It happens every time.

I have this happen to me each time I model.  Usually the session starts with a number of 30 second, 1 minute and 2 minute gesture poses, then stretches to 5 and 10 minute poses and then onto 30 or 45 minute poses.  For me, as soon as the buzz and adrenaline of the gestures has worn off, I find that I am almost dosing off during my first longer pose, generally a 10-20 minute one.  After a break, or a break from the first long pose, I almost snap awake and am sharp again for the rest of the session.  Thankfully I have not fallen asleep during any sessions, but I have heard stories of this happening.  One group I model for even says “It’s OK if you fall asleep!”  Great people.

Anyone else struggle to stay awake sometimes?

“We have a professional model with us tonight.”

It’s been quite a while since I updated this blog, for which I offer my apologies.  Summer of course is a slower time for figure modeling, as many groups take a break due to so many artists being off on vacation.

I received a nude model request from the local arts college, and happily accepted.  I showed up for the class, and was happy to find out that it was for mostly beginning artists and that I was the first nude model that the class had drawn so far, and for many artists, the first nude model they had drawn.

I try to keep remembering things about modeling to write about, experiences, things people say etc.  That night, it was the introduction given by the teacher of the class, and it hit me about how far I have come, and labels that people attach to others.  That night, I was introduced as a “…professional model…”.  I almost did a double take when I heard that.  Usually I am not formally introduced past my first name, so getting a longer intro and the moniker of “professional” was a new one.

It got me to thinking, what makes a figure model a professional?  Is it the amount of experience they have, the number of years, reputation, or just being professional about the job?  I don’t think I have landed on an answer yet.  The closest I can think, and the closest I feel about it is that a professional model is one that takes the job seriously, exudes enthusiasm and offers great, interesting poses in addition to being on time and taking direction or working with the class or artists. 

I have to confess that I have become somewhat snobbish about some models, and it has more to do with many not taking things seriously (modeling is FUN, but you have to be disciplined), and many of them checking off figure modeling as a bucket list item or to see if they can do it, and then quit.  I know that many committed figure models are working hard to change the mindset of other figure models, and what is thought of them.  To me, figure modeling is a blessing that one should appreciate.  It’s others that don’t who diminish modeling, and reinforce the preconceptions that models can be flaky or flighty.  Ones that “try” modeling, wing it and don’t practice, or research good poses.

Of course, with that last paragraph, I just realized that I could be more snooty than I want to be.

Spring has sprung and busy as ever

I always feel that I am neglecting this blog.  While I am generally busy modeling (at least busy for me), I do try to think of things to blog about that won’t bore people, and as you can tell, I think of very little.

Most of my work recently has been call backs from my regular groups that I LOVE working with.  They are a great bunch of artists, so talented and friendly.  One such group invited me to a gallery show of theirs a few months ago.  My supportive wife and young son came with me and we had a great time, until it was the little one’s bed time. It was amazing to see a few of “me” up on the wall for all to see.  Wonderful stuff.  I also purchased one work of art from one of the artists.

Mixed in with my call back work has been some new opportunities.  I was contacted by a new class running for a few months this spring, and also…I can’t wait…a women’s group out of town later in the month.  It’s a wonderful collective that gets together to teach each other about new and interesting topics from figure drawing, to art, to mountain biking, to rock climbing and more.  That should be fun.

The tip jar

As figure models know, when you are modeling, you have a little extra time to mull over thoughts, create ideas, and just generally solve the world’s problems.  As I was modeling last night, I found my mind wandering to a topic that I don’t see much written about or talked about:  The Tip Jar.

