Checking out Nude Models

Scotland’s most famous nude model was the young Sir Sean Connery, who posed for students at Edinburgh College of Art. In April 2002, Glasgow City Council was ridiculed when it ordered a touring arts workshop to make sure its life models were fully clothed.The Royal Academy of Arts roadshow was allowed to use the models on every other workshop.The enhanced disclosure checks are usually required for teachers, doctors and other professionals working with children.

The Royal Academy of Arts is looking to make it’s life models undertake the same checks that professionals working with children need to take. I admit to some curiosity, in all of the life drawing situations I’ve been in the model has not talked to the group, just disrobed and posed. I assume that the check is to make sure that the models aren’t exhibitionists or something.. 😉 Maintaining objectivity is important which is why none of the models have chatted after taking off the robe.

I know quite a few people who may not have been able to maintain objectivity while drawing Sean Connery though.

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13 thoughts on “Checking out Nude Models

  1. What is this? the model as an object? not a person? You might as well draw a bag of bones. As a model I want to see what is being drawn; and am interested in the thought behind it. The more I know, the more value I can deliver to my ‘customers’. No chat? that’s ******* stupid.
    Also, if the artist works passionately, then this objectivity **** should be nowhere in sight. Go Leonardo, in the morgue.

  2. Enhanced dislosure checks for life models!! Gahhh! This is mad bureaucracy.
    I used to be a life model in North-west England. The youngest students I posed nude for were 15 – and that was just for a few weeks at a private school with a strong arts tradition, and they were pretty mature kids. Otherwise, my students were at least 16. You just do NOT pose nude for younger ones – no tutor would ask you, and no model would do it. So where’s the need for disclosure checks?

    SK: The model *is* an object, as much of an object as a vase of flowers or an arrangement of textiles. The student has to look at you objectively, see you as lines, curves, tones and angles, in order to learn to draw. But I’ve never found any bar on (robed) models mingling with the students in the breaks, chatting and looking at the drawings, being a friendly human being. I did that with pretty much every class I sat for. It must be different in the US.

  3. If the body is being seen as an object, or being used as an object ( such as a vase of flowers ), then you’ve missed the point of having a body, and you’d be better off getting out the bag of bones or joining Leonardo down at the morgue. The body is a machine for action. The held pose is frozen action; expressing dynamism; rhythm. Students or artists who are employing someone who is just acting as a bag of bones, or a vase of flowers, or wallpaper, aren’t getting their money’s worth. Discussion or consultation between artist and model about what pose can draw out the best from the artist, and what is possible from the model’s perspective, can be productive. The body can best be seen or observed without clothing: so we have clothesless modeling. Someone has to be without clothes. I have found not just studends, but also tutors who are uncomfortable with this situation, and that discomfort is somehow connected with sex.
    The perceived need for disclosure checks is rooted in that attitude that the body is a ( sex ) object; and could during a modeling session be exhibited in such a manner ( though it’s more likely the artist is going to view the body as such ). Even without the disclosure issue, the attitude gets in the way of art or artistic progress; treats the model as an unskilled worker; and creates degraded working conditions for models.

  4. Frak, contact university art departments in your area. If administrators/professors are no help, advertise on physical bulletin boards in the department, or online bulletin boards/university classifieds. Beware of non-artist creeps!
    Charge enough to make it worth your while, but do not expect to get rich from it. Consider it pocket cash, unless you’re one unique, in-demand model!

