Picture by Hull Man Matt http://novastudios.co.uk/
Sea of Hull Reflections
“So what made you do it”? Is the first question most of my friends/family have asked me.
“It” was volunteering –along with 3200 others- to be painted blue & photographed naked by Spencer Tunick for the “Sea of Hull” installation, commissioned by Ferens Art Gallery Hull as part of Hull City of Culture 2017.
In answer nothing made me do it I admired Spencer’s work and signed up as soon as I heard he would be working in Hull. I had read an account of someone taking part in one of his previous installations and they were so positive about the whole thing I promised myself if the opportunity ever came my way I would do it!
“What was it like stripping off in front of all those people?” is the second question I am usually asked. To be honest I did have a few qualms who wouldn’t. However, when it came down to it we had about five minutes to cover ourselves in body paint from top to toe, including hair & all nooks and crannies. So most people just flung their clothes off and quickly began painting. Everyone was too busy making sure they were covered to be really interested in anyone else. Then a quick check to see if there was any flesh showing. It was explained previously that if we were not properly covered we would be pulled out as Spencer does not photoshop. People were helping one another to do backs and make sure hair was covered.
Then we were asked to move towards the rose garden and we were off. Walking around Hull City centre completely naked and covered in Blue body paint felt really natural. There was a little light-hearted banter and people explaining why they were doing this. It soon became apparent there were as many reasons as there were participants.
The Sea of Hull was a fantastic experience. Hull is City of culture next year and this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Celebrating its past and future, bringing people together & being part of a unique Art installation. It was liberating and exhilarating. I think everyone who took part had a very positive response to it and a personal story to tell. Everyone was there for their own reason. I just thought it would be a really interesting & challenging experience. However, it was much more. People from all over the world, 20 countries I think, everybody completely equal, respectful & considerate towards one another it was an absolutely wonderful atmosphere no negativity. All real people all shapes & sizes we never see real people naked just models & musicians almost always airbrushed to some weird sort of perfection. I could go on but you probably get the idea. If you get the chance to do it well DO IT !!