This weekend, arts columnist Leah Greenbaum writes about her brief stint as a nude model for the Columbia Artist Society. Whether you're interested in making a quick $30 or arranging a special artsy surprise for your Sig O on Valentine's Day, Leah offers up some recently-learned tricks of the trade.
Get comfortable: Check your naked self out in the mirror before you even think about taking it all off for a bunch of strangers. It’s surprising how unnatural our bare bodies can look to us when we spend so much time clothed. After studying and drawing my own features, I realized I’m no porn star but I do think my body is fascinating and beautiful and as worthy of great art as my poorly-endowed friend from Art Hum.
Bring a towel and flip flops: I should’ve known about this towel thing from David Sedaris’ essay in Naked, but alas... instead I sat my bare butt down on the pristine white sheet that the nice Artist Society people had laid out. That just felt rude. If you’re going to Dodge 501 don’t walk around barefoot. It’s a sketching studio covered in charcoal dust. That lovely white sheet was covered in black footprints in about two minutes.
Bring a robe or sundress: For some reason it feels super awkward to just wander around the room naked when no one’s drawing you.
Find a way to stay really, really, really still: I knew I’d have to stay still to do this, but I didn’t quite realize how still. For my first long 40-minute pose, I put all my weight on one arm. That wasn’t a good move. My arm was dead, as was the leg I had crossed, and I was fidgeting like a kindergartener on juice seven minutes in. Find a position where you can lock your core muscles in place for a long time. If you’re like me and hate waiting in lines and constantly shift your weight from foot to foot, you may not have great professional prospects in the artist modeling industry.
Snooze: The Artist Society doesn’t mind and it sure beats locking eyes with the person judging your pubic hair.