Students find work in nude modeling for art

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“It is much easier to get naked in front of a room full of people you don’t know than it is in front of a room full of people you do,” said Meredith Lindsey, senior in mass communications and theatre.

Lindsey has been working as a model for the K-State art department for the past three years. She began when she was searching for a campus job and knew of a friend who had modeled before he graduated.

Despite the awkwardness of posing nude, Lindsey has grown more comfortable with her job description than when she began.

“The first time, I forgot a robe,” Lindsey said.

She said she had to walk out in front of the class without any clothes on. Lindsey recalled the experience as incredibly embarrassing.

Awkwardness, however, isn’t the only obstacle Lindsey battles when posing nude.

“It’s also cold when you try to stay still for 30 minutes or an hour in one pose,” Lindsey said. “That’s probably the worst — limbs go numb in any pose after about 10 to 15 minutes, and your hands start to get cold.”

Ross Hand, senior in fine arts, said he remembers his first time as a student in a drawing class with a nude model.

“The first time, I definitely had to have my headphones in and really concentrate on the music,” Hand said.

As with Lindsey, Hand also got used to what could be considered an awkward situation.

“After a while, you just kind of zone out,” Hand said.

He said for students who are less familiar with art, the situation can seem more awkward than it really is.

“I can definitely understand how it could be strange for a lot of people, especially for people who aren’t in the art world,” Hand said. “For whatever reason, people view nudity in art differently … more positively … than nudity in other areas, such as cinema.”

Some students in these classes quickly learned the benefits to what they first viewed as a strange art form.

“It was something I had never been around before,” said Megan Garden, senior in fine arts. “It’s probably good that we study in this way. It is easier to draw people with their clothes off than it is with their clothes on.”

One of the positives of Lindsey’s job is the understanding of the professors and students. Lindsey said at any time a model needs to sit or change position, they are able to.

“It’s wonderful, because you are being paid to be art,” she said.

In addition to the pay, Lindsey said she enjoys being an artistic role in an artistic piece, and has even been entered into art contests as the focus of a final project. As for the artist, the nudity is something quickly forgotten.

“From an art perspective, you spend so much time actually studying the figure — it’s almost like you don’t even realize that it’s a naked person in front of you,” Garden said.

Another way that Lindsey connects her job back to art is that anybody can do it. She said students do not always want models with the same body types.

“They don’t want just big, muscly men or really skinny women,” Lindsey said. “I think a lot of the students get bored with that; they want a challenge.”

Lindsey’s philosophy when walking into a room to model is just to think, “Look, this is what I look like naked.”

For Lindsey, being embarrassed and self-conscious — though it might be a normal human reaction — is not necessary.

“You are a figure, and they are drawing you,” she said.

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