Yoni by Balm in Gilead Photography, Retouching by Christa Maier
'Once there and changing out of my clothes and into my rob I thought what the hell am I doing, who does this?'
One of the highlights of 2015 on FH was being able to feature model Yoni Baker in a series of pieces featuring his work with YogaBear Studio. (Check the out HERE:) With is incredible physique and both elegant and powerful poses, Yoni was perfect illustration of all we imagine and dream about when contemplating the perfect embodiment of a Classic Greek God. Yoni not only possess the strength and athleticism, but also the spirit. There is timeless quality about Yoni, most notable in his eyes, that make's it easy to feel he just stepped out of History or Greek Mythology book.
Since first posting about Yoni's work, I have been enjoying following him on Facebook and Instagram. Although Yoni shares tons of modeling images, I especially love when he shares the process piece of his work. As an art model, Yoni frequently works modeling for artists and classes and in addition to sharing some of the finished pieces, shares the journey to their creation. Earlier in the spring, Yoni began posting images for a new project, an 8 week sculpting class for LCAD. (Laguna College of Art and Design)
I got in contact with Yoni about a story about the project. The length of time meant you weren't just posing naked in front of a group of strangers, but people you would be seeing for long hours on a weekly basis. The degree of intimacy and relationship between model and students is altered, especially given Yoni shares that each class period were six hours long. Yoni generously shared some of the details, as well as some process shot, from the 8 weeks. But... before staring with Yoni's current project, I was curious if he could share a little about the very first time he dropped his robe for a room full of artists.
'I had been emailing and calling all over town for a chance at a first gig. I finally received a call from Jesse in Costa Mesa. Location 1980 . I was truly excited at first, but as the day crept closer I became a bit more nervous. My partner Kim was at work and I had begun to get what I thought was antacid... I went downstairs and drank some milk to calm the stomach. However this didn't work very well and things got worse. There was a pressing pain in my chest and I swore my left arm went numb! As I stood there having my "heart attack" I wondered who I should call to say my farewells (I know a bit dramatic) but decided to call Kim . She said relax its just an anxiety attack! As those words traveled the line to my ear the pain subsided. Congratulations my first real anxiety attack lol'
'I had about an 1.5 hrs in the car to get to the gig in that time I calmed down quite a bit. Once there and changing out of my clothes and into my rob I thought what the hell am I doing, who does this?? haha but as soon as the robe came off the first time all that disappeared and now it was all about what I could create on stage. From the very start, it was never anything sexual and I ever had any incidents . Everyone was very professional and it became about the art and the artist, and what they could learn from my posing and my body anatomy.'
Speaking of what they could learn, in addition to studying the details of Yoni's anatomy, the California model also demonstrates the art of the pose. With an extensive background in art and its many different forms, Yoni has put together a artistic anatomy pose book, Heracles. In the collection of images, Yoni brings forth a study and narrative of the classic male musculature. The three images at the top of this piece are from Yoni's book and you can see more on Yoni's site HERE: or check out the book on Amazon HERE:
'For the 8 week class, instructor Brittany Ryan would go over class material, and as the sculpture progressed, she would go over specific anatomy (relating to that day) Brittany would help make the armature for all the students and we would discuss pose options with the class. In this case we rigged up an elbow support to make it more dynamic. Students rotate with the sculpture stands every 5 minutes as it is always important to focus on the figure as a whole and not get to fixated on one spot, especially when its in the beginning stages and they are blocking things in. Since they rotate that gives me a chance to "break the pose" and move. As with most model sessions they are broken up into 20-25 minute sessions with a 5-8 minute break. However the way I was able to break helped me put more energy into the pose. (As time goes things tend to start hurting such as the hip, feet etc)'
'There are few models with my build. With that, the students get a chance for an anatomy lesson and create a sculpture in 5-8 weeks. I sculpt a bit myself, so its always great to be in that environment. Its always a physical and mental challenge to stay in the pose especially late into the night. I'm always hungry and am eating all the time lol, so I pack a big lunch in Tupperware to fit into an over the shoulder soft cooler. With all the food I also make sure and drink lots of water and stay hydrated. Being a model is a physical job but I also need good music and in my case the ability to be a chatter box with some of the students. (Over time we develop relationships especially if I model for them a lot) I feel in my case things ride on the models ability to interact.'
'It's a very fulfilling "job" and I get to interact with creative people who for the most part want to be there. I can help them on there journey to becoming a better artist. animator. illustrator etc . This is not for everyone, but I am all about pushing the artist, and joining the instructor in the lesson plans.'