Suki the life-modelArt & Life1. Artist and model: domination and submission?


1. Artist and model: domination and submission? — 2 Comments

  1. These were the 43 Responses from the original blog. They have been copied here to the newly revised website. However, unfortunately some of the original comments contained images that have sadly been lost. It is possible to add further comments below.

    1. Nic Carlyle says:
    April 25, 2012 at 8:20 am
    When i did a short stint of life-modelling, it’s quite surprising that artists just want you, the life model, for your body, really nothing more. As I’ve painted models since I’ve never forgotten there’s more than surface to the model in front. Of course, it often runs the other way – the model doesn’t want to be anything other than a display of surface. I’d be interested, Suki, about how far personality and similar qualities enter into the artist / model equation. It seems as though in your experience the artistic gaze went ‘deeper’ and upset you more than it ever did me. (But I agree, artists, and those in charge of set-up, can be unthinking, uncomprehending bastards at times.)
    2. Jane Fielder says:
    April 26, 2012 at 11:04 pm
    I need to go to bed but can’t stop exploring this blog or whatever you call it…SO interesting and fascinating. It may change how I LOOK (ie see things)…..scary but brilliant….thank you
    ◦ Suki says:
    April 26, 2012 at 11:17 pm
    Thanks for looking Jane. Hey, I’ve had two viewers…
    3. Nic Carlyle says:
    April 27, 2012 at 4:24 am
    Re: “The model’s pose is not a single moment…” I cynically interpret as: “The artist has decided as to how to see the model and what they want to paint; goodbye further observation, the model is just for reference now, because I’ve now got this fixed idea that I’m painting to” which is, I think, the precise opposite of what the statement wishes to convey. Hell if I know where Einstein fits in.
    4. Nic Carlyle says:
    April 27, 2012 at 4:26 am
    On living alone: stop cocks?
    5. Nann says:
    April 27, 2012 at 6:26 am
    OMG!!!! I luv, I luv, I luv this blog!!!! After an adventure of a terrible day yesterday (took me 3hrs to get home after work instead of 20mins) I sure needed an uplift to venture another working day. It seems this blog has just created that excitement. Brilliant, interesting n insightful work. Am sure sending on the link ……
    And on the topic of life modelling, not sure why my mind in the first instance goes to staring at my nude reflection in the mirror.
    6. Mike Crompton says:
    April 27, 2012 at 8:59 am
    Love the website……hmmm, aren’t all relationships unequal in reality. There is a brilliant song which explores this theme by Crosby & Nash called “Unequal Love.” The relative position of artist and model is subject to constant changes….it can’t be one way or the model would simply leave in a huff. For some it will be merely a transaction between two parties, for others an ongoing enduring relationship (Renoir and Valadon). Often the artist feels inferior to the model and makes tea and scones in a ridiculous attempt to bridge the gap;~) How do the tea and buns feel about being used in this way? Equality for buns!
    7. Suki says:
    April 27, 2012 at 9:30 am
    I LOVE having tea made for me. I live by myself, no-one else ever does this for me. I love the nurturing of the life model! But I also enjoy the other life rooms where I am a Thing. I love being a Thing. It amuses me when everyone’s keeping their coats buttoned up coz they’re freezing, having completely lost sight of me – ‘Me’ – a real person in the room. Turning blue.
    8. Mike Crompton says:
    April 27, 2012 at 9:01 am
    Keep going Suki…this is a great subject!
    9. Suki says:
    April 27, 2012 at 5:59 pm
    I don’t know how to share it on Facebook, Marie Ange. I am rubbish at all this. I must ask Website Genius.
    10. Marie-Ange says:
    April 27, 2012 at 5:42 pm
    Great ! Good idea …. I do like your website Suki !
    How can I share it on Facebook ?
    11. Suki says:
    April 27, 2012 at 6:43 pm
    Thanks for posting, Malcolm and Tessie! Heck, people are reading this. As a singleton, Malcolm, I can’t yell out to someone else to come and sort it. I have to just sit there with my finger in the hole in the dike. Your Significant Other can at least throw a blanket round your shoulders. Hey Tessie, this is good – some life model insights. Life models hardly ever get to compare notes.
    ◦ Anon says:
    April 29, 2012 at 1:58 pm
    You could always
    (a) sign up for British Gas Homeguard thingy which sorts out plumbing problems for a monthly subscription, which would be pretty low for your flat as it’s so small; or
    (b) get a plumber friend to instal turn-off valves at appropriate places so you could turn the water off and stop putting your finger in the dyke.
    12. Malcolm says:
    April 27, 2012 at 6:19 pm
    You don’t have to be a singleton to stare down a leaking toilet in utter despair, at stupid o’clock, wondering how the hell to fix this one.
    All my very best, malcolm.
    Ps thanks for posting my drawing, does this meen i’m famous.
    13. Tessie Humble says:
    April 27, 2012 at 6:27 pm
    This is a really interesting take on the scenario that often plays out in life drawing classes. There are countless ways of reading the roles, the characters, the desires, the feelings, the reasons, the perceptions of those involved. I have been regularly life modelling for over 3 years now. I can say, when I am posed in a cold, silent room, being examined by the eyes of strangers as they pick apart my body, I often feel I enjoy the endurance; not physical, mental I mean. How long can you sit laid bare uncomfortably in the cold, while strangers pleasurably scribble pictures of you for their enjoyment? Though I am pretty sure I am not driven by any masochistic reasons! I would love to scream at the top of my voice, ‘Turn the God Damn Heating On!’
