Monday, March 16, 2009

Would You Get Naked for Art?

I spent half an hour alone in my bedroom taking naked pictures of myself this afternoon.

Yup, sure did.

No, it wasn't for a late Valentine's gift for my hubby, nor am I trying to be included in next month's Real Chicks, Real Nekkid: The Pale and Pasty Edition. And I don't have any funny moles that I'm trying to get a closer look at, and I haven't gone off the deep end with rampant narcissism...yet. It's for art! All for art!

Gary Reef has unveiled his second Klimt inspired challenge. Not sure if you can read the link without signing up to his ning, so here's the gist:

You are to make a naked self portrait of yourself in Klimt style. You can show as much or as little flesh as you like. You can choose to cover your body with fantastic Klimt style fabrics or be more adventurous and show more skin.

Klimt’s artistic creed could be summed up by the idea of naked truth. “The truth is naked: this fact had been known by… artistic practice for centuries. But the (Secession movement)… was able to turn this statement around…nakedness is true.” (Rainer Metzger, quoted from Gustav Klimt: Drawings and Watercolours).“Whoever is committed to the truth must be committed to nakedness.”

Now there is enough blog material for a month of Sundays in this idea of "naked truth". It is an interesting one, although I do strongly suspect that in Klimt's particular case, a proclivity for painting nudes had just as much to do with him being a perv, as it did with any lofty artistic ideals. Still there is something to be said for the absolute vulnerability of being naked. When you are stripped of all props and pretensions, it is hard to be other than you really are, and it is exciting as an artist to think about capturing some of that undressed honesty. So I'm doing it...because I like the idea of exploring my truth through art, and I like the idea of being bold. And quite frankly, the whole idea kind of amuses me (clearly, Klimt isn't the only perv around here! ;)

But the logistics of a mild mannered mother of two, turning into a wanton, nude self portrait painting, art goddess are considerable. I quickly ruled out the idea of sketching whilst in the buff. I mean, who has that kind of time just to be naked? I can picture it now, two little kids banging on the bedroom door, demanding snacks and asking awkwardly penetrating questions, while I am in there, boobs smudged with charcoal, hunched over my paper scribbling feverishly away. And also, it's cold. So I snuck up to the bedroom this afternoon, while the light was good and the progeny were in school, to snap a few reference photos.

I was prepared to be be stabbing at that delete button, with my cheeks burning, as I vowed never, ever to eat chocolate again, and then vehemently emptying the recylce bin on my computer...twice, just to be sure. But you know, for a slightly chubby, pink and pale skinned lady, I am really not so bad. Who knew? With a little photoshop action, I'd really be laughin'.

But no. No photoshop. This is about truth.

So obstacle one, of the naked challenge has been sorted. Next up, when will I draw it? How covert should I be? Does it permanently scar 9 year old boys to see naked, but tasteful portraits of their mother? (Very tasteful, no full frontal for me, thank you very much. But there will be some bum action, and at least one nipple.) Is it ethically wrong to slim yourself down just a wee bit when working on a challenge about truth? (the truth is I want to slim myself down just a wee bit!) Should I add strategically placed bits of Klimt-style mosaic or go for the nekkid, nude gusto? Will I have the cohones to post the finished portrait on the GR ning? And what the heck should I do with all these extra pictures??? (Pale and Pasty Edition here I come!)

(painting above is Goldfish by Gustav Klimt)


  1. I love it! I love it! I love it! And there's so much to say about this post!

    I am so thrilled...and envious...and inspired. How lovely!

    "Whoever is committed to the truth must be committed to nakedness.”

    And yes, absolutely, absolutely, ABOSLUTELY, you can slim yourself down if you feel like it, girlfriend. It's an artist's perogative.

    Lovely, lovely, lovely. I can't stop smiling. It's just so damn cool.

  2. And uh. Needless to say, YES! I would get nekkid for art. Yes, I would. Especially if there was a dirtbag like Klimt shading my behind.

  3. This sounds like a horrible idea to me..........Girl Scout cookies are all over the place fact...I have been on a strict diet of eating nothing but cookies since Friday.

  4. well now. now that you are doing it, i'll have to as well i suppose. i was wondering how said process of disrobing for arts sake would go.... sounds not so bad from what posted... ok. fine.


  5. Mmmmmm...cookies! I hear you Julie. My hubby works for a major confectionery company, so our house is always full of candy and chocolates. *groan* It's so yummy and so horrible all at the same time. ;) (and thanks so much for stopping by!)

    @KD: Yay, you're doing it too! I don't wanna be the only nudie patootie! :)

    @Ms. Front Rowe: Your enthusiasm for the venture is very heartening! "...a dirtbag like Klimt shading my behind." Ha ha, awesome!

  6. yes. but only if it was tasteful and necessary to the plot.

  7. wow, you are so brave! about 10 years and 10 pounds ago i posed nude for an artist, so there are nekked paintings of me out there in the world. It's funny, one of my friends came back from a dinner in a local restaurant and said he saw one hanging over his table. I have never actually seen them, but i hear that one is nice.

    as for photoshop, my two cents are no actually. Our society's rather odd view on thin =beauty doesn't seem all that truthful and perhaps, just perhaps by resisting the urge to photoshop you can both see your own beauty and help others see theirs. That said, if you do feel more comfortable as your 'ideal' size, then no judgement here. heck the artist who painted me apparently made my boobs bigger, so artistic license and all that!! :P

  8. Serenity! Yay! Posing for your friend, so cool! I've always wished there was some beautiful nude portrait of me out there somewhere (preferably of my BK body...before kids!).
    And I agree, it has to be truthful. That is the whole point!

    But man, am I struggling with this one, and I think it has to do with a combination of frustration at my non existent figure drawing skills, plus being way too angsty right now to be feeling Klimt's dreamy, sensual style. I am feeling neither dreamy nor sensual, I am feeling crabby like Lucy from Charlie Brown. So I may be ignoring the "in Klimt's style" part of the challenge...


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