Tag Archives: art modeling

Statuesque

15 Sep

– On posing for Paul Cezanne…
Cezanne rushed foward: ‘You wretch! You have upset the pose! You should sit like an apple. Whoever saw an apple fidgeting?’ Motionless as that fruit may be, Cezanne was sometimes obliged to leave a study of apples unfinished. They had rotted.

— Ambroise Vollard

When artist’s models are asked to assume any pose for longer than a few minutes, it becomes uncomfortable, no matter if it’s the simplest of seated poses. For me, the absolute worst is when I take a pose for a long session – several hours with minimal breaks, and it turns out to be a terrible choice from the start and there’s nothing I can do about it. I usually choose my pose with only a bit of guidance from the artist or teacher. They may ask for a standing, seated, or reclining pose, but the placement of my body is pretty much up to me. If I’m in a group setting, I always try to present an interesting look from a 360 degree vantage point, since most of the time, the model stand is in the center of the room of artists, so everyone has a different viewpoint. If I’m seated on the stand, I’ll put a twist in my torso and maybe cross one leg over the other and put one hand on the floor behind me and place the other on my knee.

As I said before, no matter how comfortable a pose may look, it becomes difficult to maintain after 10 minutes, so I’ve devised ways to move while staying completely still. I will use whatever part of me is balancing the rest of me and lift about 1/8 of an inch to let blood flow and keep from having various bits and pieces falling asleep. I’ll rotate that 1/8 inch from pressure point to pressure point ever so slightly to help with discomfort while appearing to not move. There’s a very famous flute player named James Galway, who has mastered the art of breathing in while blowing out at the same time – he never has to stop playing the flute to catch his breath. Try it sometime – it seems impossible, but he can do it! I want to be the James Galway of the art modeling!

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Student body

9 May

I am constantly amazed at what student artists are capable of. This is a recent charcoal drawing of me by a CSN student named Catelyn Lutz. She had about nine hours over a three-day period to complete her piece.

The instructor of this life drawing class is a personal favorite of mine. Anne Hoff is a tiny dynamo in who’s class I first removed my robe for the sake of student art. If you are lucky enough to find yourself under her tutelage, you will learn (and laugh) a lot. Anne will be the first to tell you that I’ve nicknamed her Napoleanne when she gets particularly bossy. This still life is enhanced by a cow skull that somehow wound up in her back yard, and the peacock feather stuffed down its boney snout is just how she rolls.

The sincerest form

29 Nov

I am a versatile model, and I work in many different areas – fashion, print, spokes model, and art modeling. Without question, being an artist’s model is my biggest blessing and my harshest curse.

Very few of the people in my life know that I am an art model, which is a shame, because it is by far my most favorite aspect of my work. I am fascinated by art and artists, and being a live model lets me into the artistic process in a very intimate way. We’ve all had that dream where we’re naked in public. I actually put myself there on purpose. Not only am I naked in public, but every inch of me is being scrutinized… not just by anyone, but by someone trained to see exacting and excruciating detail.

Sadly, movies, TV, and general ignorance have altered public perception about the role and function of artist’s models. I laughed out loud watching an episode of Desperate Housewives where a oiled and tanned male model strode into an art class fully naked without any preamble from the instructor. Anyone who enrolls in a life drawing class expecting to have a “Dear Penthouse Forum” experience will be quite disappointed. Artists and instructors take great care to maintain strict professionalism during the entire process. Just think of me as a potted plant…

Recently, a college art class was asked to paint me while imitating the style of an old master. The instructor is one of my very favorites – Dennis Angel. Here are some pieces from those sessions:

 

Interpretation

14 Jan

After several posts about my work as an artist’s model, I realized that I’d never posted photos of the finished product! Here are some of my favorite paintings and drawings that came out of art classes and professional studio sessions in the last year or so. It’s fun to watch the process and see how different artists interpret the same model.

