I will have to exert a great deal of self-control writing this post. My normally joyful, witty, free-flowing verbal style has to be reined in (moderately at least) to avoid going off on a horrible rant. I’ll try, but I can’t guarantee I’ll be successful. Ranting is not generally in my nature. Right now, I am angry and disappointed and stunned. Throw in a little financial panic and we’ve pretty much summed up my current mental state. So I’ll try to do this as soberly as I can without minimizing my natural emotions. I am human, after all.
I have incurred yet another bruise from art modeling. This one, however, is not from posing on a platform, not some black-and-blue mark on my leg. How I wish that were the case. No this one is from the business. This unpredictable, volatile, lawless, absurd art modeling business that, right now, I HATE with a passion.
One of the more dangerous and destructive situations in life is when a petty, small-minded, incompetent person finds their way into a position of authority. That has trouble written all over it. And that’s exactly what has happened at the Model Registry at the School of Visual Arts, a place I’ve worked steadily and happily for three years. The previous model coordinator was an exceptional man. Intelligent, efficient, fair, a true gentleman and professional in every way. He is a man of tremendous people skills and managerial talent. Unfortunately, he left the Model Registry in December, and his replacement is a silly, spiteful, immature person who has arbitrarily decided to alienate certain models and essentially get rid of us. Why? Because she CAN. Because she feels like it. Because, as a limited person, it’s the only strategy she knows as a way to distinguish herself and make her mark. Of course most people try to make their mark by doing something productive and positive, by engendering good morale and enthusiasm. Not this person. This person knows only how to “break down” rather than “build up”. She’s decided that her professional statement will be a contrarian one, a gratuitous ego-driven one, one born out of antipathy and ill-will. I am among the ostracized group of art models, I’m sorry to say. In other words, I no longer work at the School of Visual Arts. I’m dumbfounded. Absolutely dumfounded.
I won’t recount the horrible phone conversation I had with this person earlier other than to say that I can’t recall being spoken to in such a rude, cold, and disrespectful manner. Then she LIED. Fabricated and/or exaggerated merely as a pretext to stop using me. See, she needs this to be MY fault, so she can justify her actions. If it’s not my fault, then she’s just a bitch. So she’s converting her bitch move into an “executive decision” so it looks legitimate. Well, I won’t be accused of something I didn’t do. I told her she was spewing falsehoods, and of course she changed the subject and dismissed me. That’s what crafty, underhanded people do. Avoid discussion. Avoid the truth.
Weeks and weeks had gone by without SVA calling me for work, which never happened when the previous model coordinator was there. But I was patient about it. I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt since she was new at the job. I figured she deserved a grace period to get oriented. How wrong I was. She knew exactly what she was doing, that sneaky little creature. She didn’t even have the decency or consideration to talk to me directly. She just wasted my time, allowed me to lose money, and kept me in the dark about everything. Never mind that I’ve been at that school longer than she has, have never been late or called in sick, have done everything that was asked of me in the classrooms, and have done absolutely nothing to her. I even wished her good luck in her new position. Turns out she doesn’t need luck. What she needs are some professional ethics . . . and a little integrity.
For all the other art models out there, especially the ones just starting out in this business, there is a lesson to be learned in this. Don’t EVER put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to employment. You are a freelancer, an “independent contractor”. Spread your work out among as many schools as you can, because NO JOB is secure. None. Something as seemingly innocuous as a new model coordinator can change everything. It doesn’t matter how good you are, how reliable you are, or how inspiring you are. If the new person decides – like a petty, power-hungry tyrant – that they don’t like you, you’re out on the curb. With no explanation. Because you’re not entitled to one. She actually said that, in her grating, abrasive style: “I don’t owe you a reason”. Her exact words. So ALWAYS have other art modeling jobs to fall back on. No matter how much work they give you, do NOT rely solely on one place for your employment.
This is an awful situation and I have a lousy few days ahead of me. I have to find a place of work to substitute for SVA. Yes I did start recently at the New York Academy of Art, but that was to replace the Studio School. Now I need a second replacement. SVA pays their models well (thanks to the efforts of the previous model coordinator who secured us the good pay) and I depended on that SVA paycheck to cover a lot of my bills. Now, in one fell swoop, at the random whim of ONE person, it’s been taken from me. My livelihood is in jeopardy. (When I mentioned this to the model coordinator, she said “That’s not my problem, sorry”. Isn’t that sweet?).
To make matters worse, I went to the doctor today for a regular checkup. Basically everything went well, and he was impressed with my 110/70 blood pressure. I also have to get an echocardiogram (I was born with a congenital heart defect. An aortic valve replacement is in my future ) But then I told him I’ve been experiencing a whirring sound and vibration in my right ear, and an occasional throbbing in my right temple. He looked in my ear and said it was fine. Clear and “perfect”. So what’s causing the whirring?