7th February, 2016
Review by Sabrina Selkis
*Warning- contains full frontal nudity
In October 2015, a model-led equal profit share group created “The Life Drawing Collective”. Three professional models, Andrew Crayford, Carla Tofano and Manko Sebastian, pose together in interactive compositions inspired by classic art.
As explained clearly and simply on the group blog page, www.thelifedrawingcollective.blogspot.co.uk, ‘The goal of our model-owned, model-organised and model-run life drawing group is to provide the artists with an exclusive opportunity to capture intense multi-model compositions, and to stand out amongst other numerous drawing clubs in London. We set out to change the whole experience of life drawing!’.
Atmospheric horror music is being played, while the three models get on the stage and create the first pose for 15minutes, inspired by William Adolphe Bouguereau, ‘Dante and Virgil in Hell’.
On the left on the stage Manko , a leggy blonde ex-fashion model who posed for artists since childhood, is wearing a long black see through negligee, holding a candle.
Andrew,who is wearing fangs today, is a model with exceptional muscle definition.He is half kneeling about to bite his partner’s neck, Carla, a sultry Venezuelan pin-up beauty with an hourglass figure. She is seated in front of him wearing only shiny black heels.
The 10 artists present have brought their gear and immediately throw themselves in creating a unique rendition of what they are witnessing. From pencils to using watercolors, each have their own techniques, seating or standing up too.
Once in a while, a count down to the end of the pose is said to give time for the artist to finish or perfect the drawing. Follows rapidly the second pose, lasting 30 minutes we are told, inspired by the “Taste The Blood of Dracula” Italian movie poster. Manko is wearing a long black and red on the inside cape with her arms on the side as in Christ position.In front of her is Andrew kneeling and about to bite Carla s neck, holding her by her shoulders.
I have done only a few courses of life drawing, but I have to admit the fact that three people are on stage gives you plenty of different ideas and choices as to what you can draw.
It could be surprising to see them three naked like this, even tactile, without anything more. This collective is ‘driven by a desire to achieve an artistic aesthetic’, Andrew explains, and ‘the Collective is to help people understand that nudity is not equated to sex , and that as models, artists, and intellectually evolved beings, nudity for us is a natural state of being, an everyday situation, and a means with which to realise our artistic aspirations. The nude figure has been depicted throughout the ages as a celebration of the natural human form, and the representation of an ideal of balance, the harmony of mind and body”. I couldn’t have explained it better.
Follows the third pose of again 30 minutes. By then, you can notice the models being achy and in need of stretching. But nothing stops these three professionals and they execute the pose without showing signs of pain.
A very deserved break is next happening. Artists stretch too, make their way to the bar or outside for a cigarette break. Andrew, Manko and Carla put on robes and without hesitation come and speak with everybody, look at the fresh drawings too. Suddenly this feels like any social gathering you have attended. I manage to have a quick word with them, and discuss the fact that posing still is, against what people think, a very hard thing to do. Go on you try not moving, while being uncomfortable, and remain like this for 30 minutes…sitting for that length of time made my bottom lifeless!
Enough socialising, and back to drawing we go.The fourth pose is inspired by “Frankenstein Bloody Terror”. Again the artist’s choice is either to focus on one particular person or all of them. Also you are free to move around and change your point of view,which include from the upstairs balcony. One thing I notice too is the music change. Now coming out from the speakers is black metal- this is getting even better!
The last pose of the day, 30 minutes again, involves Andrew wearing a half demon mask, on all fours with a collar and chain.Manko is holding it behind him,and wearing a long red straight necklace, resembling a scarf.Carla is behind her.
After nearly three hours of work on both parts, artists lay down the drawings for the models and their peers to look at and discuss between them. All are very different and have something interesting and particular about them.
This was definitely a very well spent Sunday and I for sure will be back. If you wish to do so, you are very welcome, beginner or not. Check out www.thelifedrawingcollective.com for more information and dates.