So, to paraphrase my friend Sara, "Ah, you're not truly broke in NYC until you pose as a nude model." Aaaand... guess who is just that broke? A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a listing on Craiglist (in the 'Creative Gigs' section) calling for non-traditional models. Women with scars, extra weight, really anything or everything, for torso modeling. At this point, I was a few weeks post-unemployment and in the "Seriously, just someone pay me for something" mode. I saw $15/hour and got in contact with the artist. Her suggested date for meeting was today, August 8th.
Now, even though I know my parents are being (generously) financially supportive, so I could have easily backed out of the gig, for some reason I just didn't think much of it. And I'm not even sure why. But this seems to be a recurring theme. I headed down to the Sunset Park area of Brooklyn - a slightly sketchy looking, industrial area - mainly sketchy because of the industrial factor.
After meeting her, I found out that the artist, Clarity Haynes has been doing life-size female torso illustrations for quite a few years now. Before arriving at her studio, I really had no expectations. I definitely did not expect to be interacting in a sort of societal experiment, a study of how we perceive our bodies, and how the rest of the world does. Clarity has done a lot of drawings of breast cancer survivors, with single and double masectomies, along with many other generally interesting female bodies (and "plain" ones too, heh).
I feel like I was oddly displaced from the situation. I wasn't emotional, really, but I appreciate the whole message and purpose of her work. Taking my shirt and bra off in front of a person I just met, and then basically getting paid to have a four hour conversation while sitting topless? Oddly easy for me. It was nice - we're both intelligent people that can talk about lots of different topics. But, the ease is also where the displacement comes into play. It's real, but for such an emotional person, I wasn't really affected in the way that I think a lot of women are. When I look at the drawing, I see a body that I don't really care for. But, neither do I hate. There's no specific, strong emotion related to that drawing. In the long run, I am happy that I did it. And if she wants to do further work, I will definitely model again. To be a part of something a bit bigger than me; to have my 24.5 year old torso preserved in charcoal and paper (currently) is odd and unique. So... yeah, that was my interesting Saturday. My brain sort of perceives today in a choppy, disconnected manner, so I apologize for the choppy, disconnected writing.