Brent & Shirley Cairns of Kaiapoi are the artists behind the brand name of NakedArt.
Reverence for the human form is the underlying value behind each of the sculptures that they create from taking a mould from a live model. Some of the most famous and popular artworks through the ages have involved the human form and this couple are carrying on this tradition with their unique style of sculpture.
Their creative skill brings out the beauty in each of the people that offer to model for them with techniques developed to capture minute detail.
Generally the medium employed is imported gypsum from the United States. Multiple layers of colored glaze are then applied to produce a faux bronze effect that changes the look of the sculpture as the light changes during the day or with artificial light at night.
Another medium they use is glass. The wonderful effects you get when you combine the human body and the translucent properties of glass, makes for a sensual ambience.
Pewter is another medium they have experimented with providing a unique reflective contemporary look, along with Aluminium.
Whilst both raised in Southland they came from very different backgrounds, Shirley’s fathers business manufactured concrete water tanks so during the school holidays she would spend her time plastering tanks. Where as Brent’s family is more on the creative side, his grandmother was a painter and his mother and sisters are talented in all types of craft.
The idea of making a mould from a live person came from Brent’s interest to immortalize Shirley’s bust. (something he has always loved about her) Whilst on holiday in 2001 they created what was going to be the one and only casting…however the finished sculpture was noticed by a neighbor who wanted to commission the couple to make a sculpture of her.
The positive reaction to each of the finished sculptures inspired them to employ models to create what is now an ever increasing range of classical, contemporary, sporty and some a little naughty sculptures, that are sold through their website or from galleries throughout New Zealand, Australia, Japan and the USA.
NakedArt sculptures are in private collections and museums all over the world, Germany, USA, Holland, UK, Australia, Singapore, Oman, Norway, Scotland, India to name just a few.
In August 2003 they made the decision to go full-time with their NakedArt business.
Despite not having any formal arts training they have spent a great deal of time and money developing their unique processes used to create their sculptures whether it is the way they create the cast, the beautiful finishing technique, glass moulding, working with pewter etc. As Brent says “We want be seen as innovators not imitators”
They are passionate about what they do and that passion flows into another area of their life…helping others… They are mentors for the business in the community program helping other creative industry practitioners and are always helping charities the likes of Breast Cancer Foundation, Leukemia and Blood Foundation, Bone Marrow Trust, Rainbow Trust, Books for homes Australia just to name a few.
In 2004 they were nominated and were finalists for the Champion Canterbury Business Awards recognizing Innovation and Excellence.
They are members of the Coca gallery and the Canterbury Chamber of Commerce.
They are often to asked to speak at business and service club functions about their unique business and how they got started. In 2004 they spoke at 14 separate events.