Model Interviews at WOW part 2; LaDawn, Sabine & Tansy

In this second instalment Lucy speaks to LaDawn and Sabine, who have both modelled with us a few times and taken up some professional life modelling, as well as to Tansy who first life modelled with us at our first event when she was 17 (with parental consent). She is now 20 and a London based life and photographic model.

Lucy (FLS): LaDawn, you modelled for us at BAC (in October), and you came to several workshops beforehand. What brought you to modelling and what brought you to Spirited Bodies?

LaD: In July 2011 I was holding down a job – I was a high powered IT operations director for a really large FTSE company, and I had a nervous breakdown. By October I was unable to drive my car or leave the house, I had zero, zero confidence. I made two suicide attempts, I spent 6 months in a psychiatric clinic, and there was nothing of me left. Coming to Spirited Bodies was a way of… I thought it was just going to be one go, I thought it was going to be the October event at Battersea. I did the workshops and I found these to be very calm, very safe, very empowering. I felt like I could probably cope with this, and we went to Battersea Arts Centre and I think it probably changed the trajectory of the rest of my life. Because I started thinking of myself as a work of art, regardless of whatever shape my body is in, or whatever condition my mind was in, I completely changed my whole approach to life. So when I see you as artists out there drawing us and regardless of whether someone wants to stand up and say it’s a good drawing or a bad drawing, the fact is that it is art, and it’s of us women with all our flaws and breakages. We’re all broken in some respects and it was my experience with Spirited Bodies that propelled me on to a path of almost wellness where I felt I had the strength to move ahead with my life and to gain my confidence back.

FLS: I got into modelling because I’d been ill and I know for me one of the things that I like is the fact that I could help other people achieve their dreams, I could help the artists achieve some art and that got me out of the house and got me moving, made a big difference.

LaD: I was only thinking of me.

FLS: You’re supposed to only think of you.

LaD: But now it gives back in amazing ways because I did go onto the Registry of Artists’ Models, and I did register and I now have gotten to do some really amazing artwork with some artists in the Eel Pie Studios in Twickenham. I got to do some more with Dulwich Art Group… these artists are so amazingly talented… At first I wasn’t going to show any of my friends the artwork but because it was art I had to show them. One of the husbands of one of my good girlfriends – he just calls me juicy (which you know, there is nothing salacious in it), – he says it’s beautiful and my husband initially was horrified. He was so worried the first day when I went to the workshops, he was in tears, and when I got home he thought I had done something that was unsafe. Now he has seen what it’s done and how it’s changed me, and he just encourages me to go out. He’s offered to become my booking agent and everything, like my pimp!

FLS: [admin side of modelling, I can certainly do without]

LaD: As soon as he takes out the rubbish.

FLS: Sabine – you came to model with us at the BAC – we do model other places – in February and that was mostly before we started doing workshops, how did you find it?

Sabine: I found it really amazing, it was a great experience, I must say I’d never done this group modelling before. I have modelled before when I was about 20 and I was at university; I modelled for sculptures. I was doing architecture and we had some sculpture class as well. So that was a one on one thing. For some reason I didn’t do it in ages; I always did life drawing myself, so I was interested in posing, modelling. Then I came across Spirited Bodies because I went to London Drawing life drawing classes and (there was this chance) to get a bit of experience, and so I went there and it was a really amazing experience. First of all the group experience; there were artists and models and it’s not the usual one model and lots of people. It was also very desexualised I must say, which I really liked. It was a very relaxing atmosphere and yes, unfortunately in most of the other instances when I have modelled before there was a sexual aspect, between especially male artists and the models, so this classical ‘muse’ theme (of life models being courtesans etc) and that sort of put me off. It was a bit of an uncomfortable feeling, so I wanted to get rid of that, and with Spirited Bodies, I’m quite relaxed. That this is not the case and especially like today as well amongst women, it’s very nice and relaxing, and when I model … probably it’s a bit like Esther. I do like to think of poses, what I can do or when you set up the one with the queen (Arleen was our Queen with a court of female subjects), I immediately thought, ‘what can I do here?’ so I quite enjoy that part.

