We join artist Skye Ferrante in Mayfair at the restaurant and lounge, QP LDN. The venue is hosting his latest project titled The Naked and the Nude, and Ferrante is preparing for his opening performance where he will be live sculpting a nude model over cocktails for attendees. Simultaneously, his exhibition will unveil roughly twenty pieces of continuous-wire portraits which can be viewed in the QP gallery until its closing at the end of this month.
In this collaboration with QP, Mr Ferrante will be creating London’s most expensive cocktail while he works from his continuous wire spool offering private portrait sessions to patrons and art collectors.
The MANOFWIRE Cocktail was designed by Ferrante, or as he’s better known by his international stage name; ‘Man of Wire'. It’s a combination of “New York deli swill coffee, nudity, and art – or if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can thrown in some Amaretto or Frangelico, basically any nut derivative liquor that would almost certainly kill me.”
It’s evident that with both Ferrante and his performance art, you are purchasing an experience. “I’ve always strived to have my work told through the models, highlighting their story and angles, rather than just through that of the male lens. They certainly have a voice, one that is usually forgotten. And, yes, sex is in the room, but I aim to dispel the all too often misogynist myths surrounding that of nude posing and female portraits in art.”
Upon viewing his various nude portraits for the exhibition, I inquire about the origins of a distinct and striking piece. He recalls, “Agata, twenty years old, posed for me in my Manhattan studio. She was very courageous, revealing her two darkest secrets. According to her, she was a virgin and she claimed she had never been fully naked in front of anyone before. I said I could help her with one of her problems.”, Ferrante says with a devious smile, to which I reply with a laugh. He continues, “To which she comfortably slipped out of her clothes and after a rather laborious three to four hours of sculpting, I happily sent her on her way.” Amidst his travels between Paris, London, New York, and Moscow, women from all trades of life seem to seek refuge in his creative and open heart.
“Where to next?” Ferrante tells us he will be in London for the month before heading off to Malta where he has been commissioned to create an exhibition on location, working under a time crunch to compose and create as much as he can within a few short weeks. However this isn’t a problem for Ferrante, as he works with vibrant flicks of his wrist. I watch his artistry as he creates some sort of small figurine. He pulls each wire strand, bending them to his liking, one after the next with rigorous intent and magnificent speed. Ferrante then hands me a small, palm-sized portrait of my face that he has created on the spot.
I ask if he’s ever slept with his models, to which Ferrante responds, “I’m a professional artist. I don’t sleep with the models, only my clients”. He winks with and eye that glimmers as if it belongs to a man that holds many secrets – but like a true gentleman, he doesn’t ever tell. Luckily with The Naked and the Nude, you don’t have to imagine. Come see for yourself.
Words by Shelby Welinder