Gaasbeek's Castle
Naked volunteers battle with pillows as they pose for US artist Spencer Tunick in front of the Gaasbeek's Castle in Belgium

The otherwise modest residents of Hull have agreed to strip off in the name of art. The city is set to host American photographer Spencer Tunick, who is known for taking photos of crowds of people engaged in mass nudity.

Entitled The Sea of Hull, the photo will see the participants replicating the myriad colours of the sea, in recognition of the city's maritime history as they are covered in body paint. Tunick said the body paint would help people overcome their inhibitions.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for anyone interested in art who wants to pose nude, but is modest," he said. "It intrigues me that in some places where there are major streets or parks today, previously there was water. To reflect this I'll be using body paint so that the massed people create the idea of a sea of humanity flooding the urban landscape."

The curator of Hull's Ferens Art Gallery, Kirsten Simister, said: "This is more than a commission. It's an opportunity to involve people directly in an amazing live, performance that will temporarily transform the city. His new body of work will form part of an exhibition in 2017 and will also be purchased for the permanent collection."

Anyone over 18-years-old can take part and organisers are hoping that hundreds of people will show join the mass naked installation which is scheduled to take place on 9 July. The final image will be unveiled next year when Hull will be the UK's City of Culture.

The New York-based photographer has created nude installations at more than 90 landmarks around the world, including in front of the Sydney Opera House and the Place des Arts in Montreal.