FLS: Performance element?

Sabine: Performance element, because I’ve never done drama and I’ve never been involved in theatre plays so that’s my way of expressing myself.

FLS: Have you gone on to do a bit more (life modelling)?

Sabine: I did indeed yeah. Again very suspicious about some male artists who really it’s pretty obvious if they have a group and they only employ female models. I think it is not a very serious thing because if you teach people drawing, you want to give them different bodies, male and female, so I just wonder why is it just female? They always give some kind of excuses, but it is just for someone to see a naked woman.

FLS: At one group – they loved drawing me but they wanted their work to be commercial (hence they prefer young, slim women), which tends to be more the case when people have come out of the advertising industry. People are not always honest about what they like, and they may go for the norm because that’s acceptable, the pressure we’re all under.

Sabine: Also the other way round, so… some people see me as the norm; yes, I’m slim and that is attractive. I am being reduced to that as well. I’ve been told a few times in my life by a boyfriend, ‘I hope you don’t get fat’, so I kind of feel that my appearance is in the way of having a loving and fulfilled relationship in a way. Again I feel quite confident with my body so the modelling is an experience for me, especially of not being an object, not being objectified and that is very nice.

FLS: Is it kind of ironic to go pursuing not being an object and not being objectified by being an artist’s model, being an object for an artist?

Sabine: Yeah it is a bit of a contradiction but there is a certain distance that I feel…

FLS: One reason we wanted to share the modelling experience, share the good things in it, is to get a bit more respect (for artists’ models); not just the, ‘you get naked in public so you’ve got to be a bit dodgy’ attitude.”

LaD: In Dulwich, they hired me knowing I was a full sized model… full sized so I’m not miniature – and it was for a long pose, week after week. They were preparing artwork specifically for sale and they felt that everybody had paintings of thin naked women on their walls so they wanted something slightly different, so it does change, I think it really does change. Although someone put me in a bath tub.

FLS: I love that picture of you in the bath tub. Tansy, you’re young, thin – we’ve just been talking about that; how does modelling make you feel? How do you use it?

Tansy: Modelling helps me leave the house. I’ve had my own fairly severe mental health problems and I still can’t go to school. I’m 20 years old and I’m still doing my A levels because I lost about 2 years of education, and I’m home schooling because normal school is just way too stressful. Modelling forces me out of the house. Because I’m home schooling I live in this isolated bubble and modelling exposes me to the real world, it forces me to do things, because otherwise I can… just stay in my house and not leave for 3 or 4 days at a time, which is quite unhealthy. Over the last couple of months, I’ve been having quite a few negative days, where all I want to do is stay in bed. I feel incredibly apathetic and de-energised, and I don’t feel like I can cope with anything, but modelling forces me to challenge myself to get out of the house, to do something productive because its my part-time job now, I can’t be late, I can’t not show up, its work. I need to show up to do my job. And it gives me a space to have undirected thought. When I am posing, I just let my mind wander, it lets me see things in context, to help let go of things and stop stressing and gives me time to think through all of the stuff that’s going on in my life. And with my body, it’s made me think about my body more; less as a kind of object to fulfil other people’s desires and more as a collection of bones and tendons, muscles and nerves, which might sound negative but I feel like it’s positive because it’s given me admiration for my body as a kind of a piece of engineering, almost. I see it as much more than a vessel for sexuality. I think of it, I admire the shape of my hands, and I admire the way my feet can carry me around all day. I mean I weigh 72 kilos and my feet can carry me around all day. They’re not very big …and [they do the job] yeah and the way they can deal with any form of terrain or rough ground, go up hills and things… modelling has made me appreciate my body from that point of view.