More specifically, who has one/uses one, is it acceptable to put one out and other thoughts.  While noodling around on the interwebz I have found bits and pieces around discussing the tip jar.  A while ago Paris models went on strike when local figure drawing schools/organizations/groups started to ban models putting them out.  In France it seems that they are pretty standard to have and use.  It is an important way to subsidize model’s income and they protested that if their pay wasn’t going to increase to match the lost revenue from their jars, that they should still be able to use them.  http://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/dec/16/france-art-life-models-protest

One article written by a North american model does make mention about the tip jar and how much that artists should drop in it depending if the group is a drop in, or if the are going to see the same model over a number of weeks.  Again, it is to help subsidize wages. This discussion site talks about the tip jar concept in general.  http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-570455.html

http://www.artmodeltips.com/models/find_work/

My personal feeling is that it is presumptuous to put out a tip jar.  I agree to appear with a group for an agreed upon amount of money.  To show up and subtly pressure and expect artists to pay more than what the drop in rate is, is a bit forward for my taste.  The same thing goes if you are modeling for a paid class.  The artists already shelled out a few hundred dollars or more to take part in this instructive class, but then to have the model pan handle in front of them for more is uncomfortable, not to speak about what the class coordinator or instructor would do or think.

I would love to hear from other models and any artists with their thoughts on this topic.

New to academia

Recently I started modeling for the local arts and design college for their extended studies courses.  I have been able to experience something different working there, which is posing for figure painters, as opposed to figure drawers. 

This may seem like a trivial difference but to me it isn’t.  The classes involve much fewer gesture poses, and the art created from them, is much different (and very pleasing) than compared to drawing with other mediums.  I find that I can put more thought into my long poses or pose, with fewer gesture poses to be anticipating and thinking about.  Don’t get me wrong, I love gesture poses, and they allow me to do things that normally I can’t hold for 5+ minutes but I enjoy the difference in this class.

 

It’s exciting to embark on a new adventure with a new venue.  While more and more are popping up in town (venues) it seems that the growth has slowed somewhat and I always enjoy making inroads with new groups and in this case, schools. 

Call backs

They are always gratifying.  They let me know that I have done a good, or even excellent job and wowed the group my first visit, and they liked me enough to be asked to return.  That is very flattering.  I view the first time I model with a new group as a job interview.  Depending on the group, you are there to fill in, or you are auditioning for a semi-regular spot as one of their regular models.  I’d have to say so far, I am at about a 75%-ish return average of all the places I have modeled.  The other 25% still get e-mails from me with reminders of my availability if they need my services.  These remind e-mails have turned into a few repeat gigs, which is great. 

 

Doing the best job you can will get you asked back.  I have found that I am now in the regular rotation with many of the groups I model for.  A year ago, I never thought that I was going to get to this place. 

It’s been a year

And what a year it has been!  I wandered through some of my first posts about my return to modeling, just to see what has changed, and what had not.  Thankfully, the things I wanted to change the most, have, while the important things I wanted to preserve, have been.  

It has been a pretty busy October for me, booking-wise.  I am getting to the place I wanted to be, busy each week with at least one gig, and happily, I am being booked for multiple gigs by the same groups or classes.  I have recently been hired by the local college of art and design for their figure drawing classes, which provides some more steady bookings. 

Finding bookings was a major stressor for me starting off.  Not for the money, but just to have the opportunities to model and improve my skills.  Even now, what I have learned is that 90% + of my bookings come from me approaching groups and instructed art classes either at the start of the season for instructed classes, or by e-mailing the co-ordinators of the various drawing groups on a regular basis to ask about any empty modeling gigs they have open.  I have set up a web site and Facebook page to advertise myself and the modeling I do, and that has resulted in some new people contacting me. 

Luckily, what I have wanted to preserve from figure modeling, has been.  I still get the “tingle” when I’m about to start a session, I am just as excited to model now as a year ago.  You would think that after seeing a group multiple times that the shine would wear off, but not for me.  I love returning to groups as much as meeting new ones.  There is something comforting about being around artists that you have come to know and vice versa.  It pushes me to be a better model, and make sure I have fresh new poses, and not keep recycling the same old ones.  I do have a selection of my favourite poses that I like to use almost each gig I am at, but for the artists that have already drawn them, I make sure to put a twist on them for something slightly new.

Another thing that hasn’t changed, or at least has only improved, is professionalism.  I have not been late to a gig (except my first gig a year ago), nor have I had to cancel on a group at any point.  I hope I have not just jinxed my self…

I feel like I have come full circle in one year.  Just the other week I modeled again for the second venue that hired me about a year ago.  It was great to return.  I hope the next year brings as much fun and enjoyment as this last year.

 

I’m humbled.

