After work drinks at a local pub may be a typical evening in London, but few can say it included a naked life drawing class in the dark.
Shining their ultraviolet light on traditional art techniques, Neon Naked is popping up across London to reinvent life drawing. The materials glow, the models are clad in psychedelic neon paint and the attendees range from bachelorette parties to art students.
At the Kings Head Pub in London’s trendy neighbourhood Angel, you may think you have walked into a full moon party. Ultraviolet lights illuminate drawing materials on each table and fabric hanging from the ceiling creates a fluorescent backdrop for an empty chair.
To one side, a model adjusts her glowing wig as patterns adorn every inch of her naked body. Jylle Navarro the founder of Neon Naked and art tutor intently focuses on painting bright orange tracks across the model’s shoulders and back.
Jylle began her career in fashion, experimenting with UV lights on the catwalk to create clothing that transforms. With a passion for pushing the boundaries of design, her experience in fashion shines in her art class through unique costumes and experimentation with texture and colour.
“I always have different models, paint designs and costumes. The class is always developing.” Jylle said.
In this session, the model binds her body with a bright yellow rope, while embellishing her pose using a garland of clear orbs, strung together with frayed neon ribbons. Jylle creates costumes ranging from sci-fi Geishas to futuristic animal ensembles, all part of the “designer rave” style she develops for her classes.
The event is filled with groups of friends, a few creative couples and a London based artist seeking inspiration for her next work.
“You get a lot of beginners, people who haven’t tried still life before or who just want to experience something new,” said Jylle.
“Every class is a little bit different.”
The session begins with some quick exercises that help students familiarise themselves with using pastels and pens to capture light, colour and texture. Next, Jylle provides a variety of prompts, including drawing with only straight lines, with your eyes closed or using the models movements to explore artistic interpretation.
This unique and experimental theme throughout the class is all part of the events appeal and the purpose behind Jylle’s creation of Neon Naked.
“In art institutions you are taught how to draw perfectly but not how to develop your own personal style,” she said.
“Unfortunately, this is something a lot of people only develop later on, which is why some of them come here.”
Unlike many life drawing classes where the models are completely still and have no props or accessories, Jylle directs the model to transform into a living sculpture using the materials around them.
During one prompt the model gracefully moves, flourishing a collection of interlaced strips of fabric, while the students are encouraged to use the visual as inspiration.
The classes break the boundaries of traditional life drawing and allow each student to play around with their individual style through an unusual, freeing and enjoyable process.
The Neon Naked experience is intentionally exciting, innovative and therapeutic, offering people over the age of 16 a chance to disconnect from the busy streets of London for a few hours.
Classes usually start between 6pm and 8pm, with regular pop ups in Angel, Shoreditch, Clapham and Peckham. Ticket prices range from 12 to 15 pounds and each venue also offers pub food and drinks.
If you were looking for something even more visually exciting, on Saturday the 16th of April, Neon Naked is celebrating the Easter weekend, in theme. From 1pm, book a one-off special life drawing class with models who have transformed into psychedelic neon bunnies at the Toulouse Lautrec Piano Bar and Restaurant.
Or, if you are looking for a more electric late night experience, the Looking Glass Cocktail Club in Shoreditch will be hosting a DJ, live acts and bunny girl dancers. In addition Neon Naked will be providing the opportunity for you to be painted in neon designs yourself.
Dress in your most inventive costume with lots of white or in as little as possible (not nude) to be painted in glowing paints while ordering drinks that illuminate. Doors open from 9:30pm and VIP and group bookings are available.