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Poses past, part VIII – Islington Arts Factory

14 November 2012

After nearly three years of ad hoc nudity in the name of art, it was at the Mud Circles performance shoot in February 2012 that I resolved to establish myself as a life model.

In March I joined the Register of Artists’ Models (RAM) as a provisional member. To become a full member I would need a thumbs-up from one of seven “RAM approved” auditioners. I emailed all seven and, one month later, finally got an opportunity.

I would be modelling at a life drawing session run by Monica Shanta Brown at the Islington Arts Factory in north London on 9 May. Through a gloomy, drizzly evening I arrived with plenty of time in hand and kicked my heels admiring the diverse artworks on display. Monica didn’t keep me waiting long. After exchanging a few friendly words we made our way to a small partitioned studio space, where we were soon to be joined by four or five artists.

While I undressed, Monica set up the central platform on which I would pose. She felt that deep blue would be the right colour sheet to stand me on; I like to imagine some curious significance in this choice beyond whim or taste or convenience, but I’ve failed to divine any. Still, it matched the lightweight dressing gown in my backpack.

The first session began with a series of short standing poses followed by a longer seated one. Then, after a break for a nice mug of tea, I draped myself unevenly in a horizontal sprawl across cushions and a box to close out the evening. I was pleased with the way it went – delighted with the drawings Monica produced – and ultimately fulfilled when RAM ‘full member’ status was conferred upon me the following day:
Steve Ritter (RAM 2437) Full Member (secure site).

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