Tidbits; Nudity For Art’s Sake, An Informal Adventure
I’ve done a lot of things in my life, all because I wanted to!
My choice of schooling, occupations, travel, they way I look and dress, surgeries, cosmetic procedures, basically everything, to be, me. However along the way a few things I found challenging aside from my honesty, were my early days of nude modelling. No I am not talking sex related or other, but for art’s sake, things like photography, life drawing , sculpture class, and character design for video games.
Coming back from SRS in England didn’t mean that I was ready to simply dive right in. It took time, a lot of time, and for those that know me, it was easier to hide behind the fetish clothes and slink out into the night of the local club scene all sexed up.
Revealing one’s body doesn’t happen just like that, especially if you didn’t have the kind of upbringing that taught you good physical self love and acceptance. Granted the household of my youth had parents running round in the nude and using the toilet with the door wide open. To much information, yes I know, but that’s the way it was where I grew up.
On another note let me remind you that because I am a woman that happens to be transsexual, doesn’t mean that my inhibitions went out the door with the rest of the junk after surgery. I also understand that what many tend to believe is that a transsexual’s body is public domain, for all to see, well guess again folks, it’s not!
Good self body image for most in my community doesn’t come over night, we aren’t creatures from another planet, we’re human beings and have some of the same insecurities and body image problems just like anyone else on the planet. Showing yourself off takes confidence and in many cases lots of it! Yes I spend a lot of time at the gym, more than I care to admit, and I love the way I look, now, but it wasn’t always that way, it took time, perseverance and a serious amount of discipline to do so. Realistically, being in search of your own perfection doesn’t mean we actually achieve it, I believe it’s a labour of love that we endure the rest of our lives.
Incorporate the labour of my trips to the gym, a lifestyle diet, cosmetic maintenance regimes, and a healthy, happy attitude, and you could say my foundation was built, or somewhat, I lacked the confidence for good self body image, just wasn’t there.
Here in Vancouver we have what we call Wreck Beach, a clothing optional beach, a very free and beautiful environment, governed and patrolled by it’s own on the lookout for any unsavoury behaviour. It took me 15 years before I would venture down there, and that was 7 years ago, feeling nervous, scared, totally out of place, and in fear of being”read”, outed as a transsexual. For the first year I didn’t go without my bikini bottoms, very St. Tropez. It wasn’t till the second year of climbing down the steps at path 6 that I developed the courage to free my bikini bottoms from the grip of my pelvic region. Maybe it was the booze or party favours I had consumed but the feelings of liberation didn’t begin to describe it, elation, I was truly free, and it felt great! No one knew, or could tell, and for those that did, they had enough respect to congratulate me and show me the love, lots of love. Let’s just say I got a lot of action that summer!
Little did I know I would start the ball rolling, and roll it did!
Requests began to flow my way to be a model for various art forms and although I didn’t know what to expect when I went to these modelling gigs, I went willingly. Yes, I did my homework on who these people were, yes I checked with the schools they purported to be from, yes I looked online, yes I made calls, yes I checked if they were paying gigs, and yes I even brought along a chaperone or companion; if I wasn’t allowed that, there was no way. Once I got to know who these people were and they checked out, I was good to go on my own. Yes there are numerous websites out there to sign up on as a model, but you’ll quickly be able to tell who is legit and who is not. Ask for a business card, a portfolio, references, where they work, if your not comfortable ask if a companion can come, and if they are paying. Money always weeds out the losers, especially when it comes to nude modelling for art. The creeps exist, and I’ve met my fair share, so take my advice here and be wary, they prey on the naive.
Here’s a little descriptive on the types of nude art modelling I’ve done ;
Photography; generally involves less people, the photographer, photographer’s assistant (if there is one), make-up artist (if there is one), and stylist (if there is one). A much smaller grouping with scripted posing, by that I mean you are generally posed and lit to perfection to get the best shot. Very different from fashion photography where the model is usually expected to put some effort into it through posing and eye contact. A good photographer usually bounces around the set to get the best shot, working with the model and the rest of the gang to get it absolutely right. Laying there posed means holding a pose for a long period while the lighting is adjusted for shadow, line, tone, texture, and to be honest can be very exhausting.
Life drawing; involves a group of folks drawing a model in various poses for periods of time from 30 seconds and up. I posed for 45 minutes for one class before I realized, that was a pose I should have been laying down to do because by the time it was done, needless to say I was seriously fatigued and aching. These is no places for hiding any physical imperfections, they are on full display, trust me. I am always delighted to learn when the one we all thought had to skip out to the loo, had to because he was concealing an erection from being ever so slightly aroused! Poor thing.
Sculpture classes are exactly the same only the medium they are working from is different.
Video game character design; involved life drawing and body mapping. The body mapping involved taking a multitude of points from the body and mapping them into the computer to create the body to be altered and dressed for a character. Different now as the computer creates what you want from the designer’s co-ordinates they enter.
Classroom dynamics are always different when working with new groups, and the nervousness fades fairly fast, replaced with concentration for holding a pose. You won’t just be posing for the young either, but most definitely the young at heart, and all for different types of classes and classroom settings!
It quickly becomes quite clear just how serious it is as a form of work, self expression and validation, and something I highly recommend those brave enough to do so, do.