FLS: We’ve had someone come and model in the same Spirited Bodies you did – which was SB 1 – and she came because she felt as a middle aged woman who had no children, she was invisible and that no one had anything to talk to her about. She wanted to come and model to, if you like, persuade herself that it was worthwhile taking care of her body and that her physical self still had value, because she could help other people with their art and she also found it a very liberating experience.

It’s interesting what you say because you do a lot of photographic work, don’t you, which is quicker – well, I assume its quicker but I’ve never done it, I don’t do any photographic work ever.

Tansy: My photographic bookings average about 4 hours, whereas life modelling are usually 2 or 3.

FLS: But the actual poses?

Tansy: Oh yeah they are definitely quicker, photographic modelling is a whole different set of challenges and photographic modelling is a lot of kind of body judging which can be quite tiresome at times.

FLS: I’d find that demoralising to be honest.

Tansy: I find it demoralising sometimes but most of the time, I don’t care.

FLS: It’s developing that resilience, not to care.

Tansy: Yeah, I mean a lot of photographers especially fashion photographers are, “Oh, she’s a bit fat, isn’t she, I don’t want to photograph her”. Well I’m like a size 12 and sometimes a size 14, I’ve got really wide hips, and in photographic land, that’s plus size, definitely plus size. But I don’t mind really, because some photographers want to photograph that, they are more inspired by old masters, by Renaissance work, by Rubens, by… they want to photograph that type of figure.

EB: Thank you, we are just about coming to the end of that pose.

Photos are from the event, copyright of Sophie Stanes, www.livinglifethroughalensphotography.co.uk; unfortunately we do not have the names of all the artists.

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Smiling model LaDawn
Smiling model LaDawn
angular poise
angular poise

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by Cloe Cloherty

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by Kate Hardy
by Kate Hardy

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Model Interviews at WOW; part 1 ~ Arleen & Emma-Jane

At Southbank’s Women of the World Festival 2013 we had a Women Only event which was also a presentation. Some women who have modelled with us during the last two and a half years took part to model as well as talk about their experiences. In this first section we talk to Arleen, an 82 year old who has had a mastectomy and been a life model for the last 30 years, and also to Emma-Jane, a younger woman who joined us very recently. Whilst Lucy and I were talking to them on one half of the platform, 3 other models were posing and being drawn on the other half.

by Kate Hardie
by Kate Hardie

Esther (EB): When did you start life modelling? Arleen: In the 1980s EB: How did you get into it? Arleen: Oh well I met a young man who was an artist you see and he somehow detected that I would make quite a good model. EB: It’s amazing how they do that … Arleen: and that was the very beginning really. It was Daniel of course. This was the early 1980s, and we’ve lived together, after a few years, for all that time, so our lives have developed. His parents have died, my daughter emigrated to New Zealand, I had cancer and a mastectomy and I’ve grown older – he has too but I mean, well he’s still under 60. But he didn’t paint until he knew me, until he lived with me. Because his mother, although she was an artist, both his parents were very artistic, she couldn’t stand the mess that painting made in the house you see, so although he drew there and she encouraged him to produce, but painting no, that was out of the question. And she had a wonderful sense of colour. EB: Is it Daniel that keeps you modelling or is it another reason? Arleen: No it’s Daniel, I’m sorry to say it. I was trained as a dancer but I had TB which I caught off my mother in my teens, my mid-teens, so I was in bed for 12 months then. That was the end, professionally anyway. I mean I always went to some sort of keep fit or exercise of some sort or pilates or … I can’t help but go to something like that. When I was quite young, I would see these glorious dancers, Margot Fonteyn, Moira Shearer, Pamela Mayne, and they’d got these wonderful figures, and they were older than me, and I thought well, so can i. I’ve never been the sort to over eat and I’ve always taken care of myself. But it was partly really about the TB that made me take care of myself, and I’ve never had a lot of energy, so I’ve had to conserve what energy I have had, and in point of fact, my modelling means I can just sit, instead. [One of the models posing, LaDawn, had chosen a very tricky pose on one knee and leaning somewhat, is sweating, and has to change pose] Arleen: So you say you’ve got to put up with pain? EB: Well, sometimes we choose to. We all pose for different reasons and something I get out of it is I like the challenge, so I’ll put myself into a difficult pose because I kind of get bored doing the same poses and when it’s painful, I like overriding that and you move beyond the pain, and you go into trance, but that’s something that is not going to appeal to everyone. Other people prefer to keep it simple and they’ll go into a meditative state in a more relaxed way. It can depend on which day of the week it is, what time of the month it is; sometimes I will be really pushing myself because that appeals to the part of me that likes to work out, that wants to feel my muscles aching afterwards, and other times I’ve had enough, I’ve been to 3 jobs already that day and travelled all over London, and I just want to flop and I’ll zone out that way. I just wanted to ask you Arleen about when you became a model, so it wasn’t like a big deal for you to pose nude, and did you pose for groups or did you just pose for Daniel? Arleen: Well, I started off just posing for Daniel, but that very quickly led to the classes that he went to. He introduced me and then we had a few people come to our house. EB: After your operation, were you at all concerned about posing again? Arleen: No I wasn’t, not at all. You see, by that time, I was very happy in my own skin. EB: So it was no issue Arleen: No, no. I was working at a technical college where there were quite a lot of German students, and I did go back fairly quickly after my operation but the teachers used that as a catalyst to talk to these students … EB: What, about breast cancer? Arleen: Oh yes, so I was delighted that I could help them in that way. EB: Thank you.

