It was great to see him again. Casey has a very different body type from what we usually see in the life drawing studio. Most of the models here in Austin, TX are young, thin, fit white women (not that there's anything wrong with that, as Seinfield might say). I get asked all the time to book models who don't fit that mold, whether in terms of age, ethnicity, gender, body type.
This is what most non-artists don't get. They think drawing the nude model is all about sex. Actually, that's the last thing it's about. We could have a model who looks like she walked straight out of a Playboy centerfold, and, during the break, you'd hear male artists saying things like, "Man, I just can't get her nose right!" or "The foreshortening on this pose is such a challenge!" No, life drawing is about the artistic exploration of the human body, in all its wonderful varieties.
Here in 21st Century America, young, thin, white, fit and conventionally beautiful/handsome -- ah, to have all those qualities if to be elevated to the highest level of worth. To be old is to be obsolete. To be overweight implies moral weakness. To be 'out of shape" means laziness. I was amazed and appalled one day to hear one black high school girl scornfully call another girl "Big Nose." Wh-a-a-a-at???? A black friend told me she herself did not have "good hair" and she hoped her baby would take after her husband instead. He had "good hair," which, being translated, means straight, not kinky. A Hispanic friend told me she doesn't like outdoor swimming pools because spending time in the sun makes her skin darker. Aren't we past this? Apparently, we are not. The message of the dominant culture is loud, clear and deafening.
In the book of Genesis (accepted as God's word in all three of the Abrahamic faiths), we read: "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." (Genesis 1:27) Does God have a physical appearance and made us to took like Him? We read the lines in a spiritual sense -- that God put within us a spirit, a soul, and that therefore we are, all of us, endowed with inherent worth and dignity. For me, life drawing is one way to express this truth.
And, as promised, here is Casey. Great guy. He's been married 30 years, rides a Harley, and gets Santa gigs at Christmas. Salt of the earth.