I have come to put artists into two categories; the ones who remain aware and watchful of the model during breaks, and the ones who don’t. Not taking a jab at the latter group, mind you. Artists need the breaks too. They have to stretch and go to the bathroom like everyone else! They also need to to take their eyes off the model for a few minutes. After all, a break means just that – a break, for all of us, when posing and drawing are temporarily replaced with coffee runs, potato chip snacking, and phone calls. You know the drill. But occasionally, an artist will have a spontaneous burst of inspiration at the sight of the model at rest. Downtime, in all situations, produces wonderfully relaxed, unselfconscious body language. As art models our function is to pose, hold the pose, and know at all times that we’re being carefully observed. Now I can’t speak for all models, but I don’t mind it one bit if an artist “steals” a non-posing moment from me and captures it in a quick sketch. And I think most artists would agree that some of the best poses are not “poses” at all, but the model – or friend, or loved one, or stranger in public even – caught in a natural moment. I often wonder how many New Yorkers don’t realize that they have been drawn on the subway by surreptitious sketchers. Believe me, it happens every day.
Last Monday at the New York Academy of Art, the class monitor Daniel Esquivia Zapata drew me while we were on a break. I was unaware he was doing so because, as you can see, I was absorbed in my Blackberry, reading emails and a plethora of nonsense on Twitter. I spotted the drawing afterwards and complimented Danny, who then generously offered it to me. Yay! Thought I’d share it here: