Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Model and an Artist walk into a room...

So. I'm a professional artist, a student of art, a booker, and a model.

I have a little perspective. But mind you, it's my perspective. You're welcome to disagree, i'm not some huge pro passing wisdom, or gas.  Just... exploring the subject.

The issue of art models and artists has been raised alot recently so i'm going to discuss it.  If for any other reason because i'm procrastinating going on a run in a 101 degree weather.  Sounds reasonable.

 1; as a model you have to have a consistent look. That takes maintaining a certain lifestyle often requiring time and a financial investment. It would be annoying having to erase an entire 5 week drawing because your model decided it would be a great time to gain 20lbs and get a sex change.
2; it takes time to get ready and drive to a gig. 1-2, sometimes 3hrs, then you drive back. That's gas, time, and plenty of l.a. traffic fun.
3; holding a pose is harder then it looks, both quick and long.  You do have to consider how fit you are,  what your body can handle, what looks good, where the light is, where your center of gravity is, how/where your weight is being distributed, how well you can hold your balance, what surface you're on, what parts of your body are more sensitive and likely to fall asleep, and a good memory for long pose as you are responsible for looking as close as possible to the initial idea.  You have to consider bloodflow, pain, and discomfort threshold and you probably need to learn how to calm and focus your mind.  Meanwhile, you are being studied and talked about.
4; costume models need to invest considerable money into costumes, and time to get ready for work. They also need to have some acting ability for certain gigs as poses will need to reflect different mindsets/ character/ situations. Consider, you don't really want your favorite gangster pretending he's the little mermaid.
5: when an artist requests a pose, models need to know when to say no.  To do that you need to know what you can handle and what you consider appropriate.

6; Note. Arrive on time. take short breaks at appropriate intervals. If your pose is causing you alot of pain, speak to the one in charge.  Permanent physical injuries do occur.  Stretch, and start as simple as possible. That's usually enough.

1; we understand models are not a statues.  We have photos for that.
2; we love having our models as muses.
3; not all artists have good intentions.
4; when making artwork, we need the model to stay as still as they can so we can accurately observe the form and analyze the light.  Chasing a pose is not our idea of a fun workout.
5; we expect the model to be professional.  We hire them to pose, not talk. Socializing is fun, but remember artists love to create, that's why they pay models.  I acknowledge some Venues differ.
6; artists have the nasty habit of being broke, and sometimes weird.  Take that into consideration and be respectful.

7; Note; If a model is in pain because of the pose let them take longer breaks/shorter sessions, or alter parts of the pose after a certain time period. Be understanding. It takes alot of time to become good at knowing how your body reacts in different situations.  Sometimes it's counter intuitive.

Models tend to charge for photos. It's part of the business. It's how we can make a profit and how the quality of our work is rewarded.

Artists sometimes use the photos they purchase. The benefit to taking a photo is that you get to create and finish your project.  Some artists even sell the finished piece generating a profit.

When models take photos of artwork they don't make a profit.  Normally, it's kept as a record because we like the artwork.  At times it will be posted in mass media, that's good marketing for the model and the artist and in such cases models should get artist consent.  Models are not making giclees from these photos, which are normally not of great quality, and it would be illegal anyhow.  So the artist has a right to sew for copyright infringement.
Hence, it's pretty illogical for an artist to charge a model for a photo.

Another factor models need to be aware of when selling their photos is that sometimes the artist will in fact print multiple copies (for others to use as reference), send out copies of the photos or even publish it in social media.   If you want to protect yourself have them sign a contract.

Selling photos to sculptors vs. painters/draftsman.  A painter will normally take one photo as reference.  A sculptor will take like 50.   As a model you should charge the same (or at least in the same ballpark) for both.  (if it's one pose, meaning one project).   You are selling reference to finish a project.  The needs of the medium are different and i think that's important to take into account.

Lastly, at times a teacher will request to only book a model when their photos are free of charge. They want their students to understand and keep studying after the session is over without giving up their weekly food money.  This is not a disrespect to the model, it's a circumstance and condition. You don't have to take the gig, but don't talk smack about it.

Photoshoots for artists are different.  There are lots of different poses and i tend to charge the same for artists as i do for photographers, per hr.

I'm certain i haven't dealt with everything in this entree. It's a start.

 Drawing by Bilmes.
Painting by Richard.

Sunday, September 13, 2015


The education extravaganza;

Pratt, the expensive, formal college experience.
After highschool i attended an art college.  Pratt Institute in NYC.  It's got a great reputation, great campus, and it costs a ton of money. Secret to success?  You wish. So I applied and received scholarships, grants, financial aid and loans, taken out by my mother and i, and I graduated with a degree in Illustration, but it was not the education i was seeking. Quality art education at that time was hidden under a rock at the bottom of the ocean in a giant shell and so was the definition of what 'quality' art was.  I just knew i wasn't seeing it. As a result i bounced around a multitude of departments and almost decided art was not the direction i was going... until i stumbled on traditional animation.  Oh. And that was fun. Not being from the film department i had to fight my way into the classes, but i got in, and eventually, got my animated short 'Sin', played with the best of the rest of the film majors at their showdown, which i know my not being in the department raised some hairs.  I got to hear about it. The amazing thing was i didn't find out what a 'cycle' was till the very end of my short film.  I kept asking and no one would give me the answer, as though the answer was so basic that they thought it was a joke.  Knowing what a cycle was would have saved me alot of time. That's all i gotta say.
 That year I was also selected to be in the 'best of' for Pratt Institute Show at Hammerstein Ballroom.   My art was strong in it's language, but not in its execution.   I left New York to pursue a career in L.A.

I got a studio job in L.A. Learned alot. Got promoted. Got a tan.

I became an independent contractor.  Gained alot of clients. Earned a living. Started traveling more.

I became a fine artist.  Started traveling monthly because stable housing was an issue.

I'm not going to go into the complete story of how i became a fine artist, or my crazy experience of trying to become one these past five years.  Just know, it's been very eventful.  Kinda like if a tornado hit a room and left, and then you look at the mess and think; that's what figuring out how the fine art thing goes looks like.  By the way, the room was packed with stuff. Which quite literally i had to get rid of.  But that's another story.

The most relevant part of the current ordeal is that I ended up taking an oil painting class, and it felt right. This new world of fine art was beautiful; images composed an executed in a manner which required great skill and intuitiveness.  I was exposed to artwork so rich you could look at it for hours and still, you would not be done, in person they held vitality which breathed through the seams,  they were immortal. I wanted to create that.  I slowly took on less and less work through my business and became more and more focused on becoming a fine artist... and slowly figuring out that i  had to learn how to draw first.  I thought my drive and dedication could pull me through (self-taught alternative)... it didn't, in fact, i met some wrong people on that road.   Taking a class here and there did not provide sufficient practice.   I had to juggle too many balls at once not knowing how any of them worked.  When I did begin finding out how they worked, it became more complex.   You need the information, the time, the practice, repetition, guidance and patience to be successful as a student of art, let alone a successful artist.

There is a video i recommend watching if you're looking to study art ;

Education holds the key to everyones future.  I hope to be able to aid in that process because i would hate to see anyone else go through the same experience as i.  Financial means should not be the limit to the education you can be provided with before you make a career.

Education won't guarantee survival as an artist.  After you learn to produce great work there is a whole other ball game waiting for you, and you'll have to succeed and survive.  But at least you'll have quality, and that's a big step in the right direction.

To check out my Indiegogo campaign and listen to part of my story, please check out the link below and donate if you can.  Thank you.

Me at a recent show. 'Huicho!' at Kwon Fong Gallery.

Upcoming show i'm participating in.