Drawing of Arleen made at this event
Drawing of Arleen made at this event
a drawing of all the models in pose before we interviewed them
a drawing of all the models in pose before we interviewed them

Lucy Saunders (FLS): It’s very new to you, Emma-Jane; what made you think this would be an interesting thing to try? Emma-Jane: Well do you know what I’m going to say? Arleen talked about Daniel, and I feel really awkward at this wonderful feminist day to say that I probably wouldn’t have walked through the door on Tuesday if it wasn’t for my new partner Davide, who is this wonderful curious man not at all an artist who came along to an event that Spirited Bodies ran back in October. I think since Tuesday I’ve really been interrogating why I went and why now at this time in my life and I think it is about key events. I think this new relationship really has been a bit of a catalyst. When I came on Tuesday, I thought, I was there because I have this wonderful flatmate who is really into fashion and as I left she was flicking through Marie Claire and she said, “I think you’re mad going to this thing,” and I just looked at the content of her magazine and I thought that was mad. As a larger girl, probably a size 18, size 20 on a bad day – or a good day – … I feel like there are not enough images or connections for women to make to the real world of feminity because we are saturated with that kind of media image. There is a woman at work who weighs just under 6 stone. She’s really really really poorly with anorexia and I just feel like, for both of us, that is the idea that we’re supposed to aspire to and its making both of us unhappy and in some ways unwell. And so I think for me coming here – one – one reason for getting into it was a curiosity and to see real women, different shapes, different sizes, colours, and just to remember what a woman looks like, because you don’t get that opportunity, really, outside of the family to see these shapes. I think another – this is what I’ve been interrogating – another very personal element to it which is what connects really to the new relationship is that I had spent a number of years with somebody who was very abusive and had lost my relationship with my body beyond it being a sexual tool and so being here reminded me of its function, its biological function, and just connecting with it and other women in a completely non-sexual way was actually …. That was the after shock that I’ve come to realise now a few days later and I was only here to volunteer on the stall. I arrived this morning and Esther said, “Oh no a model’s dropped out,” and I said I’ve only got till half past four. My colleague said, “Are you going to get your kit off again today?” and I said “No no definitely not, I’ve got to be somewhere by 5pm” – here I am and there’s my boobs so … (pointing to a drawing on the floor in front). FLS: It’s interesting because we’ve had several functioning anorexics come and model with us, obviously anorexia gives the most dramatic difference between how someone sees themselves and how anybody else would see them in reality. We’d see the skeleton and they’d see a fat person. That can be a very interesting process when they come and work with us. There are also those who work very hard on their body. We had one woman once, a young woman, good job in the City, very lovely, as she said, “I spend a lot of time, energy and money on keeping my body perfect, and then I don’t share it with anybody. I’ve been celibate for the last seven years and I’m hoping that coming along to SB will help me relax that and maybe be more open to a new relationship in the future.” I don’t know whether she’s got a new relationship yet, but I thought it was an interesting reason for coming. LaDawn: Especially since I’ve got the perfect body. FLS: Absolutely and me too LaDawn, let’s face it, between the two of us, Helen of Troy’s way out the shop. Emma-Jane: This is the thing, this is I think what I learnt from Tuesday and here today and looking actually out at you as artists is – we’ve all got the perfect body. It functions, it carries you around your day, it allows you to do the things that you want to do even if it is physically very very limited, if you are wheel chair bound, it is a perfect body, it’s your perfect body, and I think owning it and appreciating that, this really facilitates that. EB: Right, very well said. Emma-Jane: You can have that on your business cards! FLS: Emma-Jane, any ideas how you are going to take this forward? & are you going to get your partner to start drawing? Emma-Jane: Well, actually we were having a chat when he popped in this afternoon and he was very jealous because I drew, I posed and drew, on Tuesday, and he was really jealous of the pictures. He said, when he went, he went mainly as a model. And so we had a little chat and we’ve just made an agreement that he’s going to practise, um, he’s going to practise drawing me, and we’ll see how long that lasts. FLS: Well hopefully you get to draw him. Emma-Jane: Yes, yes and we did actually talk about maybe sharing it together. So far I’ve only done it within a women only environment but he did a mixed session. FLS: We have had a few couples in the past who came to model together to get a remembrance of themselves as a couple at that time. EB: And you said that possibly having tried it in a safe environment of just women you might feel more comfortable to do it in a mixed one soon. Emma-Jane: Absolutely absolutely. IMG_1616

