Rock Your Body

Every couple of months, a huge deal is made out of some Hollywood starlet appearing nude in a magazine, nude in a movie role, or semi-nude in a glamorous airbrushed photo spread. The entertainment coverage goes berserk, the star gets mega-publicity, and the public snatches up those magazines to gawk at what amounts to a mere glimpse of some actress’s navel, or partially exposed boob. We ever-so-jaded art models think, “Yeah? So?”. Big whoop. We simply can’t get caught up in the hype because, well, we work in the nude all day 5 or 6 days a week – and we’re offering a lot more than glimpses! Also, those carefully staged and airbrushed images are not nudity in the true sense of the word, not as artists and art models understand it. Our definition is quite different.

Good art modeling requires a great deal of body confidence. By that I don’t mean the “Look at me, I spend 15 hours a week in the gym, check out my rock-hard abs” strutting around the beach in a skimpy bathing suit kind of confidence. For an art model, the confidence stems from a complete embrace of both your unvarnished nudity and your body in movement. Art models must “surrender” to their role, and fulfill the expectation that they will not only pose nude, but pose confidently, uninhibitedly, expressively, and without the benefit of Photoshopping, flattering lighting, or the magic worked by professional hair and makeup people. We are, as they say, the “real deal”.

Recently I read an article which referred to a young actress’s “brave” decision to pose half-naked in a magazine. I chuckled when I read it. “Brave”? Is it really “brave” to put yourself in the talented hands of a Herb Ritts or Annie Leibovitz? Is it “brave” to be pampered and prepped by assistants for hours before you finally shoot the “big shot”? A shot that’s been processed, imbued with fakery and driven by vanity? (Yes, those showbizzy nude shots are vanity-driven, but in Hollywood that’s perfectly understandable). Art models, however, are working from the polar opposite of that. We actually discard our vanity. We are working for others, not others for us. Big distinction.

I’d like to share this drawing with all of you. It was done by my pal Fred Hatt. I was posing at Figureworks Gallery in Brooklyn, and if there is any place one could call a “no-frills” environment, it’s Figureworks. There isn’t even a model platform, believe it or not. The model poses on the gallery floor, with blankets and pillows of course. And you know what? It’s fantastic. I’ve done some of my best posing there. This particular drawing demonstrates the raw honesty of real nudity, and the creativity that bursts forth when one has to work in an impromptu – rather than contrived or premeditated – fashion (the artists too). This pose, with one raised arm and the other arm across my body, just sort of happened. I turned my head to the side, my legs climbed up the wall, and there it was. Fred captured it all in a fleeting 10 minutes. And the results are great! Like I say, to art model you simply have to let loose, have fun, and just rock your body . . .

10 thoughts on “Rock Your Body

  1. robert bent says:

    You are such a fine writer!! And you have such personality….it shines thru your topic and word selection. Your blog is a treat. But, as a visual guy I have to say it’s the pictures you post that really snag my attention. The “rock” pose is great, the curves and weight jump off the paper. I also enjoyed your recent Gaugin pics; and the sluts!! Sorry you have issues with LLT.
    Best

  2. katelan says:

    Thank you for posting this. As both an artist and art model I completely agree with you on body image. I am in no way a skinny girl, I am a real girl with bumps and bruises. Keep writing, you’re great at it and your blog is fantastic.

    xo,
    K

  3. redstarcafe says:

    I like Fred’s confident lines and playful colour. You didn’t mention that art modelling is also hard work!

  4. artmodel says:

    Robert,

    Thanks for your terrific comments. Yes, I can be accused of many things, but lacking a “personality” is definitely not one of them! Fine with me that you are particularly grabbed by the images on Museworthy. I have more just waiting to be uploaded into posts. And with the wonderful generosity of artists I work with, even more to come in the future.

    As for my Lautrec “smackdown”, I confess that I do, and always have, liked his work very much. (dammit!). But the quote from him made for a very good meltdown on my part!

    Best,
    Claudia

  5. artmodel says:

    Katelan,

    Thanks so much for commenting! It’s really great to have a fellow art model reading Museworthy, and your compliments mean a great deal to me.

    It’s no surprise that you related to this post, as you fully understand the liberating, confident, and self-assured feeling that art models know through their work. It’s an experience like no other. Yep, bruises, scars, whatever – we are who we are. And there’s beauty in every human inch of us.

    Claudia

  6. artmodel says:

    Redstarcafe,

    You are sooo right! Art modeling is, indeed, very hard work. Glad you pointed that out. Hard work, and very rewarding work. Not a bad combination.

    Glad you liked Fred’s drawing. You mentioned line and color; Fred’s specialties!

    Claudia

  7. dougrogers says:

    I used to model for a time. It seemed there were two minds about it – sometimes I needed approval for my body and sometimes I knew I was confidant and comfortable with it.

  8. gooses says:

    Thank you so much for describing my thoughts! Somehow you entered my brain and pulled out my thoughts into a more eloquent and cohesive whole than that in which they had resided. Moreover, that is an absolutely stunning drawing. Someday I hope someone will capture me with such energy. Especially if I only need to hold the pose for ten minutes!

  9. artmodel says:

    Doug,

    I totally hear that. Those “two minds” exist, and sometimes simultaneously! For me, however, the confidence has come overwhelmingly from my understanding that it is ARTISTS who are looking at me, and artists are looking through their own kind of “eyes”. They are searching for beauty; beauty in lines, in shapes, in colors, in angles, and, best of all, beauty in the character and energy of their life subject. That knowledge has been very comforting to me, and very significant in my ability to pose nude and pose so FREELY in the nude.

    Your remarks have started me wondering about the difference in nude modeling for males and females? Interesting topic. In fact, this whole “body image” topic has generated so much response, and I plan to discuss it a lot more on Museworthy. Many people – art models or non-art models – can relate to it. We all want to feel good about ourselves.

    Thanks for commenting!

    Claudia

  10. artmodel says:

    Gooses! Hey girl!

    So great to read a comment from you. Thank you for it 🙂 I’m glad I was able to articulate the art modeling experience, which I know you understand.

    I appreciate your compliment of Fred’s drawing. He’s really amazing. And you pointed out how he created it in just ten minutes. Yes, he gets it down fast, always. His eye is that good. And it works so well for his “spontaneous” style. Fred’s art is always exciting to look at.

    Someone will definitely capture you like that someday. Keep working and posing for different artists, and it will happen And it will feel so good when it does!

    Claudia

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