A couple of years ago, a guy I had just met asked me what I did for a living and I told him I was a professional artist’s model. Then he asked me if I pose nude. Naturally, I answered “yes”. Then he asked me, “Do you walk around your house nude?”. Now I wasn’t sure, but I suspected that the question was inspired by smutty thoughts on his part, rather than genuine curiosity about the habits of art models. I asked him what he meant exactly. After all, many people who are not art models walk around nude from time to time, in the privacy of their homes. So the guy elaborated, and wondered aloud that since I WORK in the nude and am obviously comfortable in the nude, if I was ALWAYS nude. Literally. Like when I’m doing laundry, washing dishes, talking on the phone, writing emails, changing lightbulbs, etc. I didn’t care for what he was insinuating and explained that I’m a nude MODEL, not a nud-IST. Needless to say, I think he was disappointed.
Even though the guy was a bit of jerk who interpreted my profession through his own perceptions and fantasies rather than what it actually is, he did get me thinking. The truth is I do walk around nude occasionally. More often than normal? Honestly I have no clue because I have nothing to compare it with. I’ve never taken a survey. And I’m not in the habit of going around asking others, “Hey, how often do you walk around the house in the nude? Two hours a day? Three hours a day?”.
A lot of us do the after-shower nude thing, right? When you don’t bother with the robe and you’re running late, so you just get ready while nude. I don’t know why but I seem to move faster when I’m nude and LATE! One of my ex-boyfriends used to shave in the nude. Is that common? I have folded laundry nude. I’ve made the bed nude. And I’ve had phone conversations while nude but that’s only for steamy phone sex <—– KIDDING!! I KID!! 😆 I was accidentally nude once when answering the door to the UPS guy. My robe belt opened up and I was exposed for maybe two seconds, but he still got an eyeful.
With all this nude-around-the-house stuff, I’m obliged to mention that I live alone, and have no children. So I have zero propriety constraints. I’m footloose and fancy-free! But still, I am clothed most of the time. I don’t vacuum in the nude, I don’t wash dishes in the nude, I don’t do computer stuff in the nude, I don’t cook dinner in the nude. Reading, yes from time to time. Yoga? Nah. Well, sometimes semi-nude. Dancing? I’m sorry, that’s classified.
The nude in art is always tagged with the same descriptions: “reclining”, “standing”, “bathing”, “sleeping”, “daydreaming”, etc. Those are apparently the common and acceptable nude behaviors. Sometimes, though, you come across a work of art that places in the nude in a mundane activity, or even a bizarre activity, in a situation where the nudity seems oddly inappropriate and unrealistic.
This painting by Carl Larsson is not so strange. I would do this. Model Writing Postcards, 1906:
This, on the other hand, is quite peculiar. Why is this guy nude? From Andrew Wyeth, this is Man and the Moon. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful painting. But the nudity, on the side of the road, next to a Harley? Shit, when I do that I get propositioned by unsavory vagrants, especially on Tenth Avenue 😆
Anyone play an instrument for enjoyment in their spare time? Try it in the nude! Don’t worry, nobody’s looking, except for maybe Anders Zorn. He painted his nude model strumming and contemplating in Studio Idyll from 1918.
I don’t know a lot of fishermen. Actually I don’t know any. But I assume that they don’t carry out their fishing activities in the nude. Do they??? From 1868, Frederic Bazille’s Fisherman With a Net:
This last painting is probably how that creepy guy imagined me and my wanton nude morality. A perpetually clothes-free woman. All nude, all the time. Both in private and in public, with neither boundaries nor wardrobe. You all know this one. Manet. Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe. Caused a huge scandal at the time. Today, we could just rename it “Picnic With Claudia” 😉
I guess the lesson in all this is that you can do anything in the nude. Who needs clothes? But the key difference is that when you’re nude in ART you won’t get into trouble! 😉