'Being nude in front of one person isn't too daunting, the reality of being nude in front of a dozen or more was a different proposition.' Skyclad Modeling
Since beginning FH, I have been fascinated by models who have the balls to pose in a room full of artists. I have written about the subject many times, (Disrobed) and love to explore it whenever I feature a model who posed for an drawing, painting or sculpture class. I think the fascination with art class modeling comes down to the level of vulnerability and control. Not everyone is willing nor able to relinquish control.
I remember streaking with three of my friends late one night when in my first year at University. It was nerve racking but also an adrenaline rush. I had the comfort of not being alone, there were three other bodies to distract attention. I could also cover myself with my hands if I felt too vulnerable, and the run across the science center's front lawn, although it seemed much longer, took about 20 seconds. I can't imagine if I had to stop mid run, stand still for hours with my hands off my crotch for all to view and judge.
I think it's that judging that causes many to keep their pants on. When modeling nude for one person, there is of course a level of vulnerability, but you usually have the ability to keep your eyes on the person who's eyes are on you. The person is also most likely an artist or photographer who chose you for a subject, hopefully meaning, they like what they see.
When in front of a classroom full of artists, it is impossible to fully view all the views coming your way. For some, this experience would be worse than death, for others, it provides that same rush I felt running across the grass.
Writing about model Yoni Baker and his experience posing for six hours at a time, fully naked for a sculpting project, had me thinking about the many images of art class models I had saved over the last few years, looking for an opportunity to use on the site. I thought today was a perfect day to use them. If any FH readers have ever posed in front of an art class, or ever been an artist in a class with a nude model, shoot me an e-mail, love to hear, and maybe share, your story. If you want to check out more images like this, I add some extra shots on THE OVER-FLOW HERE:
When it comes to art models, if there's a naked body in the image, it usually draws focus. When it comes to vintage shots of art models however, my interest was with the artists. As many stories as a naked body can tell, a clothed one can often tell more.
It is fascinating to see how well dressed the art class attendees were in days gone past. Jackets and vests, dresses with full collars. I imagine these classes were the social event of the week requiring artists to wear their finest outfit to draw, paint or sculpt someone in no outfit at all.
The naked human body has been in the inspiration for art going back to early Greek and Roman sculpture. There was a decline during the dark ages when artists were threatened with death for partaking in what were at those time, devil painting parties.
Thankfully, Renaissance artists brought it back, creating many of the classic nudes we still study today. There was another dip during the puritan period, but in most parts of the world, (still slow to change in the US), the naked human body is at the core of many art forms.
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.'