Body casting specialist shares experiences with Jesmonite

A replica cast of your body could be hanging up in your house in a matter of weeks thanks to a UK artist using Jesmonite.

We’ve spoken before here at Jesmonite HQ about how sculptors may not be the creatives that spring to mind when talking about using our material – but Ryan Young at Nottingham Body Cast takes it a step further.

Your torso, pregnancy bump, bottom, legs, face, hands or even full body – Ryan can cast it all.

Intricate details picked up in casting

The intricate details of goose-bumps or tattoos can be picked up in the incredible work he does and we think it is amazing.

“I do life casting for all sorts of reasons such as special effects, for make-up artists, prosthetics, bespoke forms for bodybuilders, pregnancy bumps to celebrate a baby or people who simply do it as a way to get over body dysmorphia and increase confidence,” he said.

“I find people commission them often as a gift for a partner, to put up in a baby nursery or home gyms.

“Most people have them in their bedrooms but sometimes they even hang in the lounge. I guess it depends how proud or shy you are and if you’re okay with visiting friends and family seeing your body in that way.”

Ryan uses Jesmonite for lots of the mould making and casting processes required to create the body casting work he does from his Nottingham studio.

Trade secrets revealed

He also uses a large range of other materials to create special effects too like glitter, metal effects, body parts covered in Jelly Beans or chopped up money, to name a few.

Kickstarting his professional career as a graduate Modelmaker, Ryan began honing his skills working on exciting Marvel and Disney Production. His background working in the prop making and moulding departments for film studios such as Pinewood and Shepperton in London, UK, has helped shape his current business.

Now, his creations hang in homes across the UK as well as Germany, Portugal, Canada and the USA like California and Alabama.

“I love using Jesmonite,” he said.

“The processes I use today have taken a lot of trial and error. Without revealing too many trade secrets, I simply love the fact that as a water-based material it is very compatible with many of the life casting materials and processes I’ve adapted and tweaked over time.

“I ‘mummify’ the person, for lack of a better phrase, which is the mould making part. It is then inside this negative mould that I apply, paint and pour materials such as Jesmonite in to create a replication of the body part.

“Sometimes if we need to replicate a particular sculpture more than once we use the cast replica to create a reusable silicone mould to pour my materials into. Jesmonite is a great material for creating a hard supportive shell or mother mould to my reusable silicone skin/jacket style mould too, it’s so versatile!”

Experiment with trial and error

“I have experimented lots over time and am really enjoying using Jesmonite for all kinds of art-work,” he added.

“I love the challenge element of the larger projects and when people wish to add clothes in like jeans or lace underwear, it adds a level of complexity which I’m immediately a lot more interested in.

“The non-hazardous properties of Jesmonite are a huge benefit, you can crack on more rather than having to always kit out in quite so much PPE like with similar Polyester, epoxy and PU products.”

Ryan uses various paints and additives applied via airbrush’s, rattle cans or or gravity fed spray guns to decorate the casts, which take between six to eight weeks to complete.

Teaching the next generation of Jesmonite uses

As a qualified teacher working in Higher Education, he also offers training days for people looking to learn the craft and has had students visit from Scotland, Liverpool, London and even as far as Jamaica.

And all this alongside teaching on creative undergraduate courses at Nottingham Trent University where he currently works as the technical specialist for mould making and casting.

Ryan encourages students to work with Jesmonite, its benefits help the speed of classes and self-directed work as well as the broader range of projects students are able to work on.

Ryan also creates work for exhibitions, such as the Erotic Art exhibition in London, and still keeps his hand in with industry connections for film and theatre – he has helped create props for costumes used on Ben 10 Live: Time Machine and Paw Patrol LIVE.

Ryan’s Instagram is a space you can easily get lost in exploring the variety of his work and it’s also a place he gets a lot of commissions from. You can explore it here.

For more information you can visit the Nottingham Body Cast website here.