Nude modeling provides an interesting perspective on art


Bailey Johnson, sophomore art education major, uses charcoal and water to portray nude model Illyana Rodriguez in ARTS 200, Wednesday. The life drawing class is focused on teaching students how to properly draw human form without barriers.

By Trenier Ward

Most students are not required by their instructors to draw nude men and women.

But the students in the ARTS 200 class are. Art instructor Jeremy Gosser said observational drawing is easy to teach. It’s more of an exercise than an art.

“It’s very clinical,” Gosser said. “You don’t really see the model. The model might as well be a mannequin.”

Some of the students in that class do not find drawing naked people weird. Bailey Johnson, sophomore art education major, said students who draw people nude don’t find it awkward once they understand what they are doing.

“She’s more of an object, and we’re just learning the anatomy,” Johnson said. “We know nothing about her. It’s like the same thing as drawing a vase for us.”

Johnson had to draw Illyana Rodriguez, sophomore pre-physical therapy major, naked.

Rodriguez said she does not find people drawing her naked odd. The students in the class are not looking at her as a person but as an object, she said.

“It’s actually really fascinating,” said Rodriguez. “I love how people see me.”

Some people who try to model nude realize it’s not for them, said Cheryl Fuller, School of Arts office support specialist and secretary for the studio division. Some models become uncomfortable and eventually quit.

“They’re not obligated to us,” Fuller said. “They can come and go as they please.”

The application process for models eliminates people who may not be comfortable working nude. Fuller said this semester she and her team focused on work study employees so they could stretch their budgets. Her team looks at their schedule to see how available they will be and touch base with them by phone to see if they’re interested.

Despite a shortage of models in the past, this year over 100 people applied to be nude models. Fuller and her team chose to advertise through student employment on NIU’s website.

“We actually have to turn people down because we get so many applicants,” Fuller said.

Despite many applicants being turned down, the applicants who are hired on as models go through a series of simple procedures to make the transition to a classroom setting comfortable.

Rodriguez went through the transition to nude modeling smoothly, but she faced difficulties when she was spotted outside of the classroom. She said being nude in front of people she didn’t know was awkward at first. However, being naked in front of people she’s had class with continues to be awkward.

Rodriguez said she eventually adjusted, and said with a $10-an-hour pay, she made a wise choice.