Nude Art Modeling: I Take Off My Clothes for Money

• September 20, 2007 • Comments (3)

nude art modeling1 Nude Art Modeling: I Take Off My Clothes for MoneyMy nipples are standing to attention, because it’s freezing. My feet are turning a plummy purple, and while 5 minutes ago I could still wiggle them and get that itchy-ootchy pins and needles sensation, at this point, I can no longer move them. I can’t even turn my head to look at them, because my gaze is fixed on a long crack of light coming in between the window and the shade. My muscles, twisted into some sort of flying eagle yoga pose, have long since surrendered. The strains of Beck‘s Sea Change are dragging out of the radio.

I am completely naked. And 15 total strangers are studying every inch of my exposed skin by the gray daylight streaming through the window.

Just when I think I can’t stand it anymore and if I don’t move my feet they’ll fall off, I realize I have no choice but to stay. If I move, I’m doomed. Worse than that, I’m bad at my job. And it’s my first day.

When the buzzer finally goes off, I use my hands to pick up my legs and rearrange them in front of me. I rub my feet back to fleshtone, and then I pick up my wrap, tuck it around myself a la Ariel on the beach in The Little Mermaid, and slip off the raised platform, back into my dressing room.

Hi. I’m the artist’s model. I take my clothes off for $15 an hour.

Modigiliani Seated Nude Nude Art Modeling: I Take Off My Clothes for MoneyYou may remember me from Modigliani’s “Seated Nude” or Goya’s “Nude Maja”. I even made some appearances in Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase” but perhaps you wouldn’t recognize me there. It’s fascinating how no one ever gets tired of drawing pictures of naked women. I think they just like boobs.

I mean, who doesn’t?

You’ve strolled the hallways of dozens of museums and admired hundreds of Master’s renditions of boobs. Boobs in different lighting, boobs with different emotional quality, pointillist, cubist, stark postmodern boobs. And you’ve never once thought of the shivering girl with an aching back standing still on a platform for hours while the Master mixed his oils.

They say art is pain. Believe me, it’s cold too.

But it’s meditative, calm work, and highly preferable to, say, being in a cubicle surrounded by blinking computer screens. Instead, you are played nice music, warmed with tea, and placed on a lit platform to strike whatever pose you fancy for 1 to 20 minutes at a time. In that sense,YOU are the artist here. As a bonus, you are surrounded by people who care about art, and while you are more often introduced as “the model” then as “Individual with a Name,” you are – if you’re into this sort of thing – being admired by dozens. The pay is decent, the hours are flexible, and while you may go a little numb, isn’t there something zen about that?

You, too, can be an art model. They don’t care if you’re lumpy, saggy, skinny or hairy. All you have to do is

1. Call up a local art school or figure drawing class.

2. Tell them you have loads of experience modeling for private artists.

3. Show up, take your clothes off and-

4. Stand really, really still.

Oh, and-

5. Don’t take it too personally.

art model 300x218 Nude Art Modeling: I Take Off My Clothes for MoneyAfter class, with my clothes back on, I make my way around the room and check out various sketches. Yikes. I didn’t know I was shaped so similarly to a sack of potatoes. Or that my legs were so short compared to my torso. Then I glance over the Master of each work. Wait, he’s the one shaped like a sack of potatoes. And her legs are quite short compared to her torso. Hm.

One of the art students hits on me after class. I’ve been told to expect this. He invites me to play pinball or go bowling or something. I laugh and say no, but I do tell him my name. He’s already seen me naked. Somehow I feel like things are going backwards. He asks me if I’ve done this a lot. Actually, no, I say. Are you serious? he asks. You just got naked in front of a room full of people, and you’ve never done this before? I shrug, nod. Girl, you’re crazy, he says. But I’m just the most recent one in a long line of artist models, and they can’t have all been crazy.

Well, I’m in good company, anyway.

Tags: modeling, nudes

Category: Opinion

About the Author

Victoria will write anything, anywhere, anytime, which does not make her some kind of language prostitute, but more of a lover, since she rarely gets paid. She is a poet (slam and mute), singer, songwriter, guitarist, flamenco/modern/belly dancer, teacher, novelist, essayist, sunset connoisseur, and a deep lover of life. She has a BA in writing, literature and dance from Bard College (NY). After a year and a half of travel, she is newly based in Seattle, and she is getting pretty darn good at cooking tofu.

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Comments (3)

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  1. I remember the life-modelling classes at college, but I don’t remember any female models – they were all male. Maybe it had something to do with my three male tutors all being into members of the same gender! ;)

    I remember one model… Poor guy. He got stuck facing the most attractive girl in the class, and he was butt-naked. I won’t go into too much detail, but let’s just say that he got a little excited about the situation. Let us also say that he may have needed a tissue shortly after dismounting from the podium on which he was seated. I’m sure it was that class that put me off following the path of pure art!

    Thanks for making me smile. :)

  2. dave melville says:

    having modeled for couple of classes in nz i have found that standing still is the hardest thing to do once you get over your initial nerves about being the only naked person in the room .I was paid $40 for my 2 hours work and received a nice compliment from two women who both said it was nice to see a naked man as a model for a change as most life models a women .I have found from experience that with standing poses it pays to adopt an easy to hold stance as muscles can ache if you try and hold a difficult pose for long periords . I would like to do more modeling for classes but here in auckland nz there are n’t many jobs [art]on offer . I had a peek at the various drawings durring a break in the class and it is interesting to see another persons perception of art a nd i was amused by a young asian womens drawing of me that was VERYgood but was missing a certain part of my body as she seemed to shy to include it still thats art regards dave

  3. edo deweert says:

    there is no justification for models to be in excruciating pain and discomfort….no drawing is worth that.
    poses should last no longer than 25 min at a time – shorter if the pose is more complex.
    the room’s temp. should be at the model’s comfort level, or space heaters should be provided.
    models should get paid at different rates, depending on experience and level of quality.
    for my experiences and observations as a naked (male) model, visit my blog at
    http://www.themodelundraped.blogspot.com

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