Last fall in Paris the Musee D'Orsay's exhibition "Masculine / Masculine. The Nude Manin Art from 1800 to the Present Day" was a visual ode to the nude male form captured in paintings.  The landmark exhibition was the first of its kind and raised questions about artistic representations and societal perceptions of the nude male form.  Taking a page from the Musee's book, we wanted to explore body politics at the Academy.  And since we are equal opportunity figurists, we sought out the naked truth from one of our many male models to see if their experience differed from a female's. While this interviewee shall remain nameless, his body and face are quite familiar to our Academy artists in residence.  The insight he shares reflects the Academy's viewpoint that all nude forms are beautiful and not gender specific.  
Q: Tell me about the start of your modeling endeavor. How did it start? How long have you been modeling? What was your first experience like?
A: I've been modeling on and off for a few years.  The first time I modeled in a professional setting, I was filling in for a girlfriend on a morning when she was violently sick!  It was a morning of short poses (which I prefer!) at Janus Collaborative.  I became a regular there, and other jobs came along through various connections like this one at the Academy. I enjoy the energy here so I stick around.   

Q: Can you describe your typical day as an Academy model?  How many hours do you pose? For how many students? Which classes?
A: A typical day for me here is like a 9 - 5 working day - which means I'm commuting with all the day-jobbers, which is very strange for me, since as a freelance artist I'm able to avoid rush hour under other circumstances.  The morning session and afternoon session are both three hours - I mostly do multiple week long poses, where I pose for 20 minutes at a time.  The monitors are very good about keeping track of my breaks.  I've mostly done painting classes here but I've done a few drawing classes as well.

Q: While you are posing, do you think of anything in particular?  What thoughts run through you mind during a session? 
A: At the best of times, I practice Buddhist meditation.  At the worst of times, I silently shout at myself about my physical discomfort.  At the medium times, I write entire shows in my head, and jot them down in notes during my breaks.  I prefer the medium times.

Q: Anything out of the ordinary happen to you while modeling?  Any funny anecdotes to share? 
A: Oh goodness, I imagine my sense of "ordinary" has changed a great deal while modeling.  One of my favorite gigs though was getting to model at Will Cotton's drawing party at the Academy.  It was very glamorous, with music playing and great catering and wine.  It was a lovely party where I just happened to be getting paid to stand very still and naked.  I definitely spent that gig thinking "can every day be like this?" 

Q: Have you ever tried being on the other side and drawing/painting a model?
A: I never have.  I've always been very interested in drawing and the visual arts, but my passion for performing has always taken up all of my time!  I really barely know anything about the visual arts, and not much about anatomy for that matter, so it's interesting for me to listen to the instructors - most of the time I have no idea what they're talking about, and occasionally I'll get a flash of insight like "ohhh he's been talking about my shoulder."

Q: How do you maintain a sense of privacy?   In your opinion, what’s most beautiful about the human form?
A: My sense of what is private and what isn't has changed over time.  In regards to nudity, it's become a non-issue to me. Nudity just feels like another costume!  I've performed in burlesque shows, and my clown character loves trying to take his clothes off at every opportunity he has.  I think the most beautiful things about the human form are the things we have in common.  When you see people naked, you realize we're all just the same silly primates.

Q: Are you interested in the outcome of the work?  What advice would you give to artists about capturing the delicacies and beauty of the body? 
A: Oh, yes, I like to see drawings and paintings of me progress.  Advice to artists?  Um, I like it when your work is flattering!

Q: What do you consider the breakfast of champions?  What do you/can you eat before you model? 
A: The breakfast of champions is remembering to eat!  I need to eat, drink coffee and be well rested before I model. Otherwise I am very unhappy!

Q: Finally, how does modeling fit in with your other work?—(a chance to promote yourself here)
A: Since I'm a freelance performer, modeling fits very well into my schedule, since I can accept gigs on a case-by-case basis!  I'd like to think I have a very high kinesthetic awareness from my training as a performer, and I bring that physical awareness to my modeling. 


Are you an Academy student or alumnus looking for more opportunities to work with a model?  Join us for Friday Night Modeling Sessions on April 18th, April 25th, May 2nd, May 9th and May 16th from 6:00pm-9:00pm.  You bring materials, we'll have a model set-up and ready to pose for you.  Please contact Katie Hemmer (khemmer@nyaa.edu) for more details. 

To learn more about modeling, please contact Jessica Augier (jaugier@nyaa.edu), our model coordinator.

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