Material Witness will focus on extreme textile process. Images will be posted here showing the history of my work, new work, developing projects and inspiration.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Models and Friends

I have had a few years to think about what happens when you model for someone or when they model for you. It creates a remote and strange kind of intimacy.

Years ago I modeled for trade shows, sexy girl shots and ethereal rock and roll girl shots. A couple of jobs included cheesecake excercise machine promos, lingerie and fur coats and a few " Hi! I'm Patti your hostess with the mostest " corporate solicitations. Very long ago and far away!

I also spent time modeling for artists and photographers. A job that was far more enjoyable. It made me feel useful and part of the art process. Only occassionally did I feel possessive about the work created from my image.

Modeling had a remoteness to it that was really appealing. I became an object that communicated through movement and gesture. I was also dancing at the time and was used to performance through the body. It was rather like the experience of dancing but with huge gaps in between movements. It required concentration and inhibition like dance. It was also strenuous in a completely different way.

I became more centered in myself and only was uncomfortable when other people besides the artists were involved. They became a distraction that was not part of the art making process. They made it so I lost my concentration or my mood. They were not part of the experience for me.

I don't remember becoming attached to the artists. I was there to work and so were they. Only occassionally did I feel distracted by what they were doing. Usually something jarring happened like a ruler dropped or a door slammed dragging me back to this earth. Sometimes I would get cold or get a sharp cramp. Distracting as it was I held my pose.

I had an artist for a husband once and modeled for him. This was a completely different experience and intimacy was natural and required. I also was involved with a man who was a photographer who spent time stealing my image when I was completely unprepared. It was an assaultive experience but some of the photographs were extraordinary and rather strange. I am sure that he relied on my shock at the flash for his images.

I have also used models many times. Women and men. I find most men to be completely hopeless at the skill. They twitch and wiggle and try to tell me what to do with my own process.
Women are more compliant probably more by training than by nature. They listen to instruction better and become less concerned about controlling the situation. Occasionally, however, there are men who make my favourite models. They just understand what I want and give it to me.

This New Year I am going to model for an artist I admire. It will be a very odd experience because I am so altered now with illness and the process of healing. I am older, fatter and less able to stay still. I also hope to use one of my favourite models very soon or will have to put out a very concentrated search for someone that works as well. Perhaps I will even figure out how to model for myself.

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