Bodies and entitlement

CW- non-sexual nudity in photos, body fascism, misogyny, sexual harassment, sexual assault. Don’t even think about leaving a creepy comment.

I’ve been thinking a fair amount lately about bodies and entitlement to them. Mostly fuelled by a combination of being cat-called on the street a lot lately, and meaning to start going to life drawing class again but not being able to afford it/getting round to it.

I started going to life drawing classes as a teenage art student, and I think it did me the world of good even outside of the art training. Spending an evening every week staring intently at some naked middle aged hippies gave me a far more realistic idea of what bodies should or could look like than the media ever could, and a lack of concern about taking my own clothes off (aided by a lot of medical appointments over the years that have involved getting naked, and sometimes being watched by a load of medical students). The weird squeamishness about nudity is always something that has annoyed me about the culture of the UK.

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Life Drawing

Last night I went with some friends to a life drawing class in the basement of a pub in Stoke Newington. I went to life drawing most weeks when I was in 6th form, but have been very sporadically every since. I think the last time I went was 9 months ago. Usually they’re in some sort of neon-lit municipal hall. This one was in a purple room, with music playing and with the most flattering lighting I’ve ever seen at a life drawing class. It was nice, I’m going to go back. Usually returning to life drawing after a long break makes me want to cry in frustration, because my pen just won’t do what I need it to do, but it wasn’t so bad this time. I didn’t produce anything of any value, but it was a good start, and I’ve lost the knack of foreshortening and hands. Here are my sketches. I had to resort to taping them to the door and photographing them, because the paper was too big for the scanner. I always write comments all over my sketches. Is that the drawing equivalent of talking to yourself?

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