Writing About Models

Art modeling is a unique profession. That’s one of  the many characteristics I love about it. Our work is highly specialized, unconventional, and organic. It is vastly unlike most everyday jobs and vocations, which makes it all the more awesome 🙂 Perhaps because of its unusual qualities, art modeling is all too often misunderstood or underappreciated. So the more voices that can speak on our behalf and provide enlightenment of our commitment and hard work, the better.

Regular Museworthy reader and frequent commenter Andrew Cahner is an artist’s model who has written a truly excellent volume called The Art Model’s Handbook. I am proud over mere existence of this book, and Andrew’s intelligent, comprehensive account of professional art modeling and all that it entails. While it is mainly a detailed, practical guide that illuminates the complexities and responsibilites of modeling work, the book is also, in spirit, a reverent tribute to the figurative art world and the creative relationships that drive it. What’s most impressive about The Art Model’s Handbook is its thoroughness. He omitted nothing. There is not a single question that Andrew doesn’t answer, not a single issue he doesn’t address. He literally covers everything, and covers it well, from the practical concerns of working in a studio, preparation, pay rates, etiquette, safety, and bookings, to the deeper artistic elements of poses, gestures, nudity, and the great timeless tradition of art modeling. Full of interviews, references, a glossary of terms, and personal insights, Andrew’s book is wonderfully readable, lucidly written, and a one-of-a-kind resource for art models both new and experienced, as well as artists, teachers, and students. With its very publication, The Art Model’s Handbook has solidified the legitimacy, virtue, and immeasurable value of serious, professional art modeling.

From page 47 of The Art Model’s Handbook, Andrew writes:

Throughout the years I have ben modeling, I have always been curious about what makes artists tick. Where do they find inspiration? What is their process? The most fulfilling modeling experiences for me have been when it feels like a collaboration – a joint creative effort. The more in tune I am with how artists think, the better I can support them as a model.

That is the voice of a dedicated, conscientious model, one who understands and appreciates that our distinct role in the world is all about art, inspiration, and the creation of beauty. Well done, Andrew! I am truly honored to be your colleague 🙂

It’s less common, but equally refreshing, when artists step up to the plate and write about their professional relationship with models. My friend Daniel Maidman has written an article in the May issue of International Artist magazine titled “The Artist’s Model”. In it he discusses practical aspects of a private model session from an artist’s point of view, covering such topics as studio preparation, proper behavior and protocol, and the model’s comfort. It is evident from his gracious and attentive tone that Daniel has enormous respect and admiration for models and, as a figurative artist, is clearly aware of our essential role in the creation of art. There are, unfortunately, some artists who take models for granted and treat us with insufficient respect and consideration. I’ve known a few in my day. Hopefully Daniel’s article will help awaken them to a more appreciative understanding of what we do. Thank you Daniel!