Baring it all for art

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Here is an article I wrote with a colleague for the Mast March 13, 2015:

RHIANNON BERG
Guest Writer

 

MATTHEW SALZANO
A&E Editor

Lutes can learn from nude models in the classroom, but Pacific Lutheran University students aspiring to be nude models on campus need to keep their clothes on.

Nude modeling is used to hone a new artist’s skills, said associate professor of art and design Michael Stasinos.

Unlike inanimate objects, even the most unskilled eye can recognize errors in drawings of the human body, Stasinos said in a March 6 interview. It doesn’t take a trained artist to notice uneven limbs or awkward body proportions; therefore, the artist must try their best to be accurate.

“We all have an innate feeling from just looking at our ourselves and people our entire lives,” Stasinos said. “It [is] a subject that gives the student no excuse but to do their best… you can’t really fudge it.”

First-year Jorge Molinero is an aspiring artist who took Stasinos’ figure drawing course this term hoping to improve his artistic skills.

“Before [the class] I would draw a person, but it would be off,” he said. Now that he is further in the course, he recognizes “there’s so much that goes into drawing a person that I didn’t know about before.”

While Molinero was striving to enhance his artistic talents, junior Kyle Parsons said he was hoping to gain further experience as a nude model.

The art department relies on contact from models themselves or references from other universities rather than soliciting models.

Parsons expressed interest in modeling for Stasinos’ class in Spring 2014. After reaching out to the professor again last fall, he was scheduled for modeling sessions in the spring section of Drawing 2.

Parsons attended two of his scheduled modeling sessions on February 23 and 25.
“At first I was nervous,” Parsons said. “As soon as I started doing it, it was really easy [and] I was super comfortable, and it was a lot of fun, too.”

Both Stasinos and Parsons said it was helpful for students to draw models with varying body types.

“I also wanted to do it because a lot of the models in the class… are in their 40s or 50s, and they’re not necessarily in the best shape,” Parsons said. “I think it’s good that the students get [someone] who is fit and can actually model and they can actually draw the muscles they’re learning in class.”

In an interview with The Mooring Mast on March 9, Stasinos and JP Avila, associate professor and chair of the department of art and design, said hiring a PLU student as a nude model was a violation of an unwritten but assumed art department policy.

Stasinos said Parsons was hired when a male model had a medical issue and dropped out of a scheduled session. Parsons was hired as a replacement.

Stasinos admitted this decision bent the rules, and decided to re-establish them.

On the morning of March 10, Parsons received an email from Stasinos which said he would not be invited to his previously scheduled sessions on April 27 and 29.
Parsons doesn’t think PLU students should be stopped from pursuing nude modeling on campus.

“I think that I’m an adult [and] Dr. Stasinos has in the syllabus that, if you’re not comfortable with drawing people naked, this isn’t a class for you,” Parsons said. “I think that [the art department] should overlook that [I’m a student] and if a student wants to model for an art class, they should be allowed to.”

Parsons will still pursue his career in nude modeling, but hopes he will be able to do it on-campus again.

“I’m really disappointed that I can’t come back,” Parsons said. “I hope PLU will change their policy.”

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