Christmas in Mortlake & the Art Model collective

We are starting to prepare for a Christmas event where we will return to a favourable venue we hired in the Summer – Vernon Hall in Mortlake. This is so far almost our only gig which we entirely run ourselves and as such it has proved to be one of the easiest to organise – fewer heads to run the brief by. A good church space affords us a medium sized event with up to 18 models. 20 turned up in July and it felt a tad too many. My intention this time, however is to return to directing from the outside and implement the more connected poses straight off, after all, the more related the models are, the less likely it is to seem that they are overcrowded.

Model places are highly sought after, and although following the recent BAC event I was on a high and felt inclined to invite those models back to keep up that growing sense of community that a big all-day event invariably generates, I now realise we have a backlog of people who contacted me about modelling and it would be unfair not to invite them. When people really want to return to model with us again they let us know in a variety of ways, and sometimes it’s better to leave a little longer in between so we can ring the changes and keep mixing up the group.

Pre-event workshops will be arranged shortly which help immensely to reassure people and break down preliminary barriers, instilling a certain amount of confidence so that participants already feel comfortable before taking part in the group event.

An artist recently asked if Spirited Bodies is a collective. It is perhaps more of a community, and it is run by Lucy and myself. It is a combination of our talents and personalities, and as well it has a life of its own which somehow informs us of the direction it would like to take. I mean there have been times when I thought I would like to concentrate more on theatre and it is surely the same with Lucy and her PR ventures, but the continuing interest in Spirited Bodies always draws me/us back. It is still so unique and rewarding too. It ‘tells’ me that it wants to happen, Now!

We are working to make Spirited Bodies grow and would include others to share the responsibility and the driving, but of course it is quite a lot of work to make it run well and smoothly. If someone wants to get involved more we can open up to share our workings and copy the newcomer in to much/all of our business so they get an idea of the operation and us, and see if they really want to take it on. What is likely to become apparent is that what appears to be a lot of fun (and is) with great potential for exploring some ambitions, in fact involves a great deal of tedium as with anything worth doing.

Getting involved is naturally also a matter of fitting in. Lucy and I are both big personalities and a 3rd such would likely clash. As it is we complement each other, bringing different skills to the project – Lucy is ruthlessly organised and has more professional experience from her background in PR. I have discovered that the theatre director in me thrives with SB and where I am also a diplomatic character, another single-minded and dictatorial part of me enjoys taking control of visual and group dynamics.

All images in this post are from the recent event at Battersea Arts Centre with London Drawing, taken by Steve Ritter. Thanks to the artists who I’d love to name if they get in touch.

Here is a link to a blog which LaDawn who modelled at BAC with us in October writes; this is the 1st part of a post about her experience with us.

Published by esther bunting

Performer, artist, writer

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