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Diorama Arts Centre, London, 13 March 2017

16 Mar 2017

I entered Diorama Arts Centre and asked at reception for City Academy life drawing in the Apache room. Instead I was pointed to the Kodo room: “up the stairs, just follow the signs“. In that large bare white space, I found some orange chairs stacked around the walls, a few lamps on black poles, and our art tutor for the evening, Doris A. Day. He explained that this was the last session of a 5-week course so four poses of 20 to 30-minutes each would be ideal.

While Doris disappeared to fetch art materials, another tutor entered and borrowed all the lamps that weren’t chained to the wall. Artists started to arrive and organise their plastic chairs in a broad semi-circle facing my trusty white sheet, which I’d placed on the cold hard floor. In total, there would be nine drawing me. When Doris returned, he asked me to begin with a standing pose; I balanced on my right leg, held my left foot, and reached up to a ceiling sprinkler pipe.

I felt physically stable yet mentally wobbly in that first pose – possibly the result of a four-hour flight the day before. Doris called time after 25-minutes, then taped the nine drawings to a wall for our collective view. Next he asked for a 30-minute seated pose, so I settled down with my limbs knotted but comfortable. After a lengthy break for the purchase of hairspray, with which to fix charcoals, there was time for only one further 30-minute pose. I decided to stand again, one arm raised, the other out sideways.

There was little atmosphere in the room, although the artists were amiable with each other and clearly held Doris in high regard. I warmed to him too in an otherwise chilly space, but cannot say the same for City Academy. I’d made the mistake of agreeing this booking before knowing the hourly rate, and was shocked to find it the lowest I’d encountered anywhere in 5 years of modelling. I certainly wouldn’t return unless they pay a fair rate – I ask all life models to boycott them for the sake of the profession!

Update – 21 December 2017

Following this booking, I heard no more from City Academy until November 2017, at which time I was offered a corporate booking at a substantially improved rate. I accepted, and the whole process was handled by City Academy with impeccable professionalism from start to finish.

From → Art

One Comment
  1. boykog permalink

    Surely you made a mistake not asking for the fees Steve, but as professionals we do believe the other side would act in similar fashion and reward us promptly. Never modelled for this group before, thank you for sharing.
    Hope more people would read your blog and make themselves unavailable under the conditions.

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