunting and Lucy Saunders. Looking back now I marvel at my good fortune in meeting such wonderful, talented, unique people at what was such a formative time.

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I was honoured to be welcomed back into other Spirited Bodies projects, culminating with the triumphant Human Orchestration – Clifford also being involved – in October 2013. I’d even shared a naked bike ride with Esther that very summer. London was proving to be a tiny community of friends and familiar faces in the nude arts world.

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Fast forward one year. A new Thursday night life drawing group had started at the Telegraph Hill Centre, south London on 18 September 2014. Clifford was among the first models booked; my début came soon after, on 2 October. The group was run by none other than Alexandra. I returned in November, and again this year in January.

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The threads of life continued to twist and intertwine.

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My next visit to Telegraph Hill was three weeks ago to see Esther and friends perform Girl in Suitcase. As I recounted shortly after, during that magnificent tour de force Esther confronted the life drawers in her audience with the challenge: “it’s time for the models to draw the artists.” At first only one woman rose to the occasion: Frances, a regular artist at, yes, Alex’s Thursday night group.

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The present day…

And so, having drawn Esther during Girl in Suitcase, she returned the compliment by drawing me last Thursday at the Telegraph Hill Centre. We were first to arrive and be greeted cheerfully by Alex. While we chatted together about projects and plans, next through the door was Frances – who I had posed with so recently at Girl in Suitcase.

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It was a lovely gathering of creatives, augmented further by the arrival of other regulars at this particularly talented group. I found myself feeling a momentary sense of extra responsibility… but among friends this soon passed and I set to doing my thing as I would for any group. We started with dynamic and mid-length poses in the first half.

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Over tea and biscuits we talked more about shared experiences, and the perils and pitfalls of running life drawing groups. For the second half I made myself twisted yet comfortable for one long pose on a beanbag. Alex set a strong angled lamp to cast dramatic shadows, and the artists set to making art as a blues soundtrack rumbled.

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I love my modelling work and the outlet for direct creative self-expression it gives me. As much as that, however, I love the superb people I’ve met along the way; brilliantly imaginative, strong-willed yet sensitive human beings; people I’m humbled to be able to consider friends, who have enriched my life beyond dreams.

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It was curious to be the one observed holding stage on this occasion. I hope it won’t be too long till the stars in the room are back upon a stage of their own, challenging sensibilities, provoking fresh ideas and sensations, illuminating their audiences with light and wonder – audiences I can’t wait to join.

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From → Art

One Comment
  1. Stefan permalink

    I started life modelling last year for single artists and photographer’s and found the feeling of being the focus of and artistic process almost euphoric. I have recently been asked to model for a group and wondered if you had any advice?
    Kind Regards
    Stef

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