So which came first, life modelling or being an artist?
Life modelling. I had heard about how artists and art institutions in India are challenged in finding art models. Life modelling gave me an opportunity to contribute to the art community, and also the privilege to be part of the creative energy in a life drawing session.
What made you move to the other one?
While posing at the Samsara Academy of Art, some of the students encouraged me to try out sketching. When the pandemic-related lockdown offered some free time, I took the opportunity to sketch a few portraits from reference images and discovered that I loved it. As an aspiring artist, I have just started my journey, and have a long, long way to go and lots to learn.
How did you first get into life modelling?
I reached out to a few senior artists and art schools. The Samsara Academy of Art – a beautiful atelier modelled around European Academies of Classical Art – was looking for models too, and it worked out.
I started by posing for their part-time program, which has live figurative sessions on weekends. I used to fly out from Mumbai to Hyderabad on Friday evenings and return on Sunday evenings. The experience was well worth the effort.
What preparation do you need to do before each life modelling session?
I connect with the tutor/organiser before the session to understand the nature of the session, the types and duration of poses, and the expectations of the participating artists. For instance, posing for dynamic gestures is very different from posing for classical academic sessions. This understanding helps me prepare for the session.
It also helps to review poses in front of a mirror and fine-tune them to make them more interesting. For example, a slight accentuation in the twist of the torso, or a minor shift of weight to one leg, or a slight tilt of the shoulder, can potentially have quite a dramatic impact on how interesting a pose is for artists.
Since a life drawing session is akin to a live performance, I also ensure that I am well rested before a session. For example, I adjust my workout schedule to avoid heavy exercises the day before a session.
Lastly, I have a kit that I carry with me to life drawing sessions. It includes essentials such as my robe, timer, props, and power snacks for breaks.
Are there any life drawing classes in Mumbai for you to attend as a model or artist?
Mumbai has not had many options for artists looking to work from life. Thankfully, the Art Society of India resumed its portrait and life drawing sessions earlier this year. The Art Society of India is an organisation that is more than 100 years old, and its ‘study circle’ is legendary. I have started participating in these sessions as an artist and a model. I have been serving artist groups in other cities too.
Do you have any plans you can share of what you are looking to do as either a model or life model?
I plan to keep exploring the wondrous world of art as an artist as well as an art model.
It has been amazing making so many new acquaintances – both online and in real life – all so talented, kind and encouraging. I look forward to meeting many more wonderful artists and models in the days to come.
As a model, I hope to expand my reach and be able to serve as many artist groups and institutions as I can. And as an artist, I hope to be able to invest more time in learning and practice and aspire to be able to make my work expressive and meaningful.
Being an artist and life model, do you think it’s easier to develop different pose ideas?
I think an artist’s perspective has certainly helped me. Knowing what artists look for in terms of forms and shadow shapes, and knowing how small pose adjustments can make a significant difference has been extremely useful as a life model.
If you had to choose between being an artist or a life model, which would you choose and why?
I enjoy both and hope to continue both. Sometimes due to time conflicts, situations do arise where I need to prioritize one over the other. In such situations, I prioritize life modelling because life modelling comes across as a responsibility to the community, as against my own art practice which is a personal passion.
When modelling, do you only pose offline, or do you also pose online?
Virtual life drawing became very popular during the pandemic and it has been wonderful how virtual sessions brought artists and models from across the globe together, all connected through a common passion. I attended several online sessions as an artist, but as a model, I have chosen to pose only for in-person sessions so far.
If I come to you for advice to become a male life model, what advice would you give me?
My suggestion to new models would be to be clear on the purpose and motivation to become a life model. For me, it has been the following:
(a) the opportunity to contribute to and serve the art community (b) the privilege of being a part of the creative process and creative energy in a life drawing session (c) the opportunity to learn from artists, their process, and the tutor’s critiques (d) the motivation to maintain physical and mental fitness levels needed to hold long poses (e) the meditative experience offered by long poses on the model stand.
In my view, once one is clear on the why’, the rest falls in place, and life modeling can be an immensely rewarding experience
One thought on “Life Model and Artist – Life Art Mumbai”
The article is really beautiful your modeling will practice your art and you can become a great artist and model great sir I am interested in painting so I am also learning this sketch by watching artist people
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