Saturday, November 28, 2009
For the past 2 years I've worked regularly as an artist's model. I've posed for a painter, a class of adults and a class of high school students, but mostly I've posed for a very nice and talented sculptor. When I first responded to an ad, it was just to try it out for one or two days because I was desperate for the cash (and they were offering $20 an hour). Plus I'd already gone topless for a couple of my classmates' films so I figured I wouldn't be too uncomfortable with the whole nudity aspect.
And I wasn't, but it's tougher than it looks. A good pose is generally difficult to hold, which is why you're getting paid to stand there. Sometimes you get self-conscious. Sometimes you accidentally hurt yourself. The hardest part for me was thinking of poses--what looks interesting? What looks interesting without snapping my spine in two? I still don't know. Somehow I was doing this almost every week.
After I graduated and got a real job, the last thing I wanted to do was return to nude modeling. But when I got let go from AMERICAN CHOPPER I again needed the money, and so I continued with it for another six weeks or so. Finally, my employer told me he was going to have to take some time off to prepare for a festival. I said that was fine. He'd sold a bronze piece we'd done for over $6000. I'd been to shows where our works were featured. I got a good deal of satisfaction from the job, but there's something about taking off your clothes for money that weighs on your mind after awhile, art or not. So I decided that would be my last time. Hear that, world? I'm done with being an artist's model! This robe ain't coming off for NO ONE.
The very next day after coming to this decision, I was standing in Times Square waiting for my boyfriend when a young art student from Mexico approached me in broken English. He doesn't normally do this kind of thing of course, but he was wondering if I'd be willing to pose for his photographs some time? He doesn't know many people here, and he doesn't have any experience with nude photography, see, but he needs it for his portfolio. He can't get a job without some artsy naked pictures. Who was I to keep an immigrant from getting a job?
We talked for a few minutes and I tried to explain to him that I wasn't put off, that I actually had years of experience. His art teacher literally passed by us during the conversation and made fun of him for asking me, which is how I know it was a legit offer. I couldn't help but wonder--out of all the people in Manhattan, what made him ask me? Probably the miniskirt I was wearing. Needless to say, we didn't end up working together.
But for a weird moment there, I definitely considered it. Y'know why? Not because I enjoy it that much, but because there are a lot of people uncomfortable with the idea of being naked in front of others, and because I am not one of those people, and because SOMEONE'S GOT TO DO IT!
I still said no though.
Honestly, it's a terribly un-sexy profession, and there's no way I would have done it for as long as I did had it not been for the great conversation and artistic motivation I got from Bob Clyatt. A lot of the work we did is featured below (one or two items are being published in a book I hear--Best of American Sculpture Vol II--ooh la la). And who knows, maybe I'm full of shit and I'll return to it in a month or two. Bills are a strong motivation sometimes. But I'd like to think I'm due for a slightly more productive role... ovaries aside.