Life, Art & Risk
“So… you get naked… and people draw you?”
If I had a penny for every time I get asked that question I would surely be a rich man. In all honesty, the decision to ‘get naked’ came about through a series of events that had me facing personal insecurities and issues with body image. For years, I looked at myself and contemplated, ‘Why is it so hard for me to love myself?’ The answer came in two parts. Internal; I was insecure. And external; mainstream beauty standards didn’t help:
‘Maybe, if I was skinnier?’
‘Maybe, if I had ‘gains’?’
‘What if my nose was straighter, my cheekbones sharper?’
The internal voices went on and on. A vicious cycle of self-depreciation, leaving me insecure and self-ostracised. (It’s a thing).
Time flew by. And one day I came across an article regarding issues of life image and body confidence. The article proposed a solution. I saw it in the boldest of fonts: life art drawing.
Someone who poses for life art allows their body to be perceived through the eyes of others. Friends and family on countless occasions can comment and say ‘you look great’, but for me, my mind always brushed it off as common courtesy. But with life art – the drawing is based purely on the artists’ true image of the subject. An illustration on a piece of paper, capturing the perfections and imperfections of the human body in a manner that it is art.
So I took a risk. I got naked. And in all honesty, even the word ‘liberating’ does not do it justice…
…but I’ll leave that story for another time.
So, I say yes. I am a life art model. “So, you’re like… a stripper?” In my eyes, life art doesn’t involve the sexualisation of the human body - stripping is the antithesis. Being nude, however, is frowned upon and that social stigma leads to the majority of people seeing it as a taboo. But taking sexualisation out of the equation allows us to see our bodies in their rawest and truest form. As art.
“But… what did your family say?” I come from an interracial family and majority of their worldviews are far more conservative than most... It took a bit of persuading, but my mother just needed to see it from my perspective. It took time, but to my amazement, she understands and supports my decision wholeheartedly.
And I can say that is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Now, I won’t lie and say I was a pro straight off the bat but the risk I took led me to where I am today: I am confident, secure and happy in my skin. My body is mine and the way I choose to express it is mine alone. As a result, life like art whilst full of risk is beautiful.