    14. Tessie Humble says:
    April 27, 2012 at 6:32 pm
    And I got carried away on giving my take- I forgot to its a really great piece of writing! It cuts the atmosphere of the situation life models find them selves in alot pretty finely, unforgiving indeed at times..
    15. Suki says:
    April 27, 2012 at 9:01 pm
    Carine, this is all exactly how I am too, and how I think. Your last comment is so true – being unclothed with confidence denotes a great strength, it need not at all be about vulnerability vis a vis others – so long as that confidence is there, of course. But as for physical vulnerabilty (the cold, the draughts, the flies, the one rat once!) – that’s another matter,,, (-:
    16. Carine Brosse says:
    April 27, 2012 at 8:48 pm
    In life, I’m in turn submissive and dominant, and I get pleasure from both. It doesn’t mean that I abuse or get abuse. It’s a natural placement that happens with different people in different situation. As an artist drawing a model, I’m always submissive: I take whatever the model is prepare to give me. Some give very little and some give a lot. And it’s fine. I don’t think there an inequality here, we both here by choice! I know that to be unclothe could be perceived as a state of vulnerability, but it also show strenght and emancipation which only few people have.
    ◦ Helen Peyton says:
    April 29, 2012 at 11:31 pm
    And I, as a facilitator in life classes am only willing to offer what the model is willing to give. I know of harder task masters but that is not my position or my approach. Suki gives my students what they need and by the very nature of their needs, their development in drawing is assured by her excellent participation.
    17. Helen Wheatley says:
    April 28, 2012 at 8:39 am
    This discussion about the relationship between artist and model shows only how varied people are in their approach to what they do. I look at the model – any model – with love. The curve of the ankle or the angle of a collarbone is so beautiful. The act of drawing is not pleasurable though – it’s bloody hard work, scary, frustrating, stressful, and you never get it right. The model in front of me is just another form, but fascinating because it is the most familiar form for other humans. The work is to describe the form with the greatest accuracy possible, while retaining qualities of line, clay or paint. The balance between the dictates of the medium used and the form displayed is hard to strike. However, in the breaks the model becomes a person, an interesting person to talk to – if they want to talk. The work they do is impossibly hard, and their contribution to our happiness as ‘drawers’ is considerable. Models take such trouble to please, and they do please, greatly.
    18. Suki says:
    April 28, 2012 at 12:30 pm
    Thanks Helen, I love to be loved (-: So many interesting aspects to the dynamic of the life room. The sensuality you express here. The difficulty for both artist and model. The agony and the ecstasy, in different ways, of both model and artist. The giving and taking – both artist and model. I do take trouble to please. I feel it a privilege to be the subject of such attentiveness and I also feel well paid and therefore beholden to ‘deliver good service’.
    19. Kate says:
    April 29, 2012 at 10:17 am
    Well the wind is blowing and the holiday is over, time to get down to work. How will I do it, can I capture Suki – will my sewing machine stitch the line I want, or is it another day to sit and think?
    20. Suki says:
    April 29, 2012 at 6:06 pm
    Hi Kate, I do love to be sewn. Anyone else reading this, do go to my gallery and look up Kate Holland (alphabetical order of first names): I modelled for Kate in her attic studio and she created me out of stitching.
    21. Helen Peyton says:
    April 29, 2012 at 11:33 pm
    I love this website…. may i make a suggestion too please…… i really enjoyed listening to the music on the title page, could that be something that is listened to throughout the site?
    ◦ Suki says:
    April 30, 2012 at 10:25 pm
    Thanks for feedback re music Helen. Even though OHooley and Tidow (click on the link and scroll down to the first theme tune. ADMIN), the singers of my blog’s first monthly theme-tune, are brill, I have been warned by Website Genius that people can find musical accompaniment on a website really irritating. That’s why it’s only on the home page, and you can click it off if you want. And if it’s not to your taste you can look forward to a new tune (showcasing northern music-makers who take my fancy) at least once a month, when I change my topic.
    22. Nic Carlyle says:
    May 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm
    Well done Suki on your site’s success over its first couple of weeks. It’s been a joy to browse, look at and listen to. Any idea when you’re going to post your next post? Best wishes.
    23. Rob Greenwood says:
    May 11, 2012 at 5:30 pm
    Another model recently commented that she felt privileged to be drawn. I found this interesting as I always feel privileged to have the opportunity of drawing someone nude. As to enjoying drawing, it’s all the things that Helen says, but we we must enjoy it or we wouldn’t keep coming back!
    24. Clara Lundsten says:
    May 11, 2012 at 6:50 pm
    Pretty contents. I just stumbled upon your blog and enjoyed account your blog posts. Anyway I will be subscribing to your feeds and I achieve access consistently quickly.
    ◦ Suki says:
    May 11, 2012 at 7:25 pm
    Glad you like my blog Clara. I am guessing that you are writing from Japan. Welcome welcome welcome! What exactly is it that has caught your attention? What can you tell me about life drawing in your part of the world?
    (Or are you Madame Spam??)
    25. Pontius says:
    May 17, 2012 at 7:27 pm
    I like this blog it’s a master piece! Glad I discovered this on google.
    Hello Pontius! You wouldn’t be a member of the Spam clan, would you? SUKI