This is a short and sweet post, but i just had to add it.  Not that I look for praise a lot, or applause, but when you find it, or it finds you, it is incredibly gratifying,  I found this while surfing info on the local figure drawing scene.  While it’s the wrong name, it doesn’t matter to me.  The artists words are so kind, I just had to share.

http://www.monkeyslunch.com/blog/2013/05/30/darren/

What artists give models

I’ve been thinking of this off and on for a little while.  While models know very well what they provide artists that draw them, a medium, muse, poses, etc., I have been thinking of what we as models get from artists that make this a mutually beneficial relationship.  While not all things I will mention will be the same for all models, many may feel the same about most of them.

Money.  Let’s get this out of the way right away.  Like I have said, and many other models before me, although money isn’t the main reason why we do what we do, it is nice to have.  Unless you live in a major city the size of LA, New York City, Toronto, or Vancouver, most likely you aren’t going to earn your living through modeling.  It acts as a very nice side business that provides a little extra income for whatever you want, be it buying extra toys in life or helps with unexpected expenses.

Social contact.  For me, starting to model again was a way to get out, have “me” time and also make some money at the same time.  I am the father of a 2 year old so having “me” time doesn’t happen nearly as much as it used to.  I guess I’m working at modeling gigs, but it doesn’t feel this way.  I have used modeling to meet a whole new set of people who I genuinely enjoy talking with and seeing the results of the drawing time they have with me.

Self confidence.  Again, this was a huge thing for me.  I have detailed in the past what modeling nude did for me while in college, and how when I started modeling again, it again gave me that shot in the arm of self confidence and a sense of peace with myself.  I have reaffirmed my attitude of “This is me, take it or leave it.  I am not affected by other’s thoughts and actions.”  Modeling nude is probably the most vulnerable place you will put yourself, ever.  You are naked, by choice, in front of a group of people that you have either never met before, of some that you have and you need to step up your game to make sure the poses you hold are fresh to them, and that they aren’t seeing a rerun.  Posing nude is one of the most accepting things I have done.  It doesn’t matter if you are perfect or not (the more imperfect you are the better I keep being told), it doesn’t matter your background, socio-economic position or anything else.  Where else could my naked body be viewed as interesting?  I have had more than one artist talk to me who was happy that I wasn’t an athletic build.  Their complaint is that they had grown tired of athletic models and wanted to draw more average people.  That’s nice to hear.

Appreciation.  If you are an artist reading this, we models love to be approached (for the most part) and paid a compliment.  While it doesn’t ruin my evening if no artists approaches me about my poses etc., I have to admit that it’s gratifying when an artist engages me in conversation during a break to show me what they have created, or to compliment me on the poses or the energy.  The last time I modeled this happened and it was really pleasing to hear that my poses were really energizing the artists, more so than the last few weeks.  Also, applause is very much appreciated.  It was great to arrive at a gig to have the stand in coordinator say “Yay!  Oh good!” when they saw me walk in the door.  They didn’t know I was the model but the positive greeting was a great way to start off my night.  I love being in the position now that places and artists know me, and actually are happy when they know I’m there to model.  As for the applause, as I got diverted there, a round of applause at the end of the night is also very much appreciated.  Again, the feeling I got from nearly 20 people clapping for me at the end was something you don’t feel all the time.  I always make sure I take quick moment to thank all those that attended, and for allowing me to be part of what they have created that session.

I suppose that is about it without drawing (no pun intended) it out too long.  We as models are a huge part of what the artists do, but on the other hand, we as models also need the artists for things as well.  They aren’t the same things, but it’s an even trade.

 

Prepping for the new season

Well, being proactive for once in my life, I decided the other day to start e-mailing and calling artists and groups I have modeled for, and many that I have not, about my availability for the Fall and Winter.  I was keeping a mental note to do this and I am luck that I didn’t forget before it was too late.

Something to remember for next year is that it seems that most drawing courses, around here at least, seem to get started again in late September or early October.  At least I am fresh in their minds when they begin to schedule.

Other than that, summer has been rather quiet.  I’ve modeled a few times for a fundraiser, a drawing group and also had a new experience modeling for an artists who wants to tackle an online gaming character in his art.  Very interesting.  All photography in mock up armour and a cape, not nude though.  I hope to see the finished product.