Welcome to the Nude Revolution: A Model’s Words

1. Have you done any life or other nude modelling before?

I have done modelling only once, this was just on Wednesday this week.  It was the first time ever.  I was by myself, there were four artists drawing.  I was very nervous.  I am not a natural in the nude, it is something very strange for me probably because of my upbringing and because of my height.

I feel a strong need to come to terms with my own body, and especially how it is (or how I am) perceived by others.  This is why I want to model – not for money, but for my own health, mental balance, to discover another way of simply being there in the present, and also to contribute to an artistic way of empowering models, artists and creative spirits alike.

2. Why do you want to participate in Spirited Bodies?

I want to participate in Spirited Bodies for at least four reasons:

First, I find the notion of empowerment through life drawing and art very good. I have worked as a mentor for younger adults, as well as a teacher and professor for some years now, and often I come across situations where disharmony and dis-empowering situations can be rectified by sharing appreciation of art.

Second, I have past fears and deep embarrassments about nudity that I need to address in my own growth (and ageing), and I believe that this is part of personal empowerment as much as it is a liberation from past bad experiences and memories.  While I have never been seriously abused as a child or young adult, I have been in very difficult situations where only later I understood the implications and hidden intentions of others.

Third, I also love to draw things and landscapes, but because of the strong and deep inhibitions about the naked body, I have never been able to draw a human being.  I am now determined not only to learn drawing human bodies, but also to learn being the model for other artists, because being the artist oneself and being the model can be one and the same for a wholistic approach to art, to healing and to empowerment.

Finally, to remain healthy is not merely a question of nutritious food and exercise.  While I now go to a gym several times a week and eat mostly healthy things, health is perhaps foremost a mental issue.  To reconcile with how others see my body and how therefore I see myself amongst others is vital for me to accept the body I have and the only body I will remain in and grow old in.  Health for me, therefore, is something intimately linked to perception, acceptance and satisfaction about our own bodies – regardless of how they compare to the “ideals of beauty” often represented in classical art and modern commerce.

3. Do you have experience as a performer or artist?

No formal experience except from high school theatre.  However, I do have professional experience in public speaking. This is not art, but it is experience of “being in front of a crowd”.  I have also sung in various choirs (classical music) and again, I have had to confront inner discomfort about my body and how I am perceived by the audience.

4. Do you have experience in martial arts or sport/fitness?

No, I only began going to a fitness centre in February in order to work on changing my perception of myself and my body – an element in my attempt to come to terms with the body I have and to finally feel good in it.

5. Do you have experience in meditation?

Yes, I have done a bit of both Zen and RSSB-Sant-Mat mediation.  I also do a bit of yoga when I have time, as well as after the fitness training at the gym.  I have a flexible body, I think, and fortunately do not have any physical ailments.  Besides, as concerns meditation, a wonderful discovery for me last Wednesday was that strong concentration is useful when modelling, and this seemed a welcome inner challenge that I believe I need to explore much more.

6. What is the longest length of time you think you can hold still for?

This all depends on the posture, I think.  If the posture allows for very slow and very minute shifts of body weight to allow different parts of the body to rest while others work harder (without this being visible to the artists), then I hope I can perhaps remain still for an hour or so.

7. Do you mind touching another model whilst posing e.g. holding hands?

I would be nervous, but actually I really want to try and feel.  I would appreciate it very much – human touch is so precious and we have far too little of it, perhaps especially amongst men in Western countries.  Touching another model might be risky, but I am confident that it is also infinitely satisfying if all individuals are relaxed about how the different bodies react.

8. Do you mind or want to be photographed whilst posing, and if so to what degree i.e. identifiable or not?

I am not sure.  From a health-therapeutic perspective for me, yes, identifiable photos are welcome.  However, so long as these pictures are not published on the internet for everyone to see.  This is because from a social perspective for me, as I am also a teacher, many students browse the internet, and being easily recognised may be a risk.  My face could be hidden, for example, if a photograph were to be on the internet.

9. How old are you?

50 years.

10. How would you describe yourself physically?

Very tall, a bit overweight around the waist, in need of long-term fitness training (which I now started to work on).

Thank you for these questions that pushed me to express things I have never expressed before and to think and reflect about them.

Olivier.

Author: estherbunting

Performer, artist, writer

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