    26. hcg diet plan says:
    May 21, 2012 at 8:20 pm
    I needed to thank you for this great read!! I absolutely enjoyed every bit of it. I’ve got you saved as a favorite to look at new things you post…
    27. Suki says:
    May 21, 2012 at 10:44 pm
    Hi there HCG Diet Plan,
    that’s a really unusual name. From what part of the world do you hark? Or are you just advertising a diet plan? I don’t do diets so I have not bothered clicking on your link.
    ‘To lose weight, don’t eat’.
    Why does anyone need a plan?
    28. LeeAnn says:
    August 10, 2012 at 5:28 pm
    I just found this web site. Very interesting.
    I’ve been posing for art groups for about 6 years. My experience has been that the studios are generally too warm. There is concern that the model not be cold, that the heat is turned up, and it is a little too warm!
    ◦ Janey says:
    May 9, 2013 at 10:27 pm
    In response to the Poem ‘Life Model’ (above):
    Yes it is an act of madness,
    crying out
    don’t hurt me.

    ▪ Suki says:
    May 9, 2013 at 10:54 pm
    Thank you Janey for this lovely sketch of my back.
    I have just scrawled the above poem in charcoal on a huge sheet of newsprint so I can read it out at my appointment at Swindon Literature Festival this Saturday (11 May 2013, 2pm, Postmodern Art Gallery!) without holding the book in my hand.
    Memorise my poems? No chance!
    Re acts of madness: I have spent the last two Thursday mornings being either dead or wounded. The Year II Animation students at the Northern Film School, Leeds, required a series of five-minute poses to get material for their frieze of a battle scene. It’s been bonkers. See William Padgett, Jack Grey and Anthony Price at work in the photo below (and further work on their respective links).
    • Nic Carlyle says:
    May 11, 2013 at 4:01 am
    I’m intrigued as to the drawing of dead and wounded people. From “the Dying Gaul” onwards, I wonder whether we have created an accurate or an artificial way of depicting humans in extremis. I (thankfully) have very limited acquaintance with either the dead or the mortally wounded, but what little I’ve seen is a world away from the heroic bodily fighting of pain as depicted by some artists.
    Can anyone else add to this grammar of distress, and the conventions of depicting pain and death?
    29. Suki says:
    May 9, 2013 at 11:19 pm
    Left to right: Will, Jack, Anthony

