Spatial Reasonings


Working from my apartment was an interesting investigation of how different spaces affect the art made in them. I’ve noticed this for a while, especially after spending time with Sarah’s work. She does a lot of exploration into the nature of a space and its meaning to the individual. My own relation to spaces is usually filtered through the experience of modeling in them. I work in many different places, and each of them has different strengths and weaknesses. MECA, for example, has little to offer to models in terms of comfort and props, but the rooms are very spacious. This lends itself to a really exciting variety of artistic endeavors. I’ve sat for a portrait for seven hours, using my computer case for comfort, but I’ve also done continuous movement poses surrounded by students drawing on newsprint laid out on the floor.


I recently modeled at a gallery in Kennebunkport, a small space with a rope and a few artworks hanging from the ceiling. It was exciting to work around the objects in the room and to use the rope to shift my weight for various poses. Spaces definitely lend themselves to completely different exercises and poses. Short poses can be more creative in unconventional spaces, yet Joshua’s academic style works best where there’s room for lines of easels, and highly controlled lighting. I found my apartment wasn’t ideal for academic figure drawing; a perfectly rendered figure before a stark white background would be extremely difficult, and arguably a waste of the space on hand. Fringed lamps, a salmon tinted chaise and potted plants fill the room, clamoring to be drawn. Sarah collects all sorts of trinkets (mostly elephants), and I’ve started accumulating objects as well. A little cramped for large figure groups, our apartment’s capacity for still life and scenery is unparalleled.

With not much to do while modeling but ponder, I have a fascinating time seeing how spaces influence the type and style of art being made there. Beyond the logistics of what can be accomplished in a space, they lend their a distinct energy to the work being produced. I know the way a space feels affects the poses I take, but I think it influences the palettes and the materials artists choose to apply. Bars are scribbled pen drawings in a notebook. Our apartment is intimate inkings of elephant sculptures, flowered wallpaper and bright paint collage, with the occasional nude melting into the background.

Model and Artist

Because of this, with Kate around I would often leave academia behind. No longer influenced by different artists I had studied, the poses were more internal. I found those sessions extremely freeing, and I could tell that modeling was more than a series of angles, line and curves, but about an energy and feeling. It was during a shorts session that I discovered “animal poses,” where I could crouch and crawl. My wrists would ache and legs fall completely asleep, but the energy in the room felt perfect.  Kate was the first to throw me in a pair of heels, which became somewhat of a tradition, and for some reason they inspired me as I collapsed my ankles or perched on top of the platforms.
I loved discovering the differences in artists work, learning how to become a positive influence on their artistic process, adapting to their varied whims and styles.

I personally had always preferred figure to still-life and landscape, but before my switch to the other side of the canvas, paper, camera, whichever, I hadn’t completely understood. If any art has to do with humanity, it would be the unavoidable intersection between model and artist that is shown in any representation of a body. In the moment shown in the drawing, painting, photograph and sculpture, the model is able to provide what the artist wants, and this collaboration, the power of the object to react and adapt, is what makes figure unique.