Many students take Associate Professor or Art Anthony Frudakis’ sculpting and drawing classes, yet many people forget the unsung heroes of the art department –– the student models.
Frudakis said that people don’t realize how difficult it is to model and the stamina and high pain threshold it requires.
“Models rarely receive the appreciation that they deserve,” Frudakis added.
Frudakis looks for a couple of things when he chooses models. Subtle features and symmetry of the face and proportion are two physical attributes he seeks out, but he doesn’t just look at the surface — he also judges whether or not a person has a collaborative and cooperative nature. He said fidgety models and compulsive talkers need not apply.
As a young child Frudakis modeled for his parents, who were both artists.
“I hated it,” he said. “I also modeled for a portrait my father made of me in college.”
One model Frudakis chose is sophomore John Taylor, who is posing for a sculpture of the archangel Michael beheading a demon with a sword. He has to stand on his toes, body curved around in an attack position.
Taylor said his friends, senior Elena Salvators and Katya Cavalaro, asked him to be their model for their sculpture of St. Michael.
“Probably because of my body,” Taylor said, “Many people tell me I have the body of a Greek god.”
Even posing shirtless in boxers, Taylor said he feels no awkwardness.
“I’m really used to lounging around in my boxers,” Taylor said, “I don’t care if it is for pay or leisure.”
The position of sculpture model pays $8 an hour, and Taylor said it is a good way to make money. During his time on the platform, Taylor enjoys listening to Frudakis’ “fantastic” music, conversing with his friends, and watching the unveiling of his form.
Taylor joked that his only concern is that the sculpture does him and St. Michael justice, and that it is enshrined somehow in living memory.
“Legend,” Taylor said, clarifying his vision.
“If you are looking into a career in modeling, the job is full, because I’m there best there is.”
Taylor isn’t the only model in the art department, however. Freshman Mary Catherine Meyer, like Taylor, is a first-time model. Unlike Taylor, she is a head model, posing in a natural position with no facial expression as the sculptors sculpt her face.
“I sit in a chair on a platform,” Meyer said. “I wear clothes — I’m not sure if I’d be comfortable otherwise.”
Meyer said it was awkward at first, but she no longer feels put on the spot because of how considerate Frudakis is toward her.
Meyer said she hasn’t seen anything completed because the class has been working on the sculpture of her head all semester, and still have a ways to go.
“It is interesting to see my face broken down,” Mary said. “And to hear them talk about the dimensions of my face.”
During the two-and-a-half-hour sessions, Mary said it can be difficult to stay alert, but she enjoys spending time in prayer and reflection as she is sculpted.
Olivia McAlexander, is a figure model like Taylor, but for Frudakis’ drawing class. At first, she was hesitant to have people drawing her body –– she showed up the first day in leggings, not realizing proper attire was a bikini.
“I thought, ‘How many people do I want staring and drawing me accurately,’” McAlexander said. “But it really wasn’t bad.”
McAlexander said she enjoys watching the progress of the drawings –– from sketch to shading.
“It really does look like me,” McAlexander said. “It is accurate and everything.”
At the end of the day, these models recognize the service they do for the cause of art. Taylor mentioned the true purpose behind his labor.
“I think Aristotelian about it,” Taylor said, “I am the formal cause for that piece of art because the sculpture embodies my form.”