You’re naked sitting on a podium surrounded by people watching you intently. For some, this is a nightmare. For others, this is a weekly occurrence.
Nude models pose for a variety of art classes at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Bearing everything under the lights is far from a harrowing experience for those who pose nude.
Nicole Robbins, a junior art student, has been modeling for three years.
“I love to model,” Robbins said. “I find it so liberating because you don’t just not have clothes on, you are naked in every sense of the word.”
The students and members of the community who model get paid $12 to $15 an hour to sit still for art students. Art classes use live models because the human form is considered by many to be the most difficult subject to master.
Hugh McPeck teaches the live drawing class and works with several models.
“Beginning students have the most difficulty,” McPeck said. “There is definite sexual energy and they don’t know how to handle it. I’ve had some students say ‘I can’t draw that, that’s a sin.'”
Alivia Holman is a ceramics major and has been modeling for about six years. She has been on both sides of the drawing board.
“Beginning classes are always hard because they don’t know how to react to you,” she said. “They are more scared of me than I am of them.”
Homan recalled her first experience with a model.
“My first model was a guy in his 60s. He was great to draw, but some of the people in the class were really uncomfortable with it. I remember (for) one girl, it was the first time she had seen a naked guy.”
Students are usually courteous and professional when working with models. UAA currently has nine models working, two of which are men. For male models, there is the added difficulty of keeping their mind on the task at hand. Some male models have become excited in the past.
“It’s not a big deal, we are all professionals,” art student Siobhan O’Hara said.
Modeling is a rigorous job, unbeknownst to some. Models are required to hold poses for 20 minutes, sometimes more. They also need to have a keen sense of what kind of poses are good to draw. Sometimes models wear costumes, use props or pose in groups. When Holman and Robbins first met each other, they were posing together five minutes later. For the models, it’s all about the art and the beauty of the human form.
“It’s amazing to see yourself portrayed though someone else’s eyes,” Holman said.
People interested in modeling for the art classes are required to visit a class and watch an experienced model. The art department is always searching for new models. Anyone interested should contact the Department of Art at 786-1321.