Posing nude for an art class.
After years of wanting to do this, and wondering if I had the guts to do it, I finally said "why not" and I posed nude for an art class. Here are my experiences:
I studied art for 4 years, which included a whole semester of "Life Drawing" or "Nude Drawing". Ever since my graduation in 1994 I have wondered what it would be like to pose for an art class. I had taken some nude photos while in college, and since then I have been taking more nude photos of willing models. I have also posed nude for a couple of photographers. During this process I started studying the human body even more and wanted to get a better knowledge of the human body. The shadows, angles, composition, direction, etc.
By the summer of 2008, I was not getting enough teaching hours and I needed another income. This was when I finally took the plunge and made that first call to an art school. At first it seemed difficult to get in the door, since they had already booked models for the whole semester. I did not even think of that. But I was put on a list, and shortly thereafter I got a call wondering if I could step in for one of the models who had called in sick.
They asked me if I had any experience, and I fibbed a little saying that I did. But I had done a lot of research, and was comfortable with my body, so I felt comfortable stretching the truth a little.
When I say research, I mean surfing the internet for croquis drawings from other classes, giving me an idea of which poses work. The only thing frustrating was that I found very few drawings of the male body, mostly female. I found several "confessionals" like the one that I am now writing, but this was also from women. Either there are very few male models, or they just keep quiet about it.
Anyway, I show up for class and meet the teacher. I go to the dressing room to put on my bathrobe (which I haven`t used in years and never thought I`d use for this). Plus some shower-sandals so I dont have to walk around barefoot on the floor covered in chalk, charcoal, paint, etc. (I found this out the hard way).
She wants me to do 2 minute poses, so I disrobe and try to remember all the poses I have been studying for the past few days. The weird part is: as soon as I disrobed, I didnt really think about being naked. I just thought of the next pose.
The class had 9 women and 1 guy, ages varying from early 20s to late 40s. I didnt really know what to expect, like snickering or pointing or whatever, but the room just got very quiet as the students started to draw me. After 2 minutes I did a new pose, and did this for 20 minutes. I get a 10 minute break after every 20 minutes of posing.
When I am up there on the little pedestal, in the middle of the room, I don`t look at the students, but try to fix a point on the wall or the clock, as I am thinking of my next pose. But sometimes I can`t help overhearing as the teacher comments on some of the drawings. "His hips are huge" or "his legs are not that long", or "he`s gotten alot more muscles" are some of the comments that would make me giggle, as if she was saying this to me. Sometimes she would even come straight up to me and point to the body part she wants the student to study more.
It`s all a bit surreal, if I look at this from the outside. But I am constantly thinking of the angles and positions that the students will like the most. One of the things I started using was a pole (an old curtain rod) which I use to either lean up on or balance over my shoulders. I have gotten great feedbacks from this and is something I use for the longer poses as well.
The students are really nice during my breaks as I walk around (robed) curiously looking at the results. And during the lunch breaks I will still be wandering around in my bathrobe, and it looks like I live there and I`m just getting my morning coffee or something. As I am writing this I have been pretty active for the past 9 months, and I must say it’s quite rewarding. The hourly pay here in Norway is about 200 kroners an hour (almost 30 USD with todays rate). Not bad for sitting around in the nude, but I would have to do alot more in order to have just this as an income.
It took me a while before I felt comfortable telling my family and friends about this, but when I started telling them the reactions were all positive, and some even just giggled saying it was typical me. Most people I tell would never dream of doing this, and I think this ranks pretty high up on peoples list of "things I would never dare do" or maybe even "things I would like to do one day".
I am glad I started doing this. First of all I conquered one of my "fears" or "goals". Second, I am getting to know more people in the creative field and I am finding it easier to get into creative poses. Plus I found out that standing nude in front of an art class is not as scary as it sounds. After all, it is an art class and studying the human body goes back to the oldest cave drawings and the old master painters like Michaelangelo.
What I have learned so far:
- Ask questions before you arrive. Get an idea of what kind of poses they are expecting.
- Study different poses, including standing, sitting and lying down.
- Be ready for poses that you can hold for 20 minutes.
- Arrive early, and maybe even talk to the students. It will help you loosen up.
- Start getting used to telling time in your head so you are not dependant on looking at the clock.
- Bring a robe and slippers/sandals.
- Wear your robe during breaks.
- Just relax and talk to the students before class and during breaks. They are always happy to have a live model.
- Do yoga. It helps you be more limber and makes it easier to keep longer poses.