A day in the still life

Morgan Falconer

A lot of misconceptions surround what exactly goes on with nude models in figure drawing courses.

On a number of occasions people have expressed interest in the course to me, emphasizing their anticipation to experience the taboo of seeing a naked person in the middle of a classroom.

Little did they know, I was one of those naked people.

Some students think they are going to see some sort of racy, university-sanctioned strip show. The reality of the situation is very different.

It’s best to enter into these courses with the mindset of keeping calm and keeping things light- hearted. The model’s goal in these courses is to provide an accurate presentation of the human form in a way that makes it easy to learn and reproduce images of that form.

We are not dancing around on a stage for tips.

No one needs to get all hot and bothered by the model’s still and relaxed pose. Professors aren’t setting a trap for the students by hiring super attractive people who look fantastic naked.

We look normal.

None of us look like the bronzed and Photoshopped pictures from erotica.

Do your best to keep your sexualized ideas out of the classroom.

With that said, figure drawing course can be lots of fun. Though it is mainly quiet for the sake of con- centration, typical courses have lots of exercises that facilitate conversation. Be friends with your model. I like talking to people. Being naked in front of a room full of people is not something an introvert would do.

Make jokes, tell stories, suggest a pose. We love it. Don’t look at us like we’re dirty sinners.

The more awkward you are around us the less comfortable the environment will be for everybody. Don’t do anything to intentionally make anyone feel bad.

Rude comments about the model’s figure are never acceptable.

Just don’t be weird about a naked person in the classroom. It’s literally what you signed up for

when you registered for the class.

For anybody interested in why any student would dare expose themselves like this, keep in mind that modeling pays well for little to no physical labor- -not that modeling isn’t hard. Several times I’ve walked away bruised or sore from a more creative position designed for the advanced students. We don’t do this for the thrills.

We’re not all expositionist perverts, we just feel comfortable in our own skin.