    30. Hasty Herrlein G says:
    May 11, 2013 at 10:34 pm
    Am sat in a toilet in a Singapore sculpture gallery reading your first instalment..!
    I wonder if the man in the next trap is doing the same..?
    (For a moment I thought I heard him say ‘kunst’ under his breath)..
    :- )
    Good luck with it!
    31. Suki says:
    May 12, 2013 at 9:53 am
    While Hasty Herrlein G was on a toilet in Singapore, Bel and I and artist Helen Peyton were performing at the Literature Festival of that other Big S:
    S.. S….. SWINDON!!!
    You know Swindon, in Wiltshire (that’s England)? Near Wootton Bassett? Near Broad Blunsden?
    See the review of our event here.
    Fabby poet Hilda Sheehan looked after us. We got to meet Mabel Watson and Barry Dicks, co-editors of the astonishing, sometimes surrealist art-poetry-literature magazine Domestic Cherry.
    Bel drove us. I made the sandwiches for on the way – caviar (truly it was all I had in). Helen looked like an artist all the way down, in one of those artist’s jumpers where you don’t know how many people are in there, and one of those hats, but she put a designer jacket on when we arrived. But it failed to disguise that she was an artist. It’s in the behaviour.
    This month Swindon, next month THE WORLD!
    Well, Grassington, anyway. See us perform again on Monday 17th June 2013 at 6pm, at Grassington Arts Festival in the Yorkshire Dales. Book now! Immigrate to Yorkshire!
    ◦ Nic Carlyle says:
    May 12, 2013 at 4:29 pm
    Well done! Did this include Under the Gaze? If so, did it go down well?
    32. Suki says:
    May 12, 2013 at 9:58 pm
    Yes Nic, the performance consisted of UNDER THE GAZE (drawing instructor Helen Peyton supervising the draw-ers all the while) followed by an interval, then two poems from KUNST and then a discussion faciliated by Bel‘s assistant Michael (Bel of course sloped off), with questions from the floor to Helen and myself.
    It has been reviewed as reminiscent of a ‘happening’ of the 1960s. A multi-media event. Poetry, literature, art, photography, music. Inter-active.
    Swindon – it’s halfway to the capital! We’re going places. We’ll do it in London one day.
    33. Francis says:
    July 26, 2013 at 3:42 pm
    Francis’s first:
    I’m new here, but I seem to have been around forever. I’m a bit wary about making this my first contribution but I’ll give it a go. A while back I was very wary of trying Twitter, but then I kinda got the hang of it and now I tweet all sorts of nonsense!
    My first thought/decision here was what pseudonym to choose, deffo not gonna use my real name, or even my modelling/’stage’ name. So I’ll settle for Francis, as in Assisi, it’s a childhood thing.
    Time to get relevant methinks, sorry if I’ve been waffling. So, what do I think about dominating or submitting? Hmm … that’s a tricky one. I started life modelling a few years back, and when first I tried it I was petrified, I can remember walking up flights of stone steps on a cold early winter’s night and having legs like jelly. I felt like a duck out of water and questioned whether I could go through with it – but I was booked, an artist organiser and the artists in the class were expecting me. So I had to continue, that’s the way I’m made.
    It was a weird situation to be in, especially the first time, but at the end of it I was punching the air. I’d done it and soon one of those images was posted, for sale, on the Net by the artist running the class. And it’s still there, that sits well with me.
    Since then I’ve modelled on and off as and when I have time and inclination, as and when I’m ‘wanted’. As an older male I don’t find it easy to get new gigs, and yet organisers are usually happy to ask me back. They tell me I’m good to draw, even recently that I have good feet (I think they’re ugly). I can still find it a challenge if I’m out of practice, but once I start I’m fine. I can and do keep still, I tolerate the draughts, the aches, the cramps, the itches – I feel I can’t move as that would inconvenience the artists. Is that submission or personal pride? A bit of both?
    Now I would say that for me, overall, the artist/organiser still dominates, still has the power (though that might be moderated by the demand for classes/models), though I feel less subordinate than I used to. And coming from the family that I hail from that’s a big positive. Maybe that’s part of why I do it, to give two fingers to parts of my personal history, dunno. I sure don’t do it for the money, if I cover my expenses and have enough for a drink afterwards, though I rarely drink, I’m happy. For some gigs I’m even out of pocket on my fuel, never mind the hole in the day/evening, but that’s fine, if I’m appreciated, if I’m valued.
    And sometimes as I walk round at the interval/end to look at the representations of little old me, and maybe photograph some of them, I get a big buzz from that, I start to feel empowered. And then I want another gig…
    Ok so that’s my first post. I might post some more, I guess, first, I’ll see what reaction I get to this, my first one.
    34. Suki says:
    July 26, 2013 at 4:30 pm
    Hello Francis! Thanks for this great contribution. I am always reassured when I hear from life models who sound as normal as me.

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