A year-and-a-half ago, Moscow resident Sophie Fisher made the decision to cross one item off of her bucket list by becoming a nude model for figure drawing classes.
“I had it on my bucket list,” Fisher said. “Also, I’m pretty much naked in all of my free time. It’s really not an issue to me. It’s more of an issue for other people that I’m naked so much.”
Fisher said she understands that she’s more comfortable with nudity than most, but she still has the same insecurities about her body that everyone else experiences. Through her interactions with the artists, Fisher said she’s begun to care less about her imperfections.
“I think the coolest thing has been seeing different people’s interpretations of my body,” Fisher said. “They notice things about my body that I don’t because I’m too busy picking on something else.”
Beyond being naked, Fisher said the most shocking part of modeling has been the technical skill required. Picking poses that she can hold for an extended period of time and controlling her breathing have been challenges she’s faced on the job.
“I wasn’t really sure what I was walking into at first,” she said. “It was more of a workout than I was expecting.”
Fisher was also impressed with the diversity of the models. From the art she has seen, she said the class features a variety of body types and genders.
When she began modeling, the artists were never surprised by her tattoos or piercings and often complimented her during breaks to assure she was comfortable.
Cody Magee, a University of Idaho senior working toward his BFA in studio art, drew figure models in the past and said the classes always seem to have a heightened sense of maturity.
He said he has seen tremendous progress in his art since he began drawing figure models.
“It’s hard to explain, but there’s something about drawing people that just changes your work,” Magee said. “You become very aware of the subtle shapes and shades and even colors that can be present.”
Magee said it was amazing to see the rapid growth in his work when drawing another person. While drawing inanimate objects has its benefits, Magee said drawing people adds relatability to the work.
“Since we are humans and we see humans all the time, even if it just in the mirror, it’s something that we can directly understand,” he said.
Relating to the subject matter of his art, especially if it’s a person, also increases the sensitivity with which he works. Magee once had the opportunity to draw a burn victim who had scarring across his chest. It was an experience that posed more than just a technical challenge for the artist.
“It’s those kinds of challenging things that happen to a person during their life that make the art more personal and interesting,” Magee said.
Magee’s work became even more personal when a childhood friend of his, Patrick O’Farrell, began working as a figure model in the spring of 2015.
While O’Farrell worried that modeling in front of Magee would be awkward, he said the two have always been comfortable with one another and figure modeling was something he was interested in doing.
“I was nervous immediately before the class started, but as soon as I disrobed and started finding a pose, all my nerves just disappeared,” O’Farrell said.
O’Farrell said he recognizes that he is more comfortable with his body than most, but being a figure model has still granted him a new appreciation for how he looks.
The experience has not only made him more aware of his own body, but also of the bodies of the people around him.
“When walking down the street and seeing someone, it makes me wonder, ‘What makes them unique?’” O’Farrell said. “I wonder what their thoughts are on their own body and how they feel about it.”
O’Farrell said his modeling has shown that the differences and intricacies of each body are what make them artistically interesting and beautiful.
He said, “Seeing how those things are valuable, not only in an artistic sense, but also in general, makes you realize how good it is to have a body, no matter what it looks like.”