A naked body, a completed application and the confidence to stand nude in front of a class full of students was all Jamey Cohen needed to get his job as a nude figure model.
“I was curious about it and then I saw it on RamCT and I was like, ‘you know what? I’d at least like to check it out,” said Cohen, a sophomore majoring in health and exercise science. “I hadn’t done anything like it before — I watched one of the sessions and knew it was something I could do.”
Starting in January, Cohen began modeling for the ART-136 class — a freshman art course that focuses on the drawing of the human form. Students of the class are required to observe a human model — whether nude or clothed — and draw them as they pose.
“Initially, it kind of bugs you because you’re staring at a naked person for three hours,” said Rheya Eddings, freshman fine arts major who is enrolled in ART-136. “But, once you start seeing them as an object rather than a naked person it doesn’t bother you anymore.”
Changing perspective for the art students may have been a task conquered in little time, but for Cohen, the job is filled with ups and downs.
“There’s good things and bad things about it,” Cohen said. “One of the bad things is that it’s actually incredibly hard to stand still for so long and any position I’m in, somehow I end up uncomfortable after 20 minutes.”
For Cohen, standing still is the hardest part of being a model for art students. Yet, at $11.37 an hour for six hours of work a week, it isn’t too bad. Besides the pay, Cohen has seen quite a few positive aspects that came along with the job.
“It makes other things easier that aren’t really related to the job — if I can get naked in front of 15 people, than whatever I’m doing should be easy in comparison with that,” Cohen said.
Another positive outcome that Cohen has seen from holding the modelling job is his rise in self-confidence. At first, the job was a little nerve-wracking, but after a week of sessions, Cohen had the situation on lock.
“The first day was super awkward,” Cohen said. “In fact, the first five minutes is the worst — I’m just so nervous, but after those first five minutes you realize that you’ve been naked and they’ve already seen you so it doesn’t really matter anymore.”
The initial reaction of awkwardness is felt both by the students and by Cohen, but always goes away, he said. For Cohen, he merely accepts the moments and understands it’s his job — for the students, they tend to see the drawing of his body as learning experience.
“For me it’s super new and a really good opportunity to learn,” said Julie Kaspari, a freshman majoring in art. “I came from a really small Christian school in Littleton and there was nothing like this — it’s a really cool opportunity to learn the anatomy and do something I’ve never done.”
ART-136 is currently taught by Haley Hasler and Gary Keimig and students like Eddings and Kaspari would recommend it to any student going into the arts program. For Cohen, although the modelling has been an exciting experience, he doesn’t see himself continuing it.
“It’s really a unique job and it’s been fun, but it’s lost a lot of it’s thrill factor,” Cohen said. “I’m definitely not going to continue it mainly because I can’t stay still, but I would definitely recommend it — it’s a worthwhile experience and I gained a lot from it.”
Collegian Reporter Rick Cookson can be reached at email@example.com.