Requirements for an Art Model

Posted on September 15, 2011


In the past few installments, we covered what the requirements were for a fashion model and a commercial model. Now we get to brass tacks, and cover the type of model that is the most controversial: the art model.

First, let me shed one mistaken belief: all art models are nude models. A good number of them are, but just because they are an art model doesn’t mean they are a nude model. An art model is someone who poses for the creation of art. The art doesn’t have to be nude. Second, you can be a fashion or commercial model, and still be an art model. Amazing as it may seem, dressed or clothed art models often are paid more than their nude counterparts. The reasoning is that the clothed model has to maintain their wardrobe of clothes and props, and are expected to provide them for all their modeling sessions. Unlike commercial and fashion, the outfits are typically elaborate costumes.

What is an art model? Great question. They are models who pose for photographers, artists, sculptures, and any other number of people who use the model in the creation of their art. The artist is usually a single person or a group of eight to thirty people. Frequently, these models are nude models (“life models”), but they aren’t necessarily. Many model in specific costumes or other outfits. The ages of the models can be any age, size, shape. If there is nudity involved, models under the age of 18 (or age of majority for the area you work) are not allowed to model. If there is a model under the age of 15, a parent models with the child model. Depending on the medium the artist uses, a pose may need to be held for an instant to several minutes. It is challenging work when you need to hold a pose for more than five minutes. Some models must pose for two hours or longer. As the poses become longer, you will be expected to endure the pain of holding a pose. An art model’s job isn’t the simple lounging that many people seem to think it is, and sometimes will be very painful during or the day after.

This brings us to the pay of an art model: usually very little or nothing. Most often, the model does the modelling for the art, or in the case of something like Dr. Sketchy, for a common cause where the money collected is donated to that cause. If you work for an art school or art center, the pay is something. Some artists pay for models, but the majority don’t. Few artists can pay the models they work more than a small amount of money. Frequently, art models dabble in the glamour model area to be paid.

If you are an art model doing life studies, be sure to make your limits known to the person hiring you. Even though the word “art” is used, some people will take it to mean what they think is art – and this could be just about anything. Don’t assume that an art model has certain limits. Because of this, the usual safety precautions should be taken as an art model (always bring someone as an escort if possible, not allow anyone other than a makeup artist or your escort to touch you, etc.) I wish I could say that there are standards on touch, talk, and behavior, but this varies from artist to artist, and location to location. The best thing to do is always talk with the person who hires you. Be aware that you may be asked for a “reference” photograph for an artist to complete their work. This choice is up to you as a model. If you do, a reference photograph would be 3 to 4 times what your normal pay would be. Don’t be surprised if the image taken shows up in an art gallery or online somewhere. I have heard this from models on occasion. If you sign a model release form, you have just given the picture taker all rights to do what ever they wish with the images they have captured. You are not obligated to sign one for any reason (although the artist may make it seem like they can’t do anything without it). Be advised that if you do model for a sculpture, you may have to tolerate lots of physical contact with one or more artists – they do this to “feel” the planes and make a more realistic copy of the original. If you do model for a sculpture, be sure to communicate what will be required by you as a model.

I hope this gives you some what of an idea what an art model is and the requirements. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line.

The infamous shameless plug at the end: If you are looking for a photographer for portraits, please take a look at XOIND Studios. More information can be found at XOIND Studios web page.

Posted in: Modeling