Get In The Sea For Hull 2017

This morning I awoke to see Hull and the rest of the country all of a flutter about #seaofhull. A launch event at Ferens Art Gallery was held to announce the new Sea of Hull artwork by global artist Spencer Tunick. His previous work has been sited at Sydney Opera House, Montreal, Mexico City and the Dead Sea (pictured)

sea of hull posterLocal radio was playing any song with the word ‘moon’ in the title, referencing the nudity aspect, I even heard the phrase Queens ‘lady’ Garden. And I just knew I could rely on Twitter for some disparaging remarks about Hull folk at #seaofhull

Reading the piece on the 2017 site I understand that participants are to be painted, responding to the different colours of the sea, found in the paintings from the Ferens Collection. The participants would then be ‘arranged’ in the city centre as Spencer created the huge installation.

I imagine it will look very powerful, the painted people shaped into waves, against the hard structures of the built up environment. An allegory for the floods perhaps or even rising sea levels. Reminds me of a line I wrote; something about the unique convergence of the water and the land… Reading in the press: Spencer describes being fascinated by the relationship found in places, where once there was water there is now land and vice versa.  

seaofhull logo

As it seemed to be the stripping off bit, that  alot of people were concerned about, I spoke with Venice Marshall Make Up Artist and Body Painter who regularly paints the naked body. 

What are your thoughts about the news that such a large scale body paint work is to be created in Hull for 2017?It is a great opportunity for the people of Hull to experience a new form of art in their city, a form which has actually been around for a long time, which many people enjoy all around the world.

The nudity aspect seems to be the thing that everyone is focusing on, what do your models say about being naked whilst being painted?Nobody is ever forced. The utmost respect is given to models, they maintain their dignity, have regular breaks: everyone is treated as a human being. The only thing the public see is the model with a layer of paint on… it is a form of art.  The number one priority for me is always the model’s comfort.

What attracted you to using the human body as a canvas?I feel that you can enhance how people look by using the shape of their body, creating illusions through body contours. I enjoy the challenge and find it really rewarding. Being able to create a connection with who you are painting, also makes it more fun. 

Will you be encouraging people to get involved in Sea of Hull?I want to encourage people in Hull to broaden their horizons, make it an even more colourful place, and get involved in all types of body art. 

Where can people find out more about your own body painting work and see some of the fantastic creations you’ve worked on in the last year?I have an Artist Page on Facebook AND in the near future I hope to be exhibiting some of my work here in Hull.   

Artist Site: 


venice marshall 2

Image courtesy of Venice Marshall – Model, Debz J Coppola – Picture, Rod Fitzpatrick

I know you are all sat there saying something like, ‘If you’re so pro Michelle, why don’t you do it: get your kit off for 2017?’ As someone who has struggled with issues around gender dysphoria and identity perception, perhaps… maybe I will. In terms of facing deeply held fears it would be a huge step for me.

Maybe participating in something like Sea Of Hull could have a positive and transformative effect on a person? Encourage thoughts such as: If I can do this maybe just maybe, I can do anything? I can be so much more than I thought. And anyway who in their right mind, would turn down the opportunity to be part of a global artwork?

So I did. I signed up. It scares me but I still signed up so that must mean that some part of me wants to do it. Some part of me wants to overcome matters of modesty and inhibition and celebrate the moment. My body ain’t pretty, it’s scarred, it’s odd shaped, all gangly arms, spindly legs and shovel hands… but by ‘eck what a thing to say you’ve been a part of. seaofhull sign up

Artist Site:


1 Comment

Filed under Art blogs

One response to “Get In The Sea For Hull 2017

  1. We have almost 200 #SpencerTunick #SeaOfHull participants in our unofficial facebook support group, you are welcome to come and join us at


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