charcoal drawing by Cloe Cloherty

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LaDawn's precarious pose on one knee clearly shown here
LaDawn’s precarious pose on one knee clearly shown here
a pregnant woman took the plunge when the audience were invited. By Cloe Cloherty
a pregnant woman took the plunge when the audience were invited.

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artist at work
artist at work
first pose with a couple models from the audience
first pose with a couple models from the audience

IMG_1625 All photographs in this post are copyright of Sophie Stanes, www.livinglifethroughalensphotography.co.uk

about overcoming the terrors of taking the plunge with Spirited Bodies! Nice piece

From Forty With Love

I’m just emerging from hibernation after a virus confined me to my bedroom for a number of days. It was a pretty horrible experience, particularly for someone who’s not used to getting sick and who prefers to be out doing stuff whenever possible.

It was also a humbling experience – being sick when you live alone with no family of your own and no relatives nearby can be quite lonely-making and I confess I shed a few tears, triggered by a sense of vulnerability, helplessness and, of course, too many romantic comedies.

But I also challenged my independence and asked a friend to bring around some supplies. For a good while, I was determined to make it to the shops on my own – they’re only five minutes walk away – but when the thought of getting out of my pjs and braving the cold brought tears to my eyes…

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Guestblog: Sabine Zoellner reports on the Porn debate at Women of the World Festival, 10/3/’13

The panel consisted of:

Julia Long – feminist activist and academic

Martin Daubney – journalist and former editor of Loaded magazine

Chitra Nagarajan – Black Feminists UK

Helena Kennedy –  chair and lawyer for human rights QC

PORNOGRAPHY – Sunday, 10.03.2013

After the introduction of the 4 participants it became clear that the nature of the talk was set up in a controversial and provocative nature on purpose: a radical feminist (for whom porn starts with a topless model on page 3 of The Sun), a playboyish former editor of a lads magazine, a black feminist and a human rights lawyer as the chair lady to keep things under control.

