Naked ambition

Naked ambition

There are 35 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from Dec 2, 2008, titled Naked ambition. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

Rex Troxell has this dream. "I can't get my clothes off," he says. "You're trying to get them off, and you can't." For most of us, being unable to get naked in public is hardly a nightmare.

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Chino Valley, AZ

#1 Dec 2, 2008
A very nice article on a subject that is hard to write about. Well done.
mom of 6

United States

#2 Dec 2, 2008
Excellent article! I'm surprised the Trib actually printed it. As a working artist...teacher and former artist's model...this is actually a very large industry. Not regulated, totally run by the people involved, word of mouth seems to govern hiring and "firing". Good models are worth their weight in gold! As an artist who specializes in the figure (as well as teaches life drawing and anatomy) models are essential to my livelihood.
Its almost a game to tell people (non-artist folk) about being a model years ago...its fun to watch their face contort with questions!
Models are needed to make the paintings and prints people hang in their homes, offices, and public places. Studying the figure teaches basics not found elsewhere that translate to all factions of art. Landscape, Still Life, Abstract, you name it...its in the figure....if you dare to look! ;)
Vice President

Hanover Park, IL

#3 Dec 2, 2008
The part that really hit home for me is the funny looks you get from people who don't understand.

I grew up with a hippie Art Professor of an Auntie, and off and on throughout childhood my cousins and I modeled for her and her classes.

But we soon learned not to disclose that fact to more conservative people (especially certain members of our family) because they'd automatically jump to the conclusion that nudity = sex and they'd freak out thinking our Aunt was taking us to orgies or something.
Trib Reader

Atlanta, GA

#4 Dec 2, 2008
What is with these naked stories? The other day was an article all about naked cruises and resorts. These Tribune reporters are getting horny at the Trib Tower. I figure the next naked story will be about Naked Social Clubs in the Chicagoland area.

I did study art, and one does not need to draw naked people to be good in human form. Believe me, you are not drawing good looking bodies.

We are all born naked, and die with a good set of clothes on in the casket. Want to get naked? Close the door, shut the drapes, and chase your lover around the house.

Or go to a nudist resort, and walk around. The men can wave at others with using their hand. The women will have to shave to avoid looking nasty in the southern regions. I would recommend Jamaica or St. Marten.

No big deal. The Europeans really get into it. They have the entire family with them. Florida wants to have naked beaches now to support local govt. programs. Only naked beach in Dade, brings in over $140 million a year from tourists.

Can you imagine Oak Street beach being a nudist beach? Lake Shore Dr. would have hundreds of car accidents within that area. The Catholic Church and the Cardinal would protest. Bleacher Bums would leave Wrigley, and bring cameras to the beach. Mayor Daley would charge $100 to park your car nearby.

Want to draw someone naked? Try doing a drawing of yourself in a full mirror.

Chicago, IL

#5 Dec 2, 2008
HEY... I took classes at the American Academy of Art and the men were not nude (boo), the women were... I demand a do over!:)

Great article Trib about one of those quirky aspects of life that one might ponder at 3am...

Evanston, IL

#6 Dec 2, 2008
$16 to $25 an hour? Much more than I got as an art model when I was in grad school in the early 1990s! Modeling can extremely difficult, exhausting work. Models deserve every penny.
former model

United States

#7 Dec 2, 2008
I've been on both sides of the fence: artist and model. I decided to model when we had some really bad models and I figured I could do better. Bad model had nothing to do with body type, but body awareness, creating interesting shapes with their bodies rather than boring symmetrical poses.
When I modeled, I did not allow people who were not drawing or painting in the room when I was naked. When drawing, an artist is looking at you differently. S/he isn't ogling.

Normal, IL

#8 Dec 2, 2008
I am a graphic designer, went to college for art, had my first experience drawing from life at the School of the Art Institue when I was in high school. I had an amazing professor who is still at it, and I attribute much of my success in applied art to my baseline skills in drawing and visualization in fine art.
It's very simple. If you can draw the figure well, you can draw almost ANYTHING else masterfully well. It is a time-honored rite of art school, and essential to the development of fine and applied artists. I am wary of any young designer I meet/work with that does not have good drawing skills.
The models themselves are a varied lot, some good and some bad. The best are indeed "worth their weight in gold". Earlier this year I participated in a Sunday afternoon drawing session with other art people and the model was fantastic. The poses were excellent and seemed familiar, and I realized that the model was recreating a lot of poses from well-known paintings & old master drawings. It's a treat when the model is that knowledgeable.
Thanks Trib

Chicago, IL

#9 Dec 3, 2008
Wonderful story! While I've never modeled (since I believe the best models are confident with their bodies - no matter what the shape), I've taken quite a few life drawing classes as a student. I'm reiterating what others here have already said. There's absolutely nothing sexual about it. As an artist, you can literally spend all that time getting one eye right or finding the right curve underneath the model's arm. It's all about shape and form, capturing the mood of the setting and trying to translate that onto paper. In the last class I took, there were male and female models ranging in age from their early twenties to a man who had to have been in his sixties.

