Interview - Greg Tingle

Interview: Greg Tingle (Media and Communications Director of Human Statue Bodyart, Human Entertainment and Media Man, Independent Artist and Living Statue Model


Human Statue Bodyart Media Man Int


Human Statue Bodyart Media Man Int Art Creative Arts

When I grow up, I want to be…a living statue
(BULL Magazine)

How did you get started as a living statue?

I've been doing it for five years now. I always had an appreciation of art - my mum is an artist and this career caught my eye - how they combined together art and marketing and branding. I had a background in advertising and marketing and I was impressed with the way living statues combined artistic creations with events and branding in the corporate world. I started to enquire and turn up to events that used live statues - so I thought I may as well become part of it!

What do you do day-to-day?

There is a real variety of areas to perform in. You get to become part of an actual creation and it's a really diverse range of people who want human statues - one day it might be a high end hotel, one day it might be a race track, the next week it might be for a charity. On a typical day, I'll arrive an hour beforehand to be painted and get dressed ready for wherever I'm performing that day - this can be a long process for some characters.

What's your favourite character to become?

The best ones are where I get to move a little bit and interact with some guests! I like being the joker or the jester because it allows me to be a bit playful - I feel like I can be myself. Being Captain Cook is a lot of fun as well because that's got some historical value, and I also got to slip in the occasional 'aye aye captain'. The more challenging ones are the ones where you are dressed up and not allowed to move. It's actually incredibly tiring to stay in one position for a long time.

In those jobs, how do you remain completely still while others are talking and moving around you?

I often think about the days I used to be an Air Cadet in the Australian Air Force. It's a bit like the drills we used to do - only you're wearing something a little more colourful - and I use a lot of the skills I learnt there about how to focus on a task at hand. You're supposed to be a statue standing still - so that's what you've got to do. We often get a short break where you can stretch your legs and arms for thirty seconds to make sure you don't pass out on the job. You have to make sure you have something to eat beforehand and drink lots of water throughout.

Good, thanks for the practical tips! How do people react to you as a living statue?

People always want you to do something or respond - that's part of the fascination! People often beg and plead with you to show that you're actually a person. Sometimes I like to give them a small gesture - a wink or a wave to make them wonder if I'm real, without breaking the illusion for everyone else.
I've heard of other living statues in the industry who have had some trouble with people though. There was a living statue on the Gold Coast earlier this year where a member of the public was provoking the statue - he put his finger in his ear, poking him and all sorts. It didn't end very well for the person that was taunting him because the statue retaliated by punching him! Thankfully though that's an isolated incident.

Are there different requirements placed on male and female human statues?

The female statues have a lot more diversity in the roles they play, and I think they can be more creative. They also often get to interact with the audience more often. Female statues are much more popular for private events, though most of the public living statues you see are male.

Finally, what is it that people love about human statues?

I think people love to try to catch you out! There's something about a still statue - which on first glance may seem to be stone or marble - being alive. It's quite magical.

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