LIFE DRAWING IN THE YURT
The perceived exhibitionism of a Cardiff still life group was something our reporter simply couldn’t handle
ARTICLE | FEBRUARY 17, 2012 – 8:19AM | BY DANIELLE SHERIDAN
UPDATED: This review has been updated to correct some factual errors it previously contained – and for that we can only apologies and amend the page. There’s been plenty of discussion on Danielle’s view of the event – and interesting debate on nudity and the representation of the human body – on the Cardiff Life Model Collective’s Facebook Page. And please check out the comments below, which have very different views on the event than Danielle did.
Trying new things is good. Overcoming new challenges and bringing variety into one’s life is known to have a positive effect. So, I picked up a pencil and tried to etch out a new hobby by experimenting with life drawing.
I hate to be a prude, but life drawing was without a doubt, the most awkward moment of my life to date. Even falling down the back of a stage in my high school fashion show, on opening night, in front of a live audience, doesn’t compare to this experience.
I entered the yurt with an open mind, willing to appreciate the naked form in all its glory. Yet the moment I peeled its small wooden door open and ducked inside, I was confronted with a naked vagina and wanted to flee. But I was trapped! Someone else had squashed their way in behind me and I was forced to bashfully pick up a piece of charcoal and drawing paper, and find a spare seat to sit and sketch.
I could barely look at the model, I felt embarrassed and awkward as her naked body proudly stood there, almost mocking me with her imposing pubic hair. I looked around the room, and seemed to be the only person who was slightly shaken it.
Life drawing is a popular past time in Cardiff. Classes take place in various venues, this particular event was held in the back of Milgis, a vegetarian restaurant on City road.
Having the life drawing session in a yurt gave the class a hippy feel, which was quickly contradicted by the four large disco balls hanging from its ceiling. The artists were sat around in a circle, pens poised ready to sketch.
The ring of people was made up of five men and nine women. Some sat on the floor, legs spread with paper resting between their legs, the others on chairs with their sketch books on their laps. The model posed on a small wooden table in the middle of the yurt.
An alarm went off, which masqueraded as a frog chirping, and the model switched positions. She stepped down from the table and bent over it backwards.
I began to wonder how the model felt about being the subject of this art. The exhibitionism of life models is something I fail to comprehend.
Attending a life drawing class has shown me it is not something for me. I certainly appreciate beauty, but my goodness, not in its raw bare skinned form.
First published in the Cardiffian in February 2012 but shared here along with user comments on our fb page as it provides a more rounded view of the evening and goes someway to undoing the harm the reporter was intending.