Feels like the first time

10 Jan

I’d been a fashion model for years – on and off my entire life, actually, and I thought I’d conquered the universally recurring nightmare of being naked in public. After all, I’d changed in front of countless other people – other models, designers, and (usually) gay men, and it never really fazed me. During a fashion show, models are little more than store mannequins to be changed like living Barbie dolls as fast as humanly possible and scooted back out on stage for another round of looking tragically cool and hiply detached. We’re practically schooled on looking as if we don’t give a damn in order to keep the fashionable fantasy alive.

So when my college professor asked me if I would consider modeling for the art department, I thought it’s be no big deal. I’d been naked in front of people before, right? I gathered together the necessary items: a robe, flip-flops, and a cushion to sit on during longer poses, courage…., and I went into the class only to discover that nothing was the same. With fashion modeling, focus is entirely on the clothes. Your body is merely a hanger to show them off. In art modeling, the body is the focus, and I had nearly 20 students staring at mine. The only fashionable fantasy I had was dreaming I was back in my robe again!

Thankfully, the first class ended and I was able to calm down and realize that they are truly there to learn and create. To this day, I have never had any incidences or feelings of being objectified. Everyone has been completely professional. Art students are the best, and I love the creative process. I feel like I’m learning along with them as I listen to the instructor’s guidance. The thing that terrified me beyond measure has become one of my favorite parts of my work.

Safety First

16 Aug

I am regularly approached by photographers who want to work with me in some capacity, and in today’s world, I had to learn to figure out who was a safe bet and who was a creepy potential stalker or worse. Having come through my learning curve relatively unscathed, let me share a few quick pointers to any new or aspiring models out there.

1. Know how to spot a G.W.C.: In the world of art photography, you have three general categories of photographer – the full-time professional who makes his or her (although 98% of the ones I’ve come across are guys, and for the purposes of this post, let’s assume they all are) living as a photographer. Secondly, you have the semi-pro guy who earnestly wants to make compelling art. He may have a day job somewhere else, but his passion lies behind the lens. Lastly, we have the Guy With Camera or G.W.C. These folks run around with a digital camera and precious little additional equipment and have figured out that there are naiive gals out there who will take their clothes off if someone points a camera at them. Since digital photography has become more and more popular and simple, these guys seem to be behind every tree (usually in a trench coat). They put up profiles on legitimate modeling sites, and start emailing models. Usually, it’s the younger, less experienced girls who fall for this, but we’ve all been there. This brings me to the next point….

2. Location, location, location: If you are approached by someone like this, most likely they will flatter you and ask for a nude session at their home / hotel, etc. Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing in that many artists have home studios, but it can be a red flag in the uncovering of the G.W.C. A professional, freestanding studio is golden, but home studios are also potentially okay.

3. A visual: Be sure to ask him to show you samples of his work. I always, always do this before committing to anyone, no matter who they are. If I don’t like the art they produce, I figure we’ll not be a good match, and I politely decline. In order to save egos, my response is usually something like, “your work is interesting, but I don’t see me as a good fit for you. Thank you anyway and best of luck”. Don’t be pulled in by a big fee or flattery by a well-known photographer if his style isn’t for you.

4. Interview references: On sites such as ModelMayhem and One Model Place (among others), you are able to see who the photographer’s friends are and who he has worked with in the past. This is invaluable in finding out if he is professional in his work and attitude. Models will be happy to give you the scoop if you email them about a particular photographer. I had a bad experience early on in my career, and I was thrilled when I received an email from a girl he had asked to model for him. I told her the truth, and she was saved the same crap I had to contend with. Sadly, this guy’s work is beautiful, and I’d have worked with him over and over if he hadn’t been such a pig.

5. Notice dates: See how long he has been in the field. Someone who is semi-pro and has been working for the last several years is a sign that he’s legit. A guy with a profile and work history of only a few months will need further research.

6. Get the hell out: If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable for any reason at all during a shoot, you are completely within your rights to leave. You may have to forfeit your fee, but your dignity and safety are worth far more. You’re not only doing yourself a favor, but the creep may just realize that if he wants to be a true artist, he needs to treat the models with respect. Don’t remain where you feel unsafe!

I hope this is helpful to anyone who is starting out in the incredibly rewarding field of art photography. There are amazing photographers out there who are making fabulous works of art, and with a little savvy, you can have a wonderful career.