I’ve been pretty depressed/anxious lately. It just feels like there are so many things I should be doing that I freeze up and can’t start on any of them.
The bright spot has been my art modelling.
I’d been wondering how I stack up to other life models…art modelling is not unlike sex, in that I know there are other women out there getting naked under the same circumstances as me, but I’m never there to see it so I have no idea if they’re doing it differently from me. And I’m too shy to ask the students outright “So ummmm what are the others like? Are they different from me?” so all I can really go by is the fact that I keep getting invited back.
But recently I had a session with a really expressive instructor – this was for an animation school, so I was trying to do emotive poses that told a story (as opposed to just making interesting shapes with my body like I would in a fine art class). And he totally “got” what I was going for with each pose* and would pace the room urging his students to capture the details: “Look at the tension through her torso there! See how the tendons of her neck are standing out? She is angry! She is vengeful! Feel that energy as you draw!” I’ve worked for this same instructor before and he didn’t used to be quite so enthusiastic in his speechifying. I think he has more to say now because I’m getting better at posing: doing more innovative stuff; telegraphing emotion better; telling better stories.
The next day I had a session at a different place. The instructor there was not as verbal when he taught, but did specifically tell me during the break that I’m awesome and he’s very happy with my work. Fuck yeah.
The other thing that makes me love these modelling jobs is that they give me an excuse to exercise – not just with the modelling itself but because I’ve started walking home from them most days (unless it’s too cold out). We’re talking an hour, hour and a half of walking. I find it really clears my mind and helps with my depression, and I love that I’m getting in shape and saving a bit of bus fare.
I am flat-out amazed that I have the energy to hold poses for three hours and then walk approximately 6km (4 miles) and then maybe even cook food or do housework. I’m not sure I’ve ever had the capacity to do something like that (I think I owe it to eating well and taking vitamin supplements). And my muscles aren’t even sore the next day!
I always thought the low-energy thing was part and parcel of my depression and anxiety issues. It’s fascinating to see that it’s not. Like…I’ll still fuck around on the internet for twelve straight hours, as is my custom when feeling overwhelmed and anxious, but on the off chance that I do decide to close the laptop and go do something, I usually can! I don’t feel like I’m going to pass out when I stand up or anything. That’s new.
Anyhoodle, a smallish wave of motivation has passed over me lately and I’ve sluggishly and sporadically begun accomplishing things – in between bouts of torpor. I’m trying to plug away at the apartment mess, for one thing…and tonight I busted through my fears of rejection and the unknown and emailed four different life drawing places about possibly hiring me. I think I’d been putting that off because I was afraid they’d all say no, which would leave me seriously afraid for my future. But better I should know now than when my savings are all gone, and anyway, they might not say no, and then I’ll be able to earn more money. 🙂
I try not to think about it, but I have some pretty grave doubts as to whether I can actually make a living as an artist and art model. Mostly because it seems too good to be true, but partly because of the actual logistics of it. If my art doesn’t sell very well, I’ll need to pose for at least ten classes a week to scrape by – and it seems as though that might be difficult to schedule. I’m fine with doing a morning and afternoon class on the same day – and an evening one as well, if someone offered me one – but the times and locations of them all have to mesh well enough that I can get to all of them on time, if you see what I mean. And I’d have to find time in there to eat.
And I do wonder about the saturation factor. I’m pretty sure most art schools/art classes want to expose students to a variety of different body types and posing styles, so if a particular place gives me lots of work for a month or two, does that mean I’m “used up” and they won’t want me again for a while? That second instructor I mentioned up there specifically told me that models seem to get jaded after a while so he likes working with newbies; I get the distinct feeling he’ll discard me once I’m no longer an ingenue.
I wish to hell I could find a cheaper apartment (that isn’t terrifying). That would certainly make it easier to support myself. But I don’t think a cheaper apartment is possible, and I seriously never want to live with anyone ever again…so if it comes down to having a roommate and continuing to model vs. staying here and taking an office job to support myself, I choose the latter.
But hopefully it won’t come to that.
*I did an “on my knees, shaking my fists at the sky” thing and he went “KHAAAAAAAAN!” which totally made me snortlaugh.