By Robin George
To sort his eye position out we should give him a preliminary nose, confidently asserted the tutor, albeit in a matter of fact way. I just sat there, in pose, thinking I wonder if the preliminary nose is bigger or smaller than my own protuberance. My memory was fleetingly jolted back to my school days. Dad was the woodwork teacher so I became hysterically (to the other students) nicknamed Pinocchio. Dad would just counter it by saying it is character building son, dismissing my nostril sensitivity. Little did I know then that my not insubstantial hooter would serve me very well in character acting and portrait modelling work. I was rapidly brought back to the present by one of the other sculptors who proudly declared her slimmed down interpretation of me bore a real likeness to Benedict Cumberbatch. I just about maintained my pose and composure, whilst conjuring up this exotically bizarre image of me.
It did get me thinking though, that while I slowly rotate on my plinth, sculptors blurt out the most hilarious comments, whilst staying absolutely focussed on their sculptures. I’ve broken his legs and repositioned them said one, his ears are different shapes said another, and a discussion between sculptor and tutor whether I had too much lip — and I had not said a thing honestly!
Is it time to turn him again? No, it was time for a tea break and we all seamlessly slipped back into the real world.
That’s why I love sculpture work so much as on one level model, tutor and sculptor are all essential partners in the creative process, and on another level we are all blissfully in our own world.
I’ve decided to destroy his face and start again; I’m going to sort his nose out after the break; I won’t be here next week so I’ll give him ears the week after; his face is not at all symmetrical you know; you’ve got a great face for sculpture (and radio!).
Thank you sculptors for your amazing creativity and impulsive words, and thank you lovely tutor for your expertise, your heartfelt appreciation of the model, and my preliminary nose.
Robin George is an English film, TV and stage actor, art model, performance artist, magician and clown – and now a writer!