André Masters and CJ Munn from Kent work together to create bespoke sculptures and body casts – fusing traditional skills with modern material technologies to create an updated twist on classical renaissance sculpture. They have just been featured on BBC2’s new flagship art series ‘Show Me the Monet’ as one of the 35 best new artworks selected from thousands to go into a prestigious exhibition at the Royal College of Art, and have also recently been shown on Supersize v Superskinny on Channel 4 creating life sculptures of women with eating disorders to help enable them to face up to a more objective view of their bodies.
Creatabot spoke to the artistic couple to find out more…
How long have you been artists for now?
André was a modelmaker for film and television for about 15 years, and I have been a professional artist/lifecaster now for nearly 14 years, although we’ve only started breaking into the world of fine art in the last couple of years when we were commissioned to create 9 bespoke copper nudes for Tom Hoblyn’s award-winning show garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Did you study any creative subjects?
André studied graphic design and modelmaking at college, and I turned away from my artistic leanings after A-levels as both my parents had been struggling artists/craftspeople and wanted better things for me. I rediscovered my creativity later in life, after a successful career in television production came to a pause when I was pregnant and I realised how much I missed making things.
How much of what you do has been self taught?
André and I are predominantly self-taught and consider ourselves eternal learners. Although we do have specialities (lifecasting, modelmaking, painting) we don’t like to pigeon hole ourselves and are forever experimenting with different media and new material technologies. We learn from each other and are constantly having a go at things we see on the internet or in books or have been inspired by in exhibitions.
Who is your favourite local artist and all time favourite artist?
My favourite local artist is my mother, Diane Brazier www.dianebrazier.co.uk who was my earliest inspiration and tutor. Although my mother specialises in 2D and we work predominantly in 3D I must credit her amazing talent for continually inspiring me from a very early age. It’s very hard to pick an all-time favourite artist. I find Frida Kahlo very inspiring but it’s more about her as a person than her talent in many ways. We both love Ron Mueck, another ex-modelmaker, who makes the most incredible life-like sculptures and I personally love the simple charm of Sir Stanley Spencer’s heartfelt paintings.
Who really inspires you?
We inspire each other! When we met it felt like fireworks going off in our heads with all the ideas we kept coming up with of things we wanted to make. The more we work together (or apart), the more ideas it inspires. There isn’t enough life left to make even half of what’s in our notebooks from the last five years, so we’re just going to have to be really selective.
What would you really like to learn in the future?
How to make more money from our art! It sounds ridiculous but we’re already naturals at putting our heart and soul into our work, and teaching ourselves new and interesting methods of expressing our creativity. But where we sometimes stumble, like so many artists, is networking with the right kind of people to get our work seen in the sorts of places where big, ambitious sculptures sell. We’ve had a few fantastic breaks, like getting to the final exhibition in the BBC’s recent flagship arts series ‘Show Me the Monet’ and having our work seen by millions at the Chelsea Flower Show last year, and we’re showing several pieces in the beautiful Fairfax Gallery in The Pantiles, in Tunbridge Wells at the moment but we’d love to learn how to build on that exposure and get our work seen in more places around the world.
Can you recommend a creative website you love?
First of all ours of course www.mastersandmunn.co.uk where you can find out more about our previous experience.
Our favourite international arts blog www.dailyartmuse.com which brings absolutely gems of creativity into our mailbox once a day.
And I’d love to introduce you to a Facebook page which highlights the talents of the artists featured in the ‘Show Me the Monet’ competition alongside myself. There are some truly talented people here on the cusp of bigger things and it was amazing to be featured in an exhibition with them at the RCA. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Show-Me-The-Artists/161209817272203
Thank you so much for speaking to Creatabot and helping to inspire other creatives!