Well, the other night marked another opportunity for me to model for a local group and I couldn’t help but notice the differences in venue, attitude, vibe etc.
As you may have read in my previous posts (or most likely not as hardly anyone reads this thing 🙂 ), I have been looking for modeling work since I started again. I have had a few sessions with one figure drawing group. It has a very nice location, newly renovated, top notch. The model platform is about 3 feet off the ground, padded and has sparkling new white sheet on it in the middle of the studio with very nice areas for the artists and plenty of lighting. My choice of a private room or the bathroom (also newly renovated), to change in. Pretty much as nice as you are going to get.
The second venue, the one I modeled at last night, is almost 180 degrees different. Upstairs in a downtown building that dates from the 1940’s. Run down, has that “old building” smell, it’s a maze to get to the studio space that was used, peeling paint, painted concrete floors and a run down bathroom to change in. As I was getting into my robe in the bathroom, while trying not to touch things or have my bare feet hit the floor, I was thinking “What the hell am I headed into??” Things continued to get more interesting when I walked in and the podium was a 3X4 sheet of plywood on 4 milk crates covered with a sheet that looked like it had seen better days.
Now, as a figure model, or just as a person, which venue would you choose to do a session for?
I choose venue #2. Surprised? Maybe, maybe not. Personally, it all comes down to who you are working with in both the group leader and the artists. It all comes down to the “vibe” you get and how the session is run. Venue #1, while the people are very polite etc, you don’t get that “open” feeling as much as venue #2. At venue #1, I did get the feeling that I was being critiqued more than I had bargained for. I had been very honest about my experience in modeling and the gap in time that I had been away. I was told that it was no issue and that they take interest in helping models expand. The coordinator at #2 was/is great. Very open, very down to earth. I talked with him as he set up, asked him about the group, asked about the models in my city, numbers of males vs. females etc., just generally picked his brain. I managed to get a lot of new info. It seems that there is a balance of female vs. male models but it depends on who is doing the booking and he freely admitted that some people prefer fit female models and that is what they book. He also told me that many models he has worked with, mainly if they were younger, would model for a short while and then decide to do something else. He said that his main group of models were a little older, some retirees but generally the stable ones were not doing it for reliable extra money. I digress.
Venue #1 sessions were a series of 30 second to 1 minute gesture poses followed by longer poses up to 30 minutes. Venue #2 was “do what you do, hold a pose for as long as you feel like, we will work with you.” I was giving a verbal 15 second warning when I was changing poses and the coordinator let me know that I didn’t have to and that I could just change when I felt like it, no big deal. The artists were in their early 20’s, mostly animators who wanted a free flowing session. The first 90 minutes were a blur. 10 minutes of pure adrenaline followed by contentment. I was kept busy just by thinking of what pose I should hold next. I went through many, so many in fact that I was starting to get worried that I would start to repeat or the ones near the end of the session would be stale. Not to fear though. I talked with the artists during the break to ask how they wanted to work the last hour of the session. They asked for longer 10-15 minutes poses (thank goodness) and when I asked if there were any poses they hadn’t seen yet or wanted to see, I was told “No, just keep doing what you are doing. You are fantastic.”
Wow. What a boost that was! I had been having doubts about myself for a few weeks now after my last session with venue #1. It could all be in my head but the session at venue #2 was like a shot in the arm. Relaxed, great group, great vibe, cooperative, free!!!!! The coordinator made tea for everyone and made sure I had a mug available to me while I modeled. It was great.
While I have no intention of turning down work at venue #1 if they book me again, I will not hesitate to work with venue #2 in the future. It was so energizing and uplifting. The artists were spectacular and while they didn’t specifically share their drawings, I did see a few glimpses during poses and they looked great. Very talented bunch!
Venue #2’s coordinator asked me about my availability over the next few months so I am hoping for some repeat sessions. I would love to go back. It was just what I needed.