Chitra from Black Feminists UK expressed her points in the least radical but more informative way than the other two. It turned out though quite quickly that the introduction of the racial aspect overloaded the already complex and unfocused subject of pornography so that unfortunately she remained a rather marginal figure throughout the entire talk.

The discussion involving the audience formed the main part of the talk and started already after about 20 minutes.

Helena Kennedy came across as slightly patronising in picking the speakers claiming that she “can see very well who came first” and the audience remained quite noisy and tense throughout.

She kept ignoring a gentleman sitting behind me raising his arm patiently for most of the 90 minutes though (which I found was a shame as I think it is highly interesting to hear what men who join a feminist festival have to say…)

As a summary of key points and facts that evolved after a while we learned for example (unverified in some cases):

– porn functions as substitute for sex education due to easy availability via the internet

– porn is a euro american capitalist oppressive experience

– there is an increase in problems with erections with teenage boys (all of them admitted they’d watch porn frequently)

– there is no proof of connection between porn and sex crime

– the media in general is 95% driven by men

– in capital crime investigation there seems to be an increasing number of cases where pornography is found when searching suspects’ homes

– there is more acceptance of homosexual porn nowadays

– porn has become more extreme nowadays

– there is an increase in human trafficking – men have a higher desire to practise what they see in porns (which is often only possible with prostitutes)

– the porn sector has a turnover of £97 billion per year

– there must be a focus on legislation to make porn less available for under 18s; credit card payment was mentioned as an option

– there is a lack of space in sex education at school – it needs to have a massive makeover to integrate the current porn consumption by under 18s

– there are observations that young girls are being pressured into anal and facial sex because of boys wanting to experience what they saw in porns

Questions raised:

– is porn watching related to class/privilege/poverty?

– can a woman watch porn and be a feminist at the same time?

– should porn be made illegal?

In summary it seemed obvious that it is difficult to capture the gist of this versatile subject within 2 hours of discussion.

The impression remains that the discussion got no further than scratching on the surface of the subject as too many different aspects were thrown in – starting with the definition of what pornography really is (spectrum went from a topless lady on page 3 of The Sun, people enjoying having sex and being filmed, the erotica of the early “Emmanuelle” movies up to movies showing violent and humiliating sexual practices).

I also have to say the way the talk was held slightly wound me up. The emotions that were triggered by the organisers on purpose prevented people from being objective.

The subject of porn was kept too undefined and generic from the beginning as if a real focus point that could have lead to a consensus and/or conclusions was not intended to be created by the organisers.

Therefore I feel that everyone came in and also went home with their same own opinion.

At least this applies to myself:

My first key point was and is that pornography must not be available for under 18s (at least in a similar way as it was before the internet era).

I feel relief that I am not a teenage girl in this day and age that has to face first sexual and relationship experience with boys who ask for sex the way they see it (mostly unmonitored) in pornography.

I also think that there should be a ban on violent and abusive forms of pornography in general, eg where one of the parties involved is subject to disrespect and humiliation. I do believe that this type of film has a bad impact on people’s (adults as well as under 18s) minds and therewith society.

And a finishing note:

At the end of the talk I turned and told the gentleman behind me that I felt gutted that he didn’t get to speak and asked him what he was about to say.

To add to the complexity of the subject he said he thought that sending porn videos via mobile phones could spice up the love lives of long term relationships. Oh well…

By Sabine Zoellner

Sabine first modelled with Spirited Bodies over a year ago, before that she had always been on the other side of the easel. She was helping on our stall at the Women of the World Festival, and stepped in to model as well. Here follow some of her drawings.

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For a recording of the discussion, check here:  http://wow.southbankcentre.co.uk/events/pornography/

(In defense of) Promoting Life Modelling

We come under criticism by some life models who resent that what we do opens up life modelling to many who would otherwise not get into it. We contribute to an ever increasing pool of life models, and those who depend on it for their livelihood and are without other alternatives worry that they may lose work as a result. It is feared that new, less experienced models will accept lower wages, and some who already have decent incomes, will even do it for free. I appreciate these comments, they have some validity, but I also have plenty to say in response.

