Narbonne: Living models, they pose naked under the gaze of artists

Narbonne: Living models, they pose naked under the gaze of artists

In the 70’s and ’66s, Annette and Gillow were models for the Atelier Narbonis and the city’s Plastic Arts School. They tell us about this extraordinary nudity that is an endless source of inspiration for painters, sculptors and designers.

After all, do not take them for granted. Absolutely the opposite! Their body is a living painting and a working tool for the service of creation. Because being a model and knowing how to show nudity is an art. Annette, 70, and Gillow, 66, raise the veil during the Atalier Narbonis show in La Poudreau (read below). If the work of the live model is often associated with a range of adopted ideas, they are not ready to wear.

Also read:
Norbon Workshop, 60 year old pictures from a live model and a new exhibition at La Poudreier

How did you become a living role model for artists?

Annette: My husband was an art teacher, but I did not pose for him. The first time was about 20 years ago: I was living in Lagros, and I was approached by an Irish couple. He was a ceramist and she was a painter. She wanted a live model and I needed money. I was about 50 years old.

Gill: This is the model I have been living with for 16 years. At that time, I was looking for a job and a friend offered me this job. I introduced myself to Attlee Narbonis, an organization of artists, and I stayed.

Is it complicated to be naked in front of strangers?

Annette: Basically I was very humble. Also, I suffer from vitiligo (epidermis disease, white spots, editor’s note). I gained confidence through acting for years before becoming a model. But when you pose, you have to try to get through the eyes of others. I don’t feel any side as it is an artistic view of our body.

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Gill: I never go to the beach because I’m complicated with my body! But in front of the artists, it’s different, not the same look as the people on the outside: there is a lot of respect, including the poses we take. This is the first time you’ve measured the artist’s eyes … but there’s nothing unhealthy about it.

Is this a physically difficult activity, or do you need special qualities?

Annette: I practiced a lot of sports, dance and floor gym. I regularly go to the beach … I do not have osteoarthritis and rheumatism. For me, posing is not a difficult task, but not everyone can do it. This requires a good balance. When I started, I posed for up to 6 hours a day, in the same pose all afternoon (of course taking breaks). Today, we are asked for a few minutes of poses. Also, I’m the one who chooses the positions, even if they do not draw! If they are small, it allows me to chain physically more complex poses.

Gill: It’s true that these days we are often asked to take short breaks, while we have to take an hour straight. However, I am not athletic. On the other hand, I did classical dance for 14 years. Of course, you need patience and perseverance, above all do not move, that is the golden rule.

Does it take a morphology to be a model, or does it require a particular attitude?

Annette: vice versa ! After all, you should not be the size of a skeleton or a model. Artists love to have curves and volumes to draw. Some even want our presence to be released into something other than our body.

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Gill: Certainly not. Being a living model is about promoting the diversity of shapes and bodies. As for our presence and the things we give when we pose, it is instinctive, it depends on the mood of the model at that time.

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