It was an experience that I will not soon forget, but it was also something that is challenging to put into words.
This semester I volunteered to be a model for the life drawing class at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. It has been something I have talked about doing for almost a year now and I finally followed through.
So, what does being a life drawing model entail? Well, you go into the studio, get completely undressed, and pose in front of a group of around 15 people while completely naked.
Before questioning my decision to do something like this, let me attempt to explain the experience as best I can and provide the reasoning behind my decision. Maybe I can convince others to try it for themselves.
In order to volunteer, I first contacted the life drawing professor Mark Brueggeman. I simply emailed him, set up a time, and showed up for the session.
I walked into the studio into a back area away from the class. I stripped down, waited for Mark to set up the class, and then walked out and got ready to pose.
Instead of doing a solo session, another model was there posing alongside me. He had some experience in being a life drawing model and helped explain what exactly we were going to do during the class.
To start the session, you do ten one-minute poses, just to get the artists warmed up and ready for the class. The models do not have any direction in what poses they do, so it is up to them to choose the pose.
After the short poses, Mark placed me and the other model in a pose that we would hold for about twenty minutes.
While it does not sound difficult, holding the same pose for twenty minutes is quite challenging. Your body does not like to stay in the same place for that amount of time, especially if it is not completely comfortable.
The other model and I did four twenty-minute poses. He had to leave after the fourth and I was left to do one final twenty minute pose.
Now that the experience has sunk in, there are some things that are worth noting.
The first worry I had about doing this was the fact that I thought it would be incredibly awkward. People have nightmares about walking into class naked, but I volunteered to do it.
The class did an incredible job of making me feel comfortable. My worries of awkwardness were cast aside after the first pose. The level of professionalism by the professor, the other model, and the students allowed for me to just relax and not worry about being judged in any way.
Some people may still think that I’m crazy for doing this, but to the doubters, I have just one thing to say: this was something that I never thought I could do, but I just did it. It did not take any extreme amount of willpower or convincing or courage to do.
I just made the effort to try something new to me and it turned out to be a very interesting life experience.
Just because something seems weird or you are afraid to do it, does not mean you should not consider the possibilities.
Life is all about getting out of your comfort zone and trying something completely new. If people venture out of their comfort zones, they may be surprised at what they can accomplish.