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The Conservatoire, Blackheath, 14 June 2021

20 Jun 2021

Through the cold dark months of winter, coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown number 3 seemed tougher than the two that preceded it. There was precious little in-person life, let alone in-person life modelling. I had a couple of tries at the online version – one in March and one in April – but it wasn’t until this booking at The Conservatoire that at last, in 2021, I could once more stand in the presence of artists and do my thing.

Tutor Victoria Rance was one of the few people I’d had a chance to catch-up with as lockdown eased. We’d met outdoors a couple of times by her wonderful ‘In Real Life‘ installation at Cable Depot (I feature in her film ‘Myth‘). Now here I was, posing in the round for her and seven artists. I counted down to call the times for our opening three 1-minute poses. Next came poses of 5 and 10-minutes, give or take a few minutes…

These quick poses got us warmed-up from 7:30pm to 8pm, and would be followed by one long pose up to 10pm. When Victoria asked what I would like to do, I said I didn’t mind as long as it wasn’t a back-bend. She looked a little disappointed but I’m far too rusty to be bending backward for two hours – even with three breaks! Instead I stood symmetrically upright with hands on hips; Victoria likes me to be symmetrical.

When getting into pose I’d thought nothing of the stance in relation to my nakedness, yet I was surprised to find I felt curiously exposed and brazen when at first the artists walked round me scrutinising aspects and angles. Fleeting self-consciousness aside, it was a physically-undemanding, painless position. The only challenge on this humid evening was to keep my palms from slipping slowly down the ledge of my pelvis.

During the deepest darkest hours of lockdown I couldn’t help but wonder whether my modelling days were over. There was no existential crisis, just uncertainty as to what kind of figurative art scene might emerge. If the rise of online life drawing had fuelled appetites solely for young sexy flesh, there may be no place for physiques outside of mainstream body ideals. Happily we’re not there yet. It’s good to be back.

From → Art

One Comment
  1. boykog permalink

    A promising come back! It must quicky become a norm. You feel like been first on the North Pole, eh?

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