It is one of the oldest traditions of mankind. The ignorant are taught by the more experienced, the more learned.
A mother teaches her son to dance and a daughter how to be a wife and mother. A father teaches his daughter to change a flat tyre and a son to be a husband and father. I learned to model by listening and learning from other models then I learned to teach modelling by watching others teach.
I observed the individuals’ natural instincts gently guiding and supporting men and women wishing to experience the adrenaline rush and confidence boost that life modelling can provide. I asked them to sit, stand, lay down. I asked them to hide in a bomb shelter and launch a protest. I watched their fear and insecurity melt away.
There is that first moment when you bare your naked body, exposing much more than your physical self. You are convinced that everyone is staring at all your perceived imperfections. But in life modelling, those “imperfections” are the interesting bits that attract and confound an artist.
If, as at Spirited Bodies events, there are many more than just one model, the truth is fewer people than you imagine are in fact staring at you at all. The other models are more wrapped up in themselves than you and the artists may be looking behind you, next to you, through you, or just at your elbow wondering if they are up to the challenge of foreshortening what has been presented to them.
Rarely does an artist look at you in your entirety, preferring to capture first your shape and then your composite parts, each of which are beautiful in their own exquisite uniqueness. They are aiming at shapes, angles, corners, shading and the relationship between all of those shapes. All those glorious shapes and their relationship to each other.
No two individuals ever look the same nude. Clothes hide so much of our individuality.
No two artists ever see a model in the same way. Their vision, paper, materials, colours, and position will create a different work of art every time they craft.
And then we learn. We learn how differently others see us from how we see ourselves. We learn there is joy in that learning. And in that learning there is magic. Spirited Body magic.
This post is illustrated with pictures made by artists who attended the workshop at Holborn on Wednesday October 2nd, which the text also refers to.