United States

#11 Dec 3, 2008
Is this really something that is newsworthy? Nude modeling at art schools has gone on for eons, why is it something special now?

The only story I'd read would be if Mr. Zell walked around the Tribune offices in the buff, that might be worth a few line of agate type. Headline suggestions could read, "One Zell of a hotdog? or "Weiner Patrols the Halls at the Trib? "

Since: Dec 08

Wilmette, IL

#12 Dec 3, 2008

This is Mandy (one of the models from the article).

I have an entire series of self portraits while modeling, entitled "Reflections of the Muse." If you would like to see the series and read my artist statement, please go to me website:

Have a great day!

Mandy :-)
artemisia gentileschi

Arlington Heights, IL

#13 Dec 3, 2008
Trib Reader wrote:
I did study art, and one does not need to draw naked people to be good in human form. Believe me, you are not drawing good looking bodies.
You did not study art because you missed the point on so many levels. NUDE, not naked (there is a difference) models are not victoria secret models. They are there for the study of the human form. People are beautiful in all different shapes and sizes and that is what students are to study.

This was a great article on a delicate subject. It was very interesting to hear about the other side of the canvas.
From Canada

Ottawa, Canada

#14 Dec 3, 2008
Trib Reader wrote:
I did study art, and one does not need to draw naked people to be good in human form. Believe me, you are not drawing good looking bodies.
That's the point. I don't think you actually studied art. Have you actually done a figure drawing class? The fact that you aren't drawing "good looking bodies." IS THE POINT! This isn't playboy or FHM! If you are an artist you appreciate, or learn to, the beauty in different shapes, forms, textures, characters, etc. It takes a mature person to do that. There is a difference between nude and porn and if you can't understand that you shouldn't be in art.

Why is studying the human form important? It's classical training and it's proven immeasurable valuable for centuries. The best artists and musicians are typically classically trained. This is no different.
Bob - Wheeling

Chicago, IL

#16 Dec 3, 2008
Very good posts from the arts community. I have never been exposed to it, so I don't understand it. However, the posts really helped.


P.S. We need more discussions like these in the web blogs. Most of what I have seen is just venting with hatred, and lacking total substance.

Downers Grove, IL

#17 Dec 3, 2008
Yes, a good model is well worth their weight in gold! They really know how to move/pose well. It is not an easy job. My congrates to those models who do it well!
uh oh

Chicago, IL

#18 Dec 3, 2008
Truth is some artists get models to abuse them.
Let's tell that story.

Florence, KY

#19 Dec 3, 2008
As someone who modeled for artists for about 10 years, and who also has done a lot of figurative work on the other side of the easel, this story is much appreciated. It's a very demanding job, both mentally and physically, but I enjoyed the challenge of coming up with interesting poses and staying as still as possible.

I started modeling for those same reasons mentioned: as someone who drew a lot of people, I saw some awful models, and liked the idea of trying it myself.

United States

#21 Dec 3, 2008
Great article, it helps push the topic of the human body and self-image. I wonder if the drawing process might not be a good therapy for someone with body image disorders like bulimia, anorexia.

I am not an artist, but I appreciate art that really captures mood, and variety in the human experience, and not the airbrushed poses in magazines. The laughter in a dinner, the sorrow of a lost child, etc. Art that is real engages me, and draws me in. "Polished" models, just don't create a believable image.

Great article.

Hanover Park, IL

#22 Dec 3, 2008
Reality wrote:
There's a word for the sexual gratification these so-called "models" get from posing naked in front of strangers.
Cleaning it up, and pretending it's sophisticated, just makes it look acceptable.
I guess it's fine if it keeps them from doing it in front of little children.
I seriously doubt that many models do it for sexual gratification purposes because if they were getting off on it everyone would instantly know - at least as far as the male models are concerned!

Chicago, IL

#23 Dec 3, 2008
There is nothing sensational or exhibitionist or sexual about being a nude model. In fact, it can be very de-sexualizing to the model, to have one's body be seen and reacted to ONLY as a set of lines and curves and colors.

It also requires a lot of body awareness and even physical fitness to be able to maintain perfect stillness over a period of 45 minutes to an hour. Most of us are able to remain standing on our feet for an hour by moving around a bit, bending one knee and then the other, resting weight on one foot and then the other, and so on. A model has to remain almost entirely still.

I think that anybody who finds the image a sexual or scandalous or exhibitionist one is saying a LOT more about him or herself.:-)

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