Jesus is not always naked in the paintings. It’s a fact. However, the nakedness of Jesus is the first thing that my potential male models ask me about – “Am I going to be naked?”
My search for a perfect Jesus (model) took almost two months. And I did find one! Working at the market in the Parco delle Cascine in Florence, Italy. Unfortunately for me he didn’t say yes or no.
I know that many people are interested in posing for a painting or being in the photo session. And even posing nude. I know that I have to talk to a potential model one on one. And it was my mistake with my ideal Jesus from the market. – His friends were there. And of course they started teasing him. One of his friends (a bit older guy with almost no teeth) jokingly (I hope) offered his candidature for the role of Virgin Mary.. Well, yes… Who wouldn’t be confused and embarassed around friends when asked to be God in a painting? So was also my ideal Jesus.
I must be honest and say that for me it was not easy at all – with my oh-not-so-perfect Italian language – to start talking to complete strangers and ask them if they might be interested to pose for me. Strange, right?
Would I do it again? – Probably I would. Definitely I would go again to that guy during other market days and talk to him and if I am lucky I will have him pose for me for my other paintings.
Here is what I learned and what I would tell my fellow visual artists:
- You will be able to find models for posing or photo shoots even in a place or a country where you don’t know anyone
- I promise, it will feel awkward and uncomfortable first but it’s a great exercise for your confidence
- People will be interested and will listen to and ask you questions about your art or the ongoing project because we (artists) are a pretty rare thing to many people and we don’t happen every day in their lives
We – artists – are a pretty rare thing to many people and we don’t happen every day in their lives
- If you are in a store or at the market and talking to potential model who actually works there – don’t just talk. Buy something from them! Even if you don’t need anything. Something small.
- Be nice and positive with those who start teasing you or laughing (like the friends of my ideal Jesus)
- From my experience I can also say that one of the hardest things is to get them to the photo set or to you studio for posing. It’s possible but not always easy to fit the posing in their schedules. Getting them on the day of the photo shoot to the studio is an other story. You can suggest ordering a taxi for them if you really want that model.
- Have a business card ready. In a crowded place with friends making jokes (like it was in my case) it was very convenient to give my ideal Jesus my business card while I paid for a pizza I ordered from him.
Have fun! And if you find a perfect Jesus – let me know!