Now that I’ve been doing it almost a year, art modelling is starting to feel like any other job: you start seeing the same people around all the time and learning all their weird little foibles whether you want to or not. Except instead of “There’s Rhonda from Accounting. Ugh, I wish she wouldn’t always bring candy to work for everyone…I’m trying to eat healthy and she keeps shoving Snickers bars in my face!,” it’s:
“There’s that guy Bob who always gives me cartoon boobs. What’s up with that? It’s like he’s never seen nipples in real life, except I know he has because he makes these drawings while looking directly at mine.“
“Ohhh there’s that nice lady who always talks to me on breaks and tells me stories about her dogs.”
“Well, time to go to my afternoon shift and endure The Instructor Who Always Stands Way Too Close. Ugh.”
“Ah, I see in our audience today we have that one artist who always compliments my poses really profusely to a point where I don’t even know how to respond anymore. Time to come up with some evasion tactics…”
When I’m posing, my glasses are off so everyone’s a blur; also when I’m nervous I can’t remember names or faces to save my life. But I’m a lot less anxious and self-conscious at work than I used to be, and I’m venturing over to talk to people more during the breaks, and so I’m beginning to realize that there’s a bona fide art community here – and that it’s fairly small. There are people who go show up to lots of different drop-in classes run by different folks; there are also art school students who go to drop-in classes in their spare time to further sharpen their skills. Even art instructors go and draw at other people’s drop-in classes sometimes.
So now I have familiar faces to greet some days when I get to work, and people coming up to tell me “Oh, I saw you pose in [other class] and you were so good – I’m glad to see you again!”
I was booked to work tonight at a school and tomorrow for a drop-in class, both taught by the same guy; when I arrived for tonight’s shift he asked me not to mention that I’m posing at the other class tomorrow lest I pull business away from the school (which is also having classes tomorrow)! He seems to believe I have, or will eventually have, a devoted following. So that’s a pretty huge ego boost!
I’m starting to enjoy feeling like part of a community. And I love the idea of my work gaining followers and a reputation. 🙂