Interview with a life model in Bath, UK

Presenting the work and ideas of a successful professional life model

I had the chance to work with Julian in a number of occasions at Bath Artist Studios and The Curfew in Bath. His imaginative and natural poses, as well as the useful props he provides, always offer the artists a very good opportunity to draw and sculpt from life. I thought that interviewing him would provide the readers of CHROMA with an insight to his work and also give artists and life models alike with some ideas coming straight from a successful professional in the field of art and life modelling.

life model Julian, sat on a wooden chair for an artist to draw or sculpt

So Julian, tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where are you based and when did you first decide to model.

I have been life modelling for 3 years,  for Studio, Work-shops, ateliers, Universities and private groups. Based in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, I travel across the UK .

Is modelling your full time occupation?

I am employed in the IT sector and I host  wine tastings.

Why did you decide to start modelling? Is it just a job for you or is there a deeper meaning and/or motivation for you to model?

I wanted to earn extra cash, but have found working closely with very talented artists has made the payment almost irrelevant. I am learning every week about the subletis of art, and now have an insatiable thirst for knowledge. I also find, week in week out, that artists are amongst the most kind and supportive people that I have had the pleasure to meet. And I want to meet more of them….  

What sort of objects do you usually use in your sessions? Do you have a favourite pose?

I use a multitude of props, Staff, Stick, sword, Discus, Chains, Ropes, Javelin, spear, crucifixion cross, rocks, boulders, stones, catapults, tree trunks….it goes on and on and I update monthly. My favourite pose changes every two or three weeks, but it is always the pose that no studio ever expects, has seen before and usually involves a lot of contortion. I firmly believe the bigger the pose challenge, the better the drawing will be.

life model Julian, posing with a sword in dramatic light for an artist to draw or sculpt

Do you work with other life models to deliver interesting poses?

I work with female models where there is a requirement and always ask  the female  to adopt a NON PASSIVE pose – I make the female the dominant model

How long have you been modelling for artists?

3 years

Have you ever come across any particular artist who inspired you or demotivated you?

I am most motivated by Artists who allow me to deliver the pose from my own repertoire, as they are always more challenging. The model knows his/her body, the Artist does not. Too much time is spent “phaffing” about asking models if they can do this or do that. A lot of artists are too scared to ask the model to do interesting, edgy or tricky poses. By running my own repertoire, all of the aforementioned is negated. I`m pretty much motivated by all the work I see, but the Artists/Tutors who inspire me the most are those who offer fantastic advice to the other artists and do so with buckets of passion and encouragement. If I had to name a couple of the best Artist/Tutors that I have met, they would be Tania Coleridge and Sheila Bryant.  Very closely followed by Sue Larner, Weimin He, Frances Shakespear, and Charlotte Edge. I am very unimpressed , and no longer work for artists who never remember my name, say thank you, or even in some cases, can`t be bothered to even say “Hello” when I turn up in the studio. Sadly, a few of do exist.

life model Julian, on a wooden chair for an artist to draw or sculpt. black and white

Do you draw or paint from life as well, or you just model for others?

I simply model, but I am starting to draw at regular lessons come September.

How do you usually make arrangements for life drawing classes? Word of mouth, an agency, website, social media.

I am booked on reputation but when I stared, I approached many artists directly. I currently work for about 50 .

Do you have a website where you show your work?

www.Uklifemodel.com   ( went live 1st June)

Do you have any plans, expanding your services, in terms of collaborations, portfolio of poses, online resources for artists etc.

Absolutely – I will be offering studios hand picked models, of all sizes, gender, age and colour. I will be soon providing 3d videos and photographs for artists who want to carry on with their work at home. I am intent on offering all day sessions with several models in ambitious scenes, such as Malmesbury Abbey Gardens, where I can place models in beautiful surroundings that include water, and even a cave !  I intend to write about and promote through my web site, Authors on the subject, and of course those artists who draw regularly. I am about to self publish a short book containing more ambitious poses/expressions. My web site will be updated with recommendations and interviews with Artists, models, tutors and bloggers.

What is the best way for someone to contact you, if they wanted to book a modelling session?

Via mobile or the web site please.

Before we close, give us a few inspirational words. What would you tell to artists who haven’t tried drawing from life. And what would you tell people who haven’t modelled yet?

  • I strongly urge the many people that I come across and say “ I would love to try drawing from life, but don’t think I would be good at it” with my sentiment that drawings are your own perception and therefore can never be anything other than fascinating. I also let them know that, in my opinion, most life drawing groups are populated with very supportive , friendly people who encourage, motivate and inspire others. There is a very, very strong communal atmosphere present at many life drawing classes. I know of many lonely, recently bereaved, low on confidence and isolated people who have found a weekly group that has really made a difference to their life…no pun intended !
  • To those who are considering Life Modelling, but  need to take  the leap of faith – Do it- you will not regret it and will probably wish you had done it some 25 years earlier (I do)! As a life model your confidence will rise dramatically and quickly. You will meet the most interesting people on the planet, even if they are a bit bonkers. You will delight in their kindness, support, gratitude, sincerity, and generosity. You will revel in their enthusiasm , passion and self – effacement. The only “must have” you need is that you must be 100% body confident- not in terms of how you look, but in terms of being comfortable naked.
  • Oh, and you will get fit!

Any views expressed in this interview do not necessarily represent CHROMA and its bloggers. They are expressed and solely represent the interviewee.

life model Julian, carrying a red coat and black belt for an artist to draw or sculpt

7 thoughts on “Interview with a life model in Bath, UK

    1. Hi Tania, exactly as you say, his professionalism makes him very different to most of the other models we have worked with. He is also easy going, something that makes working with Julian much easier and fun.

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  1. It is fantastic to hear from a model’s perspective. It is great that Julian is proactive in finding the best artists and outlets for his skills. The photographs are very good, and show just what a good model is. I wish I lived in Bath.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Vivienne, we always think of the artists point of view and we usually forget to consider the models themselves. The last couple of months I had the chance to interview two life models and it was great to understand how they see their profession and how they feel during the life drawing session.

      Also, Bath is lovely indeed and the art scene is so rich! You would totally love it.

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      1. I know I’d love Bath, a shame I live in New Zealand! However I am going to be in Great Britain next month, so if you are holding a life drawing session, I would be interested in popping in, if possible.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent interview – great to have the model’s perspective covered. Speaking as a life model myself, I believe that Julian is a real credit to the profession. Although we haven’t met face-to-face, he has helped me get a booking with one of his groups and has several times offered me last-minute opportunities. All of them have been too far away for me, but the offers speak of a generous and helpful nature, both to me and to the groups faced with an emergency. He shows how creativity, hard work, cooperation and enthusiasm are the stuff of a truly great model.

    Liked by 1 person

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