Modeling Life: Art Models Speak About Nudity, Sexuality, And the Creative Process

Modeling Life: Art Models Speak About Nudity, Sexuality, And the Creative Process

Sarah R. Phillips

Language: English

Pages: 166

ISBN: 0791469085

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


This is a book about life modeling. Unlike the painter whose name appears beside his finished portrait, the life model, posing nude, perhaps for months, goes unacknowledged. Standing at a unique juncture between nude and naked, between high and low culture, between art and pornography the life model is admired in a finished sculpture, but scorned for her or his posing. Making use of extensive interviews with both male and female models and quoting them frequently, Sarah R. Phillips gives a voice to life models. She explores the meaning that life models give to themselves and to their work and seeks to understand the lived experience of life models as they practice their profession. Throughout history, people have romanticized life models in an aura of bohemian eroticism, or condemned them as strippers or sex workers. Modeling Life reveals how life models get into the business, managing sexuality in the studio, what it means to be a muse, and why their work is important."

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and the male or female artists in the studio will all participate in the performance of human sexuality. While life models work hard to define the sexuality of the studio in clean, abstract terms, they also acknowledge that it is not unusual for the abstract sexuality of the studio to transform into more specific or individual sexuality. Without exception, they acknowledge that working from a life model can be sexually arousing for artists. Failing to acknowledge the potential for sexual arousal

and women posing for poor pay in a local art college has been lost in a mass of notions about models as mistresses, models as inspiration and models as naked and female.”14 As a profession, life modeling seems to be strangely invisible to most of us. Although we have all seen paintings and sculptures of people, either in museums or galleries, on television, or in books, few of us have stopped to consider the men or women whose job it is to sit for artwork. 4 MODELING LIFE AESTHETIC FASHION

a number of factors, perhaps most prominent of which is the size of the studio. Models posing privately for single artists and over an extended period of time are more likely to talk with that artist while in a pose. Alternately, posing for art classes or younger artists usually calls for stricter boundary vigilance and means that models usually will not talk with the artists while they are posing. When I’m working for artists privately, a lot of times there will be more dialog that goes on.

sense of privacy, which can be violated by uninvited voyeurs.17 Life models, too, create privacy boundaries despite being publicly nude. These boundaries serve to protect the model’s sense of professional legitimacy and as such are carefully maintained. This page intentionally left blank. SIX “Denise” DENISE ARRIVED FOR our first interview dressed like any other Portland woman in her early twenties: jeans, a t-shirt, and a fleece jacket. With shoulder-length dark hair and no makeup, she

David, 7 sensual characteristics of paints or clay, 24 sensual versus sexual expression, 38, 43, 59–60 sexual arousal, 39–40, 87–89, 92 sexual harassment, 14, 125n2 sexual inequality and dominant gaze, 76–77 effect of, 14–15, 40, 77–79, 84 latitude of women and male hegemony, 130n4 sexual versus sensual expression, 38, 43, 59–60 sex work family’s view of life modeling as, 71–72, 80 prostitution, 6, 7, 35, 37, 76 strippers, 35, 40–42, 76, 95 whores, 42 signature poses, 108 sliding-scale payment

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