Nude life drawings with a deadly twist (NSFW)

Art Macabre subverts all of your previous expectations when it comes to drawing people naked.

art macabre skeleton girl

Death drawing gives a whole new meaning to still life

Walking cadavers. Hitchcockian birds in gilded cages. A whodunit hosted by film-noir inspired femme fatales. Art Macabre is nothing if not adventurous.

The London-based salon was founded to "inject a lethal dose of theatricality and the macabre" into art groups. Each meet has a new theme and setting, with costumes, props and multimedia tools. And nudity. Lots of nudity. Well, this is life-drawing after all.

skeleton boy art macabre

All models use makeup, costumes and props to bring each theme to life

"There's a tradition of the nude form [in art]," founder Nikki Shaill explains, "contrasted with skeletons, skulls and symbols of mortality. Memento mori artwork assists people in reflecting on the beauty yet fragility of life. We aim to update this tradition, with a twist."

Back in 2010, Nikki ran a special Halloween edition of her more traditional art group. It proved so popular she decided to pursue the death-drawing theme, and Art Macabre was born.

illustrations art macabre

Aaron Jacob's illustrations from Art Macabre's Horror Hospital Special

Past events have had titles such as Midsummer Night's Scream, Hot Cross Bunny Boilers and Queens of the Bone Age. Models are encouraged to display their unique character traits through props and poses, including being suspended in Japanese rope bondage and posing with their false teeth out!

lady and skully art macabre

To add to the atmosphere, models are invited to choose the music that accomanies their session

The sessions are open to all over 18's, with the aim of helping people gain confidence in mark making, developing their skills and "pondering death in a different way."

frieda style lady

Materials are provided for each session, making the events accessible to artists of any standing

Death Drawing has gone from strength to strength, with a string of future events lined up in and around London, but it's with some trepidation Nikki welcomes a landmark on the horizon.

"I've said that I’ll take the plunge and pose nude for the very first time at Art Macabre's 100th event. Which I may regret, as it is approaching quite swiftly."

skull face lady

One of the founding ideas behind Art Macabre is to encourage artists to "ponder death in a different way"

This month Art Macabre is hosting Eros & Death at London's Freud Museum as well as more bloody Valentine delights: Heart Macabre and The Craft Valentines' Massacre.

For more information on the events go to deathdrawing.com and follow @ArtMacabreLDN.

Words: Gary Evans

This article originally appeared in ImagineFX issue no. 105

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