Patrick Nicholas has decided to show off. He organises events in cafés, spas, clubs; they are not strictly exhibitions as nothing is hung on the wall. Rather he displays his work on an easel, explaining how the Belle series has developed over the years.
He recounts anecdotes about the individual works. He invites some of his collaborators to appear with him: the make up artist Simonetta Baletti, and sculptor Giorgio Bevignani with whom he has often worked, and one or two of his models.
Pauline alongside her picture
Here he is with Pauline who appeared in Dragon
2011. The role of the model in art is often underestimated and though she is sometimes given credit as a muse this tends to sound passive, almost ethereal.
At Art and Run Patrick introduces his models as active participants in the development of the image. He does not work with professionals on the Belle. He chooses the models, or very often they choose him, women from all walks of life, and they are from the very first involved in the creative process. The advantage of using old masters as inspiration is that both artist and model can choose paintings and sculpture as a jumping off point to explain, to illustrate, and to bounce around ideas.
In a creative venture like the Belle, the model is more important than in a conventional fashion shoot. She is the protagonist in a unique image; she is centre-stage, she is involved from the outset in the creation of the picture; without her the image would probably have been very different…… or may not have been born at all. To see the model on the stage, talking about her picture, ready to answer questions from the audience, willing to explain her role in the creation of her image, is fundamental to an Art and Run event.
In this particular event in Bologna, the city where Patrick created the first image in the Belle series back in 1988, he invited Rosita
Rosita with her picture
onto the stage to talk not only about her role in the most recent picture from December 2012 Flying Down to Rio, but also to recount how they had worked together over twenty years ago, before marriage, before children, and why she decided to pose again after such a long gap.
Art and Run lasts about an hour. After which the public may come forward to look more closely at the prints, browse through the Belle book, and ask further questions of the artist, his collaborators and the models. The audience loves meeting the models.
The pictures on show are for sale as are the Belle books.
Last but not least, a member of the audience may enquire about participating in a picture with herself as the protagonist; it is one of the attractions of Art and Run that the audience is given the opportunity to appear in the next show.
Siren: Association of Photographers award winning picture of Rosita, 1994