  5. The art workshop here at a Texas university
    reminded me about their need for models this (2007) fall. They sent out flyers to the various department buildings. Now they are advertising through your (Newspaper) article for artists to add to their skills. I chuckled to myself when I saw it. It was summer of 2006 when the art department had scheduled a life drawing class, one for fall and one for spring. They advertised for nude models with flyers all over. Just for a lark I thought I would volunteer, thinking there would be so many applicants that I might not even get called. But I was wrong they needed me I was told. The total number used that fall was four, three men and one woman. As far as the 20 students they were an equal balance of men to women. In the course of the semester I was called seven times. I did various quick one minute poses then poses for twenty minutes totally nude until near the end of the semester a sheet was used to simulate a roman toga for the shading, ripples and folds. Also some sitting poses. From back feed I was told one of the other male models was a young healthy muscular black man and he was able to do and hold poses that I couldn’t. The girl had some extra padding but volunteered twice. The young teen boy posed shirtless but with his pants on. He did bare it all one time in the spring.
    The Art Department offers this course only once every three or four years. Undergraduate art students must register for this class sometime in their degree plan before graduating. It’s the same in most art programs at any Texas University.
    I was needed in the Spring (2007). I got a call from the instructor. I was to model again for a new class of coed students. They had a balance of about 10 girls to 11 guys. But as luck would have it, only two males and one girl volunteered to pose. It was I and the bashful nineteen year old boy who were the only males. The girl had scheduling problems and she finally did it once. The boy bared it all one time and never came back again, even when he was scheduled. Again I ended up being the only macho guy that helped the students get live drawing as I moved into different poses for the whole semester. Standing naked in a large room with high ceilings near the end of the fall semester one can get chilly. The instructor provided a floor heater to keep the goose bumps off
    I was surprised by a phone call one day around twelve O’clock early this fall 2007 semester. I was asked if I would volunteer to model that afternoon for the workshop since a conflict of scheduling caused a cancelation and I was needed. I said I would but I have a class on Wednesday. They called since I was on their active modeling list. I said I could do it on Thursdays and so said the original model. Thus they changed the workshop time that next week and it has been working fine on Thursdays I hear. Well they scheduled me for the next Thursday and I worked from 2 till 430. I haven’t been called back.
    What caught my eye was the title of your article. I have a folder of stories that other models have gone through with their first experiences of posing in the buff. Their articles have titles like: “Taking it all off for art’s sake;” “Nude models portray art of assurance;” “Naked and the Dread;” “Models ‘expose’ students to nude art. “ etc.
    After a whole year, where were all those fellows with their great testosterone attitude? Why are they so timid? What I have found is that modeling for universities do not pay enough for professional models to apply. For students who need extra money the amount paid is welcomed. It seems that the pool of volunteers have dwindled in many places. News flash England “Students at Warwickshire College are suffering from a shortage of nude models.” “University of Maryland (in 2005) have too few nude models.” “John Winslow a 45 year old lawyer from Washington was the center of attention but he wasn’t arguing a case in front of a jury. Instead, 30 art students watched intently as he stood stark naked and posed. Winslow is one of just a few nude models in the universities drawing classes – a shrinking group of people willing to bare it all for the sake of art.”
    My suggestion would be to require each art students as they apply for the life drawing classes to stir up some friends of theirs to volunteer al least one time, and that would take care of the lack
    Oh I forgot to tell you I am 76 years old. I am a graduate student.

  6. When I work with a model I always chat with them. I know “fine art” usually tries to de-sex models and present them almost like a still life bowl of apples. I think this is because they don’t want to make the art Erotica which is over sexual. But that’s not a danger if you just treat the model as a person. So chatting while working makes it a lot more natural relaxed and human.

    The only check I need from a model is if they are willing to sign a release form to declare their age and willingness to pose.

  7. If I were to chat with my models now people would look at me weirdly. but admittedly they are 3D figures! I think the rules for not talking with the models in my classes were really important, especially because we were working in such a large group – I can’t stand any talking when I’m working and I assume I’m not alone there!

    I do think that not talking with them, along with not watching them change is part of creating that image and does prevent sexualization if you are aiming for non sexualized figures.

  8. great thread.

    i am an art student in Wagga NSW, and we have a class of usually eight. Seven girls, and myself. We have had the male and female nude, both very chatty and comfortable, and both willing to return for next semester.

    I will admit when i was a young fella, i had the tantalising thoughts of drawing nude women there in the flesh. the funny thing is, im 37 now, not over the hill by any means at all, but nude life drawing is the LEAST sexual thing i have ever done. back aches, saw shoulders, strained eyesight, conte and charcoal from here to there… life drawing is in the same sensual bracket as changing the oil in your car or filling out tax returns.

    All the hype from the media is just that. Hype. Selling some newspapers or prime time advertising space. If someone out there is morally outraged by life drawing, give them a conte and a pad of a0 bond, and show em your bits and then they will see how mentally intense, challenging and rewarding the human form is to draw.

  9. Hi from nz i must say i do like your colourful artworks ansd having been a life model on one occasion [hoping to do more] i find it was ok for me as the model to chat to the artists drawing me at times and i would be happy to model for free if you come over to auckland nz at any time .As for the hype about nudity times are slowly changing and the nude in art has always been respected as art and not as a sexual object although i must admit that when i did my stint as a model at end of the class a lady did say i had a lovely bottom [her words ]so you have to laugh . any way keep on painting and you might get the use of a free model as subject
    regards dave

  10. Pingback: nude sean connery painting revealed « Jennie’s Palette

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