Never Leave the Art Model Alone With Her Camera

It was kind of funny checking my blog stats just now. Among the search engine terms which brought someone to Museworthy today was “depressed woman painting”. Another one was “depression model”. Something tells me that the latter searcher didn’t intend “model” as in art model. Anyway, I got a kick out of it and thought I’d share it with all of you. Gotta love Google!

I’m working at the New York Studio School all afternoons this week, and even though the beast is still with me, I found a way to amuse myself and indulge a little of my own creative vision- some of it moderately respectable, some of it pretty juvenile. But at least I was able to elevate my mood a bit. I’ll take anything I can get.

I realized today that the Studio School is an ideal place to take pictures. Probably the best out of all the places I work. It drips “art school”. Vivid colors, battered props and objects everywhere, piles of fabrics, student artwork stacked against walls, areas of clutter juxtaposed with areas of open space. It is sublime disarray. Ordered disorder. It’s really pretty cool. The building is old, and an architectural oddity in many respects. It contains many secluded little spots and illogical transitions from room to room. With no elevator, creaky staircases wind through the interior like a labyrinth. One can easily get lost in there, even if you’ve been working there for over two years (yes, I’m guilty). I like to call the maze of corridors, studios, and stairwells of the Studio School the “catacombs”.

So today during the long break, the painting students bolted the building to roam 8th Street, in a quest for coffee, soda, a cell phone call, or a cigarette. I got dressed and took a leisurely stroll to Washington Square Park. When I returned, I was alone. Not one student had come back yet. So I had both North and South Benton studios all to myself! Wheee! Out came my camera. With my blog and its readers on my mind, I scoured the floor for things to shoot. I was on the loose.

This scene just begged for a picture. Someone’s clay sculpture sitting on the open window ledge. Poor little guy just needed some fresh air. Those are the rooftops and fire escapes of Greenwich Village in the background:

I happened upon this one purely by accident, like most good pictures. It’s the corridor between South Benton and the Green Room. I was really struck by the light streaming through and how it reflected off the blue walls. Also a nice shot of the “catacombs”:

OK, now is when things get stupid. I became obsessed with this crud-covered mirror just outside Benton. Splattered with paint spots and some white gook, it created this weirdly festive look in my camera window. I dig it! It’s like confetti!!! So this is me in front of a paint and crud-covered art school mirror. Hey, I have nothing against crud. Plus a little boobage for you guys. Wish I had more to show:

Me again, with my imaginary “confetti”. Fighting the beast. Or, ignoring the beast. He can’t ruin my fun. Why I look completely psychotic I have no idea:

This last shot is art school in a nutshell: an easel, a table, and a cup of coffee. The only thing missing is a crazy art model. Oh wait . . . never mind:

10 thoughts on “Never Leave the Art Model Alone With Her Camera

  1. My Shetland didn’t bother to come and see what I was up to, he has always suspected I was cuckoo! Your pictures are up on my blog Museworthy. Cool little black number you have there, what a great place to work.

  2. Chris Miller says:

    You haven’t mentioned Suzanne Valadon yet, have you ?

    I’m surprised — because, arguably , she is history’s greatest art model — — not only for her modeling (she’s in “Dance at Bougival”) — but for her own painting and her romantic lifestyle that produced yet another great painter – her son, Maurice Utrillo.

    Well — it’s pretty clear you have an eye for visual design — maybe you should take up the brush and charcoal and get serious about it.

    Or — OK — just stick with the camera. It seems like photographers rule the world of figurative art nowadays anyway.

  3. No no don’t stand her up and knock her down again Chris, she would be a great Valadon. Just been singing your praises over here Chris so expect some trans-Atlantic traffic.

  4. Jeff says:

    Hey, Claudia, how are you feeling now? Back to normal yet? I mean normal for you, at least 🙂

    Can I just comment on something I found odd? Your “boobage” comment… it struck me as strange, almost out of character. I mean, you take off your clothes so that artists can stare at you for hours on end, from every conceivable angle. You have to be extraordinarily comfortable with who you are and with your body to do that. I think it’s incredibly brave to subject yourself to such scrutiny, yet you do it almost every single day.

    Being nowhere near as comfortable or confident, I guess I was taken back even by this minor expression of dissatisfaction with your body.

    Let me state for the record, though, that this one guy at least thinks your boobage-level is just fine for your body. I absolutely did not look at these pictures and go, “gosh, if only she had a larger chest…”

  5. artmodel says:

    Chris,

    It’s funny that you mentioned Suzanne Valadon. Yes, I know all about her and intend to put her on Museworthy. Many months ago, I think it was back in January, I started putting together a post about her. But I didn’t like the way it was coming out, got frustrated, and “shelved” it for the time being. Can you believe I still have the old draft?

    She’s a fascinating individual and was a wonderful artist in her own right. I want to do the post well to honor her. So expect to see it in the near future!

    Thanks for your comments.

    Claudia

  6. artmodel says:

    Jeff, my pal! I missed you. Isn’t it great that my “boobage” remark brought you back onto my comments page? That might very well have been my master plan 😉

    Yeah, everything you said is true. I am fully nude constantly, with many sets of eyes scrutinizing my body every which way. And while it does require a huge amount of body confidence to pose in front of people, even seasoned art models are not immune to PERSONAL scrutiny from time to time. And I’m still a woman, after all, and we have our insecure moments. Especially those of us who are rapidly approaching 40 (seven days to be exact).

    You are right again that my “boobage-level” is proportional to the rest of my body. I don’t know if this came through in the pictures, but I am only 5’5″ and 118 lbs. My overall frame is rather small.

    But you know what the best part of all this is? Our opportunity to use the word “boobage”. Kind of makes it all worthwhile. Tee hee . . .

    Great to hear from you, Jeff. And yes, I am feeling better. Thanks for asking.

    Claudia

  7. Josefin says:

    *** Claudia***
    Yes !! You made something ”special” of a ”messed up” mirror : )
    Best // Josefin in Sweden

  8. Ron says:

    Isn’t that a great pose in the second mirror shot? And your boobage is just fine.

  9. artmodel says:

    Josefin, thanks! Yes, I was very intrigued by that mirror. I often am by strange, imperfect, and peculiar things.

    Glad you enjoyed the pictures!

    Claudia

  10. artmodel says:

    Ron,

    Yes that is a pretty good pose! Why? Because it was spontaneous, and still “in motion” when I took the shot. Fresh and unstaged. The best kind.

    Yea for my boobage! Many thanks 🙂

    Claudia

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