  1. Most who try life modelling with us will do it just for the experience, not continuing further. Life modelling is not easy or for everyone; you have to be particularly good and/or unusual to make it work regularly.
  2. Artists or class organisers still overall prefer regular, reliable models they trust. A few groups low on resources will opt for cheap models.
  3. We also contribute new artists to the pool as we promote drawing in our workshops. A newcomer is equally likely to take up life drawing and they often do, thus expanding the possible market for life models.
  4. We are part of a general increase in life modelling/drawing interest in the UK and beyond at the moment as evidenced by several newspaper articles on the subject and TV programmes, plus a rise in experimental as well as traditional groups, even if curriculum based life art in art schools has declined.
  5. I understand being stuck in a rut and down on your luck for years on end, on drugs even, in unhealthy relationships, not enough real friends… it can be hard to appreciate others’ good fortune then. Actually in the long run it’s better to celebrate others’ success, and at least not be down on it. Emphasizing negativity only brings more of it, when maybe what you really want is a bit more of the pie! I know what it’s like to look at others and imagine they are doing better than you and perhaps assume they are more privileged. Did that for years and it is miserable, futile and wrong-headed. In that respect, karmically I may well deserve the very same that is being done to me now. On the other hand I know that in that time there is no way else to be; that is how the world looks, and being less happy, you have less control over it or ability to alter that viewpoint. I accept this state in others just as it was in me and bear no malice in return or grievance. It is a shame they feel that way, but c’est la vie.
  6. One criticism leveled at us is that Lucy and I are privileged as life models go, both being English, almost educated (well Lucy went to Cambridge, I barely passed an experimental theatre degree!) and with posh accents. It’s easy for us to make this happen – what about the majority of foreign life models whose English is not so good? One of the reasons they like or choose to live in the UK is that open free market policies have made us a diverse culture with the possibility for trying new and creative projects and businesses. There is help available for starting up new businesses and if you put your mind to it there are ways to transform your potential. Lucy and I have both suffered with mental conditions, Lucy with physical conditions, and I have worked alongside Eastern European ilegal immigrants (in the ’90s before their migration status had been changed) as a sex worker effectively choosing life options beneath my status. The stigma and psychological damage rendered by this has taken years to overcome.
  7. Lucy and I fully offer advice when asked about how to improve others’ projects. We happily share what we know, for free. And that goes for life modelling too, since the benefits to others seem too positive to be overlooked. Yes we do charge for workshops, but if you are broke it is totally possible to attend for free. And our availability extends beyond the paid workshop. Naturally helping others helps us. We have both gained immeasurably from this project in ways that go way beyond any money made (which is negligible compared to the time/energy put in).
  8. I don’t need to write this, but it was bubbling inside me so I guess I wanted to get it off my chest!

Pictures to follow from recent event at The Mall Galleries. We have packs of 8 postcards of these photographs available for sale, including some of the pictures shown here. Get in touch if you are interested. We also have packs of 10 postcards of artwork from our events.

models chatting in the break
models chatting in the break

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a portrait pose
a portrait pose
a chain of models, in 'A Dance to the Music of Time'
a chain of models, in ‘A Dance to the Music of Time’
our version of 'The Pieta'
our version of ‘The Pieta’

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This brings us to the end of a very full and special season of weekly workshops around London and 3 very different events. This evening was part of Telegraph Hill Festival, local to me. 11 models created powerful poses based on the theme of a ’20s cocktail party, a naked protest, and a turkish sauna/baths. Some fabulous art work will be uploaded to Facebook soon!

Lucy and I will get to plotting the future imminently and then return with a new schedule after a short break. Thanks to all who have been involved, we love our art baby very much!