‘…is she aware that I, personally, am staring at her nakedness? Furthermore, if she is aware, does she enjoy it? On the other hand, if she is not, am I violating her by stealing her privacy? This uncertainty… creates a frisson, a kind of exquisite tingle. …As a draw-er I am not supposed to think of the model as I did just then. Instead I am supposed to think of her as a form to be studied, a collection of surfaces and tones, just as a pumpkin is a collection of surfaces and tones. For her part, the model is expected to think of herself in this way also. To this end, she must virtually leave her own body and cut herself off from the reality of the room she is in. The easiest way for her to do this is to look away, perhaps even close her eyes, and daydream… …As long as the model doesn’t look back at me looking at her, it’s OK. After all, she is just an object isn’t she?’
The erotics of drawing by Doctor Dada
First published in Esperanto as ‘La Erotiko de Desegnado’ in Monato May 2001.
I confess I have been known to have salacious thoughts while in-pose. You’ll read some of them in my autobiography A SMALL LIFE . My manager/ editor/muse Sue Vickerman (Sunday School teacher type, though has also life-modelled) says it is courting controversy to admit this and I might get a bad reputation. I just think I’m real. We’re naked, for god’s sake.
Why do we really do it? Actor and artist Steve Huison describes the life-modelling experience (he tried it) as being ‘ driven to find meaning, pleasure, discipline and an income through exposing everything external one has to offer… It’s a disciplined, artificial, numbing, tunnel visioning, hot/cold job… Art is bold, but rarely as bold as its nude subject ‘ (from Steve’s review of A SMALL LIFE).
And how do artists really relate to us? Artist and sculptor Annie Tempest wrote this to me: ‘ I use a model weekly and, apart from feeling uncomfortable on behalf of new models, I rarely give them much thought… When forced to break to let the model stretch and move around – something I hate doing I am sorry to admit – I do wonder sometimes how it is they are able to sit still for so long. I know I couldn’t do it. I am heartened to think that they may, like you, Suki, be writing poetry in their heads and be transcending time through creativity as much as the artist is. ‘
llka and Anna had a blessing of their relationship in the Swedish Lutheran Church on Easter Day. Lilith gives me this info about my ex at tonight’s benefit concert for the Horton in Ribblesdale Women’s Centre. The benefit, in Langcliffe Village Institute, is mainly lesbians-of-a-certain-age plus two men. Since being post-Ilka I have been feeling post-lesbian. This event throws me back into my former social milieu. And this news, about which I am delighted, nonetheless makes me cry all the way home (well, to where I am temporarily cat-sitting) in the dark on my bicycle. Why? Because, not counting Secret Lover (which can only be little ecstatic windows), I am by myself.
It was so right for Ilka and I (17 years) to split. This itself was an act of love, as per Rikki Beadle Blair’s wisdom in my post last week.
My life is great. I do not have time to be in anybody’s pocket. Never again.
My emotions are completely irrational.
Wednesday morning. I knock on the door of Website Genius’s little terrace (I model for him as a skills exchange: he built this website). I see his door handle is missing. Scuffle noises. Lock also knackered. WG comes round from the back and we notice the handles are off all along the street. I would have been rigid with terror if I had heard someone at my door in the night. Do blokes who live alone get terrified too? Drug-crazed psychotics probably don’t perceive gender as they bludgeon you to death for the £3.27 in your wallet.
Someone put in some proper hard graft in driving rain last night to unscrew door handles to sell on. For what? Couple of quid each? I have only recently moved to Bradford, out-priced by my beloved Yorkshire Dales. It is a tragi-comic city. I love it.
This week’s pic: PETER FORD
A regular at Doug Binder’s group at Dean Clough Mill, Halifax, Peter is in his seventies and was until recently doing ambitious cycle rides to European destinations. We have talked about bicycles and loneliness.