Goodbye Art School, Hello World!

The New York Studio School is casting out into the “real world” their newest class of MFA graduates in just a couple of weeks. I feel particularly close to this group of young people because they were the first class for whom I ever posed at the Studio School. They were the first ones to draw me, paint me, pose me in setups, make me laugh, share a smoke break with, drink coffee with, and embrace as the “new” model. (New to the Studio School, not new to art modeling in general). And now they are leaving, and my sensitive nature is making me feel sentimental about their rite of passage.

Art models are witnesses to many things. Our vantage point is unique in that it is a combination of active player and passive spectator. We witness the different creative processes of individual artists. We witness the inner workings of an art school. We witness the interactions between instructors and students. We witness the goings-on of the art community. We witness the personal ups and downs of artists. And we even witness some occasional gossip. So while artists work to hone their observational skills, so too do art models (but with a lot less effort!). What’s most exciting to witness, however, is the growth in the lives of up-and-coming visionaries and budding young talents. It is slowly, quietly, engrossing. After all these years of modeling full time here in New York, I still feel honored be a brief attendant in the life paths of such fresh, talented hopefuls.

I’m so proud of this Studio School class. They comprise a diverse circle of young people, among whom geographic places from England to Argentina to Cyprus to Australia to Cuba are represented. I have not seen a more dedicated, harder working group of young artists in all my experience. They toil away in that old Greenwich Village building often 12 or 13 hours a day, often exhausted and bleary-eyed, sometimes napping, grabbing meals when they can, preparing for critiques and shows, organizing lectures, researching in the library, and juggling quite a heavy workload. And all the while, they are able to remain light-hearted in spirit. They laugh a lot, which is especially a joy for me. In my experience I have seen so many “artists” assume the stereotype of the the dark, moody, aloof, “I am a tortured artist” role. Because of it, they are rude, curt, pompous, humorless, and insufferably self-important. The Art Students League, for example, is infested with such pretentious posers.

But these kids at the Studio School (yes, I call them “kids”, because I am, um, a tad older than them 😉 ) embody a much healthier and more agreeable disposition. They are optimistic, but take nothing for granted. They are smart and realistic without being cynical. They are confident, but not arrogant (Art Students League? Are you listening?) But best of all, they are creative, passionate, and have things to say.

I am especially happy for Rosanna Wright, Jollyon Carter, Liliana Perez, and Kat Savvides, the four whom I know best of the group and, as I mentioned earlier, have enjoyed many a laugh with over the past year and a half. Wherever life takes them I hope they remember me even a little, as I will certainly remember them.

You can see some examples of their work on their newly-launched websites:,,,, and

I wish each and every one of them all the best in their aspirations and endeavors. And I offer my warmest, sincerest hopes that their precious artistic dreams be fully realized. Good luck guys! 🙂 Love, from your model, Claudia xoxo

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