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The naked and the nude

A portrait of a lady - well, three and one guy - who model for art classes

Published: Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Updated: Thursday, September 4, 2008 11:09



USF doesn't mind if students take their clothes off for money on campus - in fact, the University even pays for it.

But these students don't strip or make porn. Instead, they're what are called figure models - nude models whom expert and aspiring artists have portrayed in the Western world since Classical Greece to perfect their craft.

Marrissa Kaczmarek is one of these students.

The former USF student, called 'Kaz' by her friends, now models for art classes at the University of Central Florida, where she's a junior majoring in studio art. She used to model on campus when she attended USF.

Kaczmarek, along with six or seven other figure models at UCF, and about 10 models at USF, said she fills a continual need in the art community - the need for people to pose and be painted, sketched and sculpted in the buff, so aspiring artists can learn how the human body is put together. The thought is that, with enough understanding of how they're put together, these artists will eventually be able to paint, sketch, draw and sculpt bodies - be they nude or clothed - and other forms.

As traditional as figure models' presence in college and professional art classes may be, some models said they occasionally confront misconceptions about figure modeling - such as the idea that nudity is pornographic.

Overall, though, several figure models interviewed by the Oracle said they love their work, as they feel it helps young artists develop skill and foster an aesthetic ideal - the appreciation of human beauty.

Figure models in this area make $12 to $20 an hour. Of course, the same question comes up about figure modeling as with other high-demand, high-paying jobs that involve nudity: How do you get into it?

Kaczmarek, who said she thinks figure modeling is an ideal part-time job for college students -"(you) take breaks whenever you want"- got into it while studying art at USF.

She heard the art department was looking for figure models and gave it a try because, "one, I needed a part time job, and two, because the pay is actually pretty good."

Kaczmarek said she had always been "accepting of the human body," and wasn't nervous the first time she modeled for a class.

After modeling on campus, a friend told her about a listing of figure models used by other schools and groups of artists, which got her higher-paying, private gigs.

Whereas university classes pay around $12-$15 per hour for newer models and $16-$18 per hour for more experienced ones, Kaczmarek said, private classes pay around $20. USF pays $12 per hour for figure models.

"Getting into it isn't particularly hard," she said. "You just kind of want to do it."

Her parents weren't thrilled with the news.

"They were not very accepting of any of the nude forms in art or any in real life," she said.

But the idea eventually grew on them. Well, a little, at least.

"It's not like pornography in any way, you know," she said. "It's art - it's beauty - it's real."

So figure modeling is easy to get into, according to Kaczmarek. But, when they get to a session, what do models do, how do they prepare and what exactly goes on in the room?

Ryann Slauson, a fine arts major focusing on sculpture who also works as a figure model, said she sits for one three-hour session per week. She gets to her appointments early, so she can feel comfortable in the room.

There's usually a room where she changes out of her clothes and into a robe before the session.

And there's usually music, and people bring in mixes they think she'll enjoy.

For both drawing and painting, Slauson said, a session will start off with what are called "gestures" - quick poses lasting anywhere from ten seconds to a minute that get students' hands warmed up and used to drawing for the session.

The length of the poses gradually increases - from five or 10 minutes to a half-hour, depending on the teacher.

Once, Slauson said, she did a 15-hour pose spanning three weeks: three hours per class for five classes.

"It was also really fun for me to see the outcome of the paintings," she said.

Kaczmarek also gets to sessions early, and brings a pillow and blanket to use for her poses.

Sometimes art teachers provide blankets to pose upon, but she prefers using her own. She also has a warm robe, which she thinks is very important.

"It's really all about staying warm," she said.

Ginger's modeling story lacks spice, but has a rich aesthetic flavor Ditto the bare-bones parts of the how-I-became-a-figure-model story for Ginger MacConnell.

This 47-year-old studio art undergrad focusing in sculpture was studying drawing at St. Petersburg College's Clearwater campus when she told her professor, John Grass, that she wanted to give figure modeling a go.

"I said to him: 'I've always wanted to do that. I've always wanted to pose nude.'"

Grass told her that prospective models were put on a list and generally given work immediately.

MacConnell, a believer in reincarnation, said she thinks her interest in nude modeling stems from a spiritual connection to past lives.

"I just think there's so many souls and we recycle them," she said. "Perhaps I was a figure model in another life. Perhaps my paths crossed that way."

For MacConnell, being a figure model also allowed her to see the way her body changed - and in a way she wasn't particularly happy with.

"I really could see the weight that I had gained, so that was one more motivator for me to lose weight," said MacConnell, who attributed her weight gain to time spent in a wheelchair.

Slauson fell into figure modeling in much the same way: She saw a flier advertising positions and decided to apply.

Unlike Kaczmarek and MacConnell, however, Slauson said she was nervous during her first modeling session, but that the support of those around her made it work - and now she'd like to do more modeling, even off campus.

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Justins Cousin
Wed Oct 28 2009 07:07
JUSTIN : Your writing skills bring out your inner most thoughts ..........this is just another of your WONDERFUL stories.

