In a life drawing class a few weeks ago, the model announced that she was part of a group called Spirited Bodies, and that they were on the lookout for more models and artists. The aim of SB is a "Community encouraging people to love their bodies as they are, in particular finding body confidence and inner peace via life modelling in a group", its mission to "empower people to have a positive body image, and focus more within" and it runs "Multi-Life Modelling Events where people may recast their body consciousness".
I think, and I could well be wrong about this, the target person is someone who feels that because they don't fit a Barbie/Ken sterotype there is something wrong with them and they shouldn't be seen in public, let alone with no clothes on. Those who know me would not associate me with lack of body confidence I'm sure, but I'm certainly not a standard issue action man either. Because the sessions involve lots of models I thought this was a low pressure route into life modelling, so I duly put myself forward.
Tonight, I participated in a preparatory workshop in Clapham, involving two of the organisers, 8 models and 4 artists. It was Ve-ry In-ter-esting ...
Bit of strange space (computer training room with a vaguely open area in the middle), and a tentative start, but then it settled down. Unlike a normal life class, there was lots of stopping and starting and a bit of talking. People took in turns to pose, given various directions "two minutes, convey a strong emotion" and the rest drew. Pointers of a practical nature were offered and discussed. Various small groups were formed and switched. Doodles/sketches shown at the end. Friendships formed.
So there we are, I now have nearly 20 minutes experience as a life model! Woo!
Aside from standing in one place not talking for minutes at a time, I found the idea of generating the pose the hardest work. I thought "righto I'll try THIS". It might be good, or boring, or hard to hold, and being a noob consists of a lot of trial and error, it seems. Unlike doing a presentation, once the pose is set, there's no playing around with it. If if doesn't work you just have to lump it and do different next time. It's also a bit of challenge working In The Round (I'm so used to rectangular spaces, with me up at one end). I can see why SB place emphasis on the workshops!
Having a Tai Chi background definitely helped. Not only in standing practice, but also in having a repertoire of ready dynamic poses ready to roll. The main event is later in the year, when there will be dozens of models and even more artists. More reflections to come in the fullness of time.