Bodycasting Olympians ~ An interview with artist Louise Giblin (part 1)

From pole-dancers to priests Wadhurst based body-cast artist Louise Giblin has certainly captured people from all walks of life.

However despite the process making an exact replica of the figure Louise’s work reveals much more than just their form.
“Unlike normal portraiture I don’t aim to capture someone’s personality,” Louise explains. “I don’t believe you can guess at another’s personality after a brief acquaintance. Instead I go on what my models choose to project. That’s their armour. That’s what I’m interested in.”


As a result her work goes far beyond the surface. Appearance is one thing, the perception of yourself is quite another.

“What would you want cast?” She asks. “What is important enough you want to portray you for 150 years – or 3000 years if it is cast in bronze?”
It’s certainly no easy question and Louise’s latest work, which has seen her cast five prominent Olympians, has revealed some surprising answers.


The back of the body-casts features a stylised muscular design while the front was dictatedby the athlete themselves as their chosen sporting achievement.
“I assumed it would be about their gold medals. Darren Leach, a paralympian swimmer, has over 110 of them,” she says. “But both he, and Chris Agabuski, chose silver which was a big surprise. Chris was so mayor back in the day but he choose to mark winning silver in the 1984 hurdles. As he said that was the moment he knew he was really good. He even carries it around with him to this day.”


Along with Darren and Chris, Beth Tweddle, Sally Gunnell and Dame Kelly Holmes make up the collection.


Louise started body casting when she was 19 years old. Studying a foundation course in Portsmouth she learnt from a man called Phil who she recalls; “always wore a smart suit. He worked in a posh undertakers doing death masks of famous people and hand casts of musicians.”

~ First published in July’s etc Magazine ~



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