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.
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.
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?
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.
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.