One of my loyal readers sent me a question a month or so ago and I’m finally popping it into my blog now… yup, that’s the way life has been recently… but as a result I have something to add to it as well. First, the question:
At what point is a model justified in refusing to continue because of the conduct of the group? I recently went to draw at an open studio session at which I definitely would have called a time-out if I had been the model.
The session I attended has a regular coordinator. Unfortunately, she couldn’t attend this week, so she arranged for a substitute. While the model was trying to hold a 20-minute standing pose, the fill-in coordinator chatted incessantly (and at full volume) with a member of the group. This apparently inspired another pair to also hold a loud conversation (neither conversation had anything to do with drawing the model who was standing there in front of the group). The model seemed distracted by all of the chitchat and he repeatedly had to readjust his pose, but he perservered to the end. I found the conversation so distracting that I could not draw, so I left the session at the end of the pose and sent a complaint to the regular coordinator (she got at least one other complaint, and promised that this sort of thing would not happen again).
If I had been the model, I would have broken the pose and announced that I could not continue under these conditions. Would that have been the right thing to do, or should a model just stick it out so long as the conditions are not threatening or physically intolerable?
This past week I had a situation of my own, not with a particularly loud conversation, but a topic that I would have preferred not to be overhearing, regarding the apparent coverup of sexual abuse at Penn State. To clarify, this is something I had been part of discussing many times in my outside life, but when I come into a room to model, I am looking for a bit of a sanctuary from the rest of the world.
So, any thoughts out there on the model’s rights and responsibilities regarding conversations that happen in a room during a session? At what point do you break a pose and request some attention to what is going on? There are two people in the room who are paid to be there – the instructor and the model – does that status alter what should be tolerated?
Would love to hear some thoughts about this topic.