The Cardiff Life Model Collective are an energetic, innovative group who blur the distinction between modelling and performance art. As well as their weekly drop-in sessions, they organize lively special events involving music, dance and readings, while also developing their own happenings and hiring themselves out as living art for events. 

To judge by the sumptuous images I have seen, this commitment to figure modelling as performance imbues the work of the Collective with a wonderful theatricality, not to mention a meticulous attention to detail. The three poses I want to discuss here are fully thought-out compositions in their own right. 

The first dual pose offers a study in contradictions. The clean diagonal of the woman’s body contrasts with the man’s muscular contortion. We wonder whether these two characters are fighting each other or working in concert. Impossible to tell. I love the way the angle of the woman’s hair echoes the slant of her pointed toes. 

The next pose shows the same two models in another mini-drama. This time the relaxed male figure is countered by the subtle tension in his companion, whose torso arches elegantly out of his shadow. Note the dynamic line running from groin to breasts, highlighted by the slight erectness of the nipples. 

The solo pose in the last photo is a delight. The model uses her bent knees, straight back and thrown-back arms to create a strong, supple composition, rewarding from every angle. The tension in the chest and bottom suggests a hunger for the viewer’s gaze. And note the way her fingers are interlocked behind her back – every detail, you feel, has been considered. 

When a group of talented models apply themselves in this way, they’re not muses, they’re artists. To lovers of the artistic nude, the Cardiff Life Model Collective offer a great deal in terms of entertainment and food for thought. If you live anywhere near Cardiff, you couldn’t do better than go along to one of their drop-in sessions on a Monday or Tuesday. The entrance fee is only £5 as of Winter 2010. 

If you cherish an ambition to be a nude art model but there are no life drawing classes in your area, or if you’re a disillusioned muse looking for a change of direction, the Collective are all the inspiration you need to get up and organize a groundbreaking art event of your own. 

Learn more about the Cardiff Life Model Collective at their Facebook page and from their website, both of which have galleries which are feasts for the eyes.

First published in Stage Nudity in December 2010


Outdoor Professional @ Wales Outdoors, Model @ Cardiff Life Model Colective and Published Poet @ Self...