Thursday, June 10, 2010

Naked . . .

Something I haven't discussed on this blog before, simply because I haven't done it in years: being an artist's model.

It might seem strange, especially for those who know me well; my sexuality has always been terribly private and I have nearly Victorian ideas about it. So, it might make one scratch their head and wonder why I would be comfortable being nude in front of a room full of strangers. But, being a figure model for art classes is not about sexuality or voyeurism, for me or for the students. There is always a brief moment when I first disrobe that my brain screams: Ah!!! Naked!!! Cover up!!! It is the moment when both I and the students realize there is a naked girl in the room. Then, the moment passes, I take my position, and they begin to sketch or paint, silence descending. I become a collection of lines and angles, light and shadow, musculature and bone. I am still a person and a woman, but my nudity is not sexualized, and it is strangely freeing to realize this.

I started modeling in college for the extra money; Tulane paid its artist's models very well back then. I did it a few times when I came home but then stopped, due to a lack of time and not knowing where to go. I've gotten back into it for the money, but I think it's good for the soul too. Certainly, it's good for me; it forces me to accept my body as it is and gives me the chance to look at it as others see it, rather than my own distorted view. I was surprised to walk amoung the artists last night and see that they had painted me thinner than I thought I was. A mirror can lie, but a stranger, especially one who's an artist, will not.

Yes, I am a little sore this morning; holding any pose for 25 minutes at a time will do that. But, I'm glad I decided to do this again.


ThePeSla said...

Once a friend in the coffee shop posed as a nude model for the art department but it paid very little and she said we could sit in if we wanted. "No, no," I told her "I just could not look at you that way." So she told me to view the paintings at the end of the semester and I promised I would.

"Oh, yes, I saw them," I told her but of the dozen or so paintings not much looked like a human form, maybe some clouds of colors or a lot of stacked concrete blocks."

Maybe like it is said a star does not exist unless there is a sentient being so see even one photon of it in the physics. Then again art is more powerful than science.

I said...

I think people frequently have the wrong idea about artists' models. It's not about anything sexual or even about the human nudity so much- it's about the form, the weight and the way it rests, the way things work together to create something as exquisite as the human body. Good for you for getting back into it, I believe it is a noble profession (or side-profession, or what have you).