Andre Masters and CJ Munn with their sculptures
A studio in the heart of Maidstone is gaining a reputation for its unusual creations – as well as a celebrity following.
The home of artists C.J. Munn and partner Andre Masters is the hub from which weird and wonderful casts are made – from pregnant women’s bellies to the breasts and bottoms of brides.
Clients request the intimate sculptures as a lasting gift and chart-topper Labrinth is the latest to sign up.
C.J. and Andre travelled to his London recording studios to do a reproduction of the singer’s nose.
C.J. said: “Labrinth’s girlfriend loves to squidge it so we cast it in silicone rubber so she could. We also made a key ring using the nose cast as a gift.”
But making body sculptures is just one part of the story. The couple, whose studio is near the prison, are also experts in creating wildlife models.
After Andre saw a blind girl at a zoo asking her mum about the size of a lion, he realised that by making a sculpture of the lion, the scale of it could be appreciated by blind people.
Andre went on to cast big cats while they were anaesthetised and his work has now captured the attention of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
The pair, both 40, have been commissioned to make a series of sculptures in bronze, some with interactive features, for WWF’s Living Planet Centre in Surrey.
Casts include a leopard, sea turtle, crocodile and monkey.
Singer Labrinth had an unusual body part cast
Andre and CJ with Chandrika, the Asian Elephant at Woburn Safari Park
Perhaps the most unusual one is of elephant skin. Asian elephant Chandrika at Woburn Safari Park was the model. C.J. said: “Elephants are incredibly intelligent and don’t have to be anaesthetised. You can just ask them if they will move their front or back foot and they will.”
A cold cast copper sculpture made with a sample of Chandrika's skin texture
The couple have also made casts of an elephant’s tooth and even poo because, as C.J. says, “the kids will love it”.
Masters and Munn have also teamed up with Maidstone Museum, which C.J. said is “incredibly supportive” to develop wildlife sculptures.
C.J. said doing her job is a real privilege, especially recording key events in people’s lives.
She said: “It’s all about capturing special moments from births to romance and even death.
“We are the custodians of memories for every stage of life.”