Live Nude Girl

FOR DOWNLOAD MORE GALLERY Kathleen Rooney spent five years as an artists' model, and her forthcoming book "Live Nude Girl" is an "occupational memoir". In a recent interview, she candidly recalled her experience.
I started doing the job because it pays very well and I needed the money to pay for school, but then even after I’d settled into a “real” job as a creative writing professor, I kept modeling on the side, I think because I’m sort of addicted to it. More abstractly, the book is an exploration about the relationship between being made into an object and objectifying others.
Rooney also touches upon the matter of posterity, of how the body withers but the art endures, so posing was, to her, a means to achieve a bit of immortality. She also confesses to the eroticism of posing, and the desire to be a part of something bigger than herself.

For most people, the thought of taking off all of your clothes and standing in a room full of clothed strangers who are there for the sole purpose of examining every inch of your skin is beyond the realm of possibility. The experience is much more intimate when there is only the model and a single artist, and history is full or stories of artists and models merging in more ways than artistically. Either way, nude modelling has to be one of the most intensely liberating experiences one can have.

In nudism, everyone is naked, so nobody is "on display", or objectified. In fact, most nudists make a concerted effort to maintain eye contact and not stare at anyone else's body. It's OK to look, but it's not OK to state. With a nude artists' model, staring is required.

In another article, Rooney talks about her first time modelling.
"The first 30 seconds were intensely weird," Rooney said. "It's a shock for model and the class because many artists are students who have never done it, then everyone realizes it's just a body, and it's just art."
My first experience with a nude art model was during the year I took off between high school and college, when I took a life drawing course at a local museum. Prior to that first class, the only experience in my memory with live nude developed female breasts was one time seeing my mother getting out of the tub, or as part of teenage sexual activity with girlfriends. Rooney is absolutely correct when she says that after the initial "shock", it becomes just another exercise in art.

I then became very interested in the human body as art. Finding willing subjects hard to come by, I turned the camera on myself. At the time we lived in a heavily wooded area, and I was able to wander around nude, setting up the self-timer and improvising poses. My profile photo is one of the images from that time.

I then persuaded my girlfriend to pose for me. I remember her stripping down and getting on my bed, her legs bent to one side. The experience was erotically charged, my hand was a bit shakier than usual, my pace quickened by the beating of my heart. Sketching her nude body on that day was the only time I ever became aroused while drawing a nude model, and the session ended in intense lovemaking. I have to confess, at that time in our relationship, almost everything we did ended in intense lovemaking.

Kathleen Rooney believes that her experience as an artists' model, a profession she intends to continue, is true liberation, and she doubts that the girls who flash their boobs for bucks are in the same league. Art modelling is a completely different world than pornography.
"One of the many appealing aspects of art modeling is that one doesn't have to be a conventionally 'beautiful' looking person to do it. In its own small way, art modeling carves out a space in which beauty can mean and be signified by more than one highly-doctored, media-packaged, easily consumable concept of Paris Hiltonian hotness."
In this respect, Rooney's experience parallels that of a nudist, where the average body suddenly becomes beautiful in its uniqueness. At a nudist event, nothing is doctored or packaged, it's starkly real.

Nude art modelling is perhaps the last bastion of acceptable nudity in public. Nudists are merely tolerated as a fringe group in society, forced to practice in isolation. Even nudity in locker rooms and spas is increasingly frowned upon. A woman who makes a career out of being a nude artists' model is not marginalized (yet) by society.

One night I would like to attend a life drawing class where both the model and all the students are nude. I'm sure it's been done before, and it's actually a very good idea for an activity for any nudist group. I'm going to propose it for my local group, I'll let you know if we can make it happen.

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