Wednesday, May 10, 2006

1 The First Session..........in a Beach Hut!


As mentioned previously on this blog, we were undertaking four life drawing sessions, three in Devon, and one in Hebden Bridge. The idea of these sessions was to investigate space within a life drawing context. Although we had no specific questions before the sessions took place, we decided to respond to the sessions by asking male/female questions of each other in response to how we felt after the drawing sessions. These questions, and the subsequent answers, are as follows;

Questions from male model to female model;

Q: Did you feel more intimate/close/any different to any other modelling session?
A: At first the most noticeable difference was my awareness of the outside world. Although I've noticed the ‘outside’ in other sessions, I have been closed in, in a substantial building and therfore unable to hear outide noises. In this session I was aware of children and parents chatting and could feel a sea breeze. I wonder what effect that had on my modelling? I think I was less adventurous due to confined space and the artist being so close.


Q: Did you feel a need to talk?
A: At first I did, to try and get the artist to answer questions specifically about this project. But then, I slowly relaxed into my ‘usual’ modelling state which is often one of quiet, and a slightly meditative feel.

Q: Did you feel comfortable?
A: After the initial moments – yes. Getting undressed in the shed with the artist there was a bit weird. I noticed the artist clear his throat suggesting he was a little nervous, which he later said he was. Anyway, that made me feel nervous too and started to raise questions such as, ‘Is it ok to be this close to an artist?’ Am I putting him in an awkward position? I believe I was because I didn’t agree with him first that it would be ok to get undressed in the hut. I instigated it. I had the balance of power.
Children - As already mentioned, I was aware of children outside. The only thing between my nakedness and them was a piece of white muslin. Although I beleive nakedness in itself is very innocen, when we're naked in a public place all sorts of other questions arise. Might I be exposing myself? Am I being indecent. As a result I noticed I was very careful about the way I moved the curtain to let artists in and out.

Q: Did you feel the artist was comfortable, and if not, did it affect your attitude?
A: At first I was acutely aware that the artist was nervous. I didn’t feel particularly nervous but did feel slightly awkward. ‘Should this be happening?’ ‘Am I being perverse?’

Q: Did you feel vulnerable?
A: I felt vulnerable in that I was naked but from that vulnerability came a sense of freedom and personal power so interestingly my vulnerability lead to my power.

Q: Do you feel age has a bearing on a feeling of vulnerability?
A: I don’t know.

Q: Did knowing the artist, or not, make any difference to the way you behaved?
A: I think it probably did. Had I known the artist, I would mostlikely have felt the same, but there would have been more laughter at the absurdity of it all.

Q: Did you feel the session enhanced or detracted from the artists work?
A: I’m not sure. I certainly observed the first artist make more blobs on the page rather than an observed drawing and I think this came directly from his own nervousness.

Q: Did having a male artist make you feel any different to having a female one?
A: Yes, I think if I'm honest sometimes issues of sex and nudity arise when any man draws me one on one. I think the same thing would happen if a lesbian was drawing me one on one. This would be an interesting exploration. Questions like – Do they fancy me? Are they attracted to me? etc. However, I noticed one artist in a later session said I had a wonderful face to draw and she was female and I felt that same ‘lift of spirit’ feeling. So in that I think I like to be appreciated.

Q: Did getting undressed in the hut make you feel comfortable or not?
A: No I felt awkward because I hadn’t discussed it with the artist so in that sense I felt like I exerted my will over his. In many ways I feel more awkward answering these questions than I did modelling in case I shine a light on something I’m not comfortable with.

Questions from female model to male model;

Q: How did modelling in a beach hut differ from modelling in a “normal” situation?
A: As I was in control, i.e. running the event, it made no difference

Q: How would it have differed if the door had been shut?
A: If there had been other people outside, I don’t think it would have made any difference. If there were no other people outside, then the situation would have been interesting

Q: Were you conscious of people outside? If so did that affect the experience?
A: Yes, this then made the experience like any other.

Q: Did you feel closer to the artist or further away, both in proximity and relationship?
A: Neither

Q: Were you aware that the artists felt any different – to usual life drawing settings?
A: Not really.

Q: Did you feel powerful or powerless as the model?
A: More powerful, as there was no tutor.

Q: Has this raised any questions about experimental life drawing – if so, what?
A: As the leader of a life drawing session, an artist will tend to accept the rules as laid down, or hinted at. This then allows questions to be asked in an experimental context.

Q: Do you think the gender of artist/model affected the experience – if so how?
A: No.

Q: Was it a comfortable/uncomfortable experience?
A: Very comfortable.

Q: Were you aware of any issues of voyeurism – if so what?
A: No.

Q: Did the shed directly affect your experience – i.e. being a wooden hut?
A: By the time the event happened the idea of a shed was so well established that any affects, had there been any, would have been accepted as normal.

Q: Were you aware of the beach outside – if so did it affect anything?
A: Yes, very. It was very soothing.

Q: What could the smallest/largest life drawing venue be?
A: The limits would only be the room and vision to be able to see/move.

Q: If the beach hut was lifted up by a crane while the modelling was taking place, would that affect you?
A: Doubtful.

Q: What further questions has the beach hut event raised?
A: How would it work if the model could not see the artist?

Q: What would you like to explore further?
A: Whether body decoration would be acceptable, and/or encourage voyeurism.

Q: Do you think limiting the space affects the model in any way?
A: No.

Q: How would you do the process, if you had to repeat it?
A: Ensure the model was not known to the artist, and visa versa.

Q: What possibilities arise for modelling in the future – directly related to this experience?
A: Any further expansion of the concept of shed drawing would need to be sufficiently different to instil interest a second time around.

Q: Did you feel you were confined/freer/aware/unaware in the situation?
A: No different.

2 Comments:

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