The study of the nude has been a staple of artists for hundreds of years. Why? Because of the challenge. All but the most repressed people know what a naked human body looks like and are therefore able to tell at a glance if a painting of it looks “wrong”, even if they can’t identify exactly why. Also, for realist painters, it’s getting skin to look alive. You’d be amazed how many colours there are in skin when you actually look - not just pinks and browns, but oranges, greens, purples … all of which change depending on the light.

If you’ve ever wondered … no, there’s nothing sexy at all about painting the nude from life. It’s actually very clinical because as an artist, you’re not seeing body parts, you’re far more concerned with shape, colours, shadows, the fact the model keeps fidgeting, the fact that you have to be conscious of time and give them regular breaks … if you’ve ever thought about attending a life drawing class but were worried you’d feel embarrassed or aroused, I encourage you to go. You’ll be surprised how very normal it becomes, and how quickly you forget you’re looking at a naked person.

Honestly, the world is full of war, famine, hate, greed … and yet people lose their minds if someone’s nipple falls out of a dress or they dare to wear something “provocative” (or nothing at all).  It’s all just skin, people. Does it really deserve so much attention? Nudity is natural, clothes are not, and I truly believe that people are damaged by a lack of exposure to it because it’s the root of body consciousness. Once you’ve seen enough naked people and all their perfectly normal “flaws”, you realise that you’re perfectly normal as well. Not perfect, but normal. Ask anyone with a so-called “perfect” body and they’ll immediately talk about the bits they’re not happy with. Don’t believe me? Participate in a Spencer Tunick photo shoot as I did in 2010. Once you’ve been surrounded by over 5,000 naked people, you forever lose the ridiculous prejudices and fears that you’ve been indoctrinated with via the media and conservatism.

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