The Oracle would be nothing without you

Sat Oct 24 2009 12:40
I'll pose for free!! Just the thought of walking nude in front of other people turns me on ;-)
Mon Sep 21 2009 21:22
This is a really fun way to make money! Are they recruiting?
Your name
Wed Aug 26 2009 23:28
I wanna sign up too! It would be awesome if someone could tell how to do that.
Wed Aug 5 2009 17:53
Can I really get money on campus for posing naked for artists to paint me?! That would be seriously an awesome job, I have no problem being naked and I like money. I live next to campus and don't have a license, so a job on campus getting paid like that would be awesome. How do I sign up to do this?
Tue Mar 10 2009 02:54
Dear Brothers in humanity , I love you all and God bless you all without exception . Peace may prevail on our planet so that everybody will live happily .
Nudity for the sake of learning fine art
This topic is very interesting because it is unique . It is exhibiting contours of human body and outline . Our eyes definitely do enjoy the figure of the woman close to us . This will create a warm feeling of enjoying both the scene and the sketching and drawing the naked woman . This naturalism provides unlimited good
understanding between our urge to draw and the bestowal of such gift in front of our sight . If our conscience react positively or negatively towards this sort of exhibitionism , it will be natural because to see something like that in public is somehow rare , in spite of the fact we see many on the sea shores and in the swimming pools . I feel while I am drawing the body ,if it is so beautiful , that I am actually gazing on so many places of that shape , we do like to enjoy our eyes . We , the art students , keep on drawing , and everybody has in mind something to focus on regarding the parts of the cute human being . But what I like to draw your attention to , is the lady herself , what she feels ,and what is there in her imagination , watching for a long time exhibiting her breasts , buttocks and thighs . There are many types of trends in the same room or on the campus by each and every student who is interested in fine art . We are in fact human beings . We have the tendency and drive towards sex and this inclination may lead us to something else , that we will not be able to attain the exact purpose of our art study . To see a nude lady in front of your eyes is not happening occasionally . But I am sure that there are people who are sincere in their study and do not have that erotic feeling .
I do love fine art from the angle of admiring the nature and not the ill-feeling . I have to react when I see something strange whether a human or in nature . The beauty for an art student , is being seen everywhere , even in a wrecked hut or shanty . You might have read about the famous movie which snatched eight Oscar prizes ,being pictured in the slums of Mumbai . It is Slumdog Millionaire . You may see something beautiful in your imagination but heart breaking to others . Everybody may have something unusual in his background education and during the childhood nursing , which have impact on his behavior during growing up .
My thanks and love
A citizen from Bethlehem , Palestine
No peace in Palestine , Israelis are over our heads , besieging , killing , arresting , humiliating , jailing 12000 Palestinians , depriving us from freedom and the normal life . We are still under the occupation of Israeli army . All countries got Independence except Palestine . World community is not helping . For how long the Israelis continue to rule us . 61 years already passed . Palestinians are very intelligent and well educated and they are masters in every field . The west is unjust and siding only the 250 atomic bombs' Israel . We are not allowed to see our dears , mothers fathers , our houses . We are in the Diaspora and in the wilderness looking for justice from the world , the big powers . We want our freedom which we are missing since 61 years . We want Israeli army and settlers to leave our country , once and forever . They are hurting our dignity . They are destroying everything : our houses , trees , infrastructure , houses of worships , factories etc .
Sun Feb 1 2009 18:29
I'm 61 and currently working at the local art center as a female nude model. I've never done this before, so I did a lot of research on poses. What helped me the most was being physically fit. I'm also 5'81/2 and 126. I'd done ballet when I was younger.
I employed some very creative poses; thinking all the time of the next pose during the pose being held. At the end of almost 3 hours, I'd had great fun; I was, at first, scared, but envisioned everyone naked! I've been asked back, and look forward to it. It's a great incentive and motivator to keep fit.
I'm also an exhibiting artist and photographer at the art center.
edo deweert
Tue Oct 21 2008 15:05
jonathan: your reference to "the graceful curve of your neck" is loaded with sensuous, erotic inuendo, as is your refernce to "developing your favorite model"
to continue maintaining that there is no sexual/erotic quality to the act of naked modeling, or the rendering of the naked human figure is dishonest and absurd.
Sean Kelly
Mon Oct 20 2008 18:44
this article reminds me of why i need to go back to the gym
Mon Oct 20 2008 10:30
Nude modeling is only a big deal if you are not an Art Major or have never taken an Art class. If anyone has taken an art class or a life drawing class, then you'll quickly realize that "it's just a naked person" and that's about it. You get used to it VERY quickly. After a while you'll develop your own favorite models. One model may just be that much more interesting to draw, another may always have her hair up so you can draw/paint the graceful curve of your neck. Them being nude is almost secondary. These people do a great service to developing students and artists. It is a fallacy and an injustice to associate what they do with pornography. Very good article indeed!
edo deweert
Sun Oct 12 2008 17:42
for observations, comments, ideas, reactions from a male fine art model who has extensively modeled for hgundreds of art students in 8 institutions and over one hundred art instructors ( and who is being asked back time and again despite this blog) visit www.
Scott Antonio
Tue Sep 30 2008 21:51
An error I made was to assume that as a beginner posing for a student project would be easier than for a class full of people. It turned out to be chaos.
The classroom the student and her classmate reserved turned into grand central station with people either looking for a lunchroom or stopping by to ask directions, including one lady with with two daughters.
It's not that I harbor some idea the nude male body is inherently unwholesome, I just found it very very uncomfortable.
Clearly a standard classroom setting is far bette.
Jamesha Walker
Thu Sep 11 2008 03:08
This article couldn't have come at a BETTER time!

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