Giving the Life Model a Voice

My study proposal includes a number of works which progressively illustrate the impact of digital on life drawing. My focus in this blog is my proposed over-sized painting in the minimalist illustration style of Michel Canetti. This is to be produced using a traditional charcoal drawing from the life model displayed large on the canvas using a digital art projector. The purpose of the projected image is to maintain perspective when working close on a large canvas, and to mark out the areas where you decide to paint.


Michel Canetti’s work has been displayed at the Saatchi gallery in Chelsea, London. He is famous for his fashion illustrations while working in Paris where he trained. These were prolifically published in Vogue and many other quality fashion magazines, and the originals are now very expensive collector’s items. He lives in Melbourne where he has a studio and is booked many months ahead on commissions for his huge minimalist portrait paintings mainly of his female clients. He now only exhibits his work there and in Canberra. I have been in direct correspondence with him about his approach which I am attempting to follow. I quote “Dear Terry, Yes you could use a projector to draw your limits of paint. It’s a good technique…..Kind Regards, Michel Canetti’ (24/01/15 an extract from LinkedIn correspondence between us).

Michel Canetti

I have now arranged for a model to sit for me over two afternoons in early November at the Cheyne Drawing Studio in Chelsea. Her name is Vanessa and as well as being a professional life model she is also a classic dancer. I aim to draw her in Charcoal on A2, which I will project on to a large canvas in another studio (possibly at UAL) where I will paint her in the minimalist illustration style I have referred to. This will be in a very limited set of colours, mostly black, white, and grey with a small splash of colour such as on her lips or eyes. I will also ask her to say something about herself and voice record her speaking about her feelings before, during and after the sitting. Later I hope to record her comment on the finished work.

I intend to use some special paint, which will be linked unseen behind the canvas to an Arduino micro processor. When the viewer touches specific pieces of the painting they will be able to hear the model speak. I am indebted to Grace Attlee who has just joined MA Illustration and works at BareConductive in London, whom I first met at our Welcome event for MA Visual Arts Camberwell. BareConductive supply conductive paint and the means to link it to microprocessors such as the Arduino. Last weekend they had an exhibition of their BareConductive Playground at the London College of Fashion, Mare Street Campus. By chance conversation Grace introduced me to the idea of possibly using her company’s products in my work.

Thus I aim to give the normally silent life model a voice in my work.

1 thought on “Giving the Life Model a Voice

  1. Pingback: Unit 1 Assessment | terencemquinn91

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