What to expect at Spirited Bodies – 20/10/12

For those of you who were not at the last event we did at Battersea Arts Centre, there are a few aspects of this event which I need to inform you of.

Timing of Poses at the Drawing Theatre

Poses are not timed; this is an experimental life drawing session which is more like a performance than usual. Models change poses of their own volition. This has the positive that no one need get uncomfortable, and the possible negative that models may have no idea how long they are holding a pose for. In practise – we did this before – it worked beautifully with models naturally changing position when they needed and not all at the same time. This has the visual advantage of a seamless continuity of pose, which only has small changes happening as it goes along, no big scene changes.
Artists are expecting this and in case of new comers, will be warned on the day! It is a challenge, but they often thank us for it afterwards.

In life drawing a larger woman is a star attraction

Tableaux Created from within

An additional element for this our largest of events will be the presence of several more experienced models who have modelled with us before. Following the success of recent events where we have directed tableaux, I am encouraging our returning models to take the lead this time and suggest themes to those modelling near to them so that various pictures may emerge on the platform. These will last as long as they want to and may evolve as they go on, with some models who took a trickier pose needing to change sooner than others. We will aim to do some 20 – 30 minute poses, but shorter more adventurous group poses are also possible. Artists can see when a pose/tableau will be hard to maintain and it pushes them to work fast. We know that some of them can do it!

Obviously models won’t know if they have sustained a pose for 25 minutes so this is partly an experiment

This is a naturally flexible format which any model may opt out of to pose alone if preferred.

A theme may be as simple as ‘a picnic’ or ‘a wedding’ or be more visual like ‘a circle’ or ‘a mountain’.

from Ladbroke Grove bodies rise up from a heap

Quick Poses to begin with

Each session – morning and afternoon – begins with the chance to try shorter poses which would be from 1 minute to 10 minutes. This warm up period will last for about half an hour and the end of which will be marked by Lucy.

These poses needn’t be connected but give a chance for everyone to acclimatise. Models make their own timings and we encourage them to try bolder more difficult poses in this section. The presence of more experienced models will again help as they will show the way by example. This is one of the benefits of modelling for the 1st or indeed any time at Spirited Bodies – you learn by seeing others.

Whatever wants to Happen

In practise we have no idea how we will all feel on the day. If people don’t feel like communicating verbally on the platform and would rather intuit their own moves without the interference of ‘leaders’ we can easily return to the format which worked so well the 1st time we did Drawing Theatre. This was completely freestyle and by the end models were naturally forming a few poses with each other and connecting in random ways. Fantastic results.

My plan to encourage ‘leaders’ is more of a fall-back and to overcome possible issues relating to having a larger model group. We will be in the Grand Hall this time – 3 times the size of the theatre space we worked in at BAC last time. Tableaux seem favourable as they can make it easier for artists to concentrate on a group of models, as well as giving models an enhanced sense of creating something together.

In addition, last time round by the end of the afternoon models were tired and many had stayed all day. They got very cosy and wanted to have a chat. We loved that they bonded and several are still friends now, but visually there is an imperative to curb this. With a little instigation we can push the energy further for more dynamic results.

by artist and model Rodger who drew quick poses on top of one another in Ladbroke Grove

Model Numbers

This is tricky. Men are far more reliable in their commitment to model it seems. They respond quickly and are less likely to bottle it. Women may contact us initially then get cold feet. We have no idea how many models there will be, we can just aim for lots. We have to turn away men from this point unless they are highly unusual – i.e. non-white, massive, minute, have a reasonable disability or an excellent story! Just being honest.

Women – we want you! Up to the last minute, we want you. In future I may change the angle and refocus it to a ‘mainly women’s event’ if that will help. My suspicion is men do not have body issues to the extent that women do. Women have been told they are too fat and unattractive so much from many quarters that it will take more effort to reach them.

Women posing at Ladbroke Grove

Author: estherbunting

Performer, artist, writer

3 thoughts on “What to expect at Spirited Bodies – 20/10/12”

  1. This sounds very challenging and rewarding for models and artists both! And I absolutely love that last drawing. Love all of them, but that last one just sings to me.

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