The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa City artists learn from drawing live models

The Artifactory hosted its weekly studio group at the Public Space One Close House featuring a nude model on Sunday.
Matt Sindt
The Public Space One sign is seen at a flea market at Public Space One Close House Oct. 16, 2022.

Freehand sketching is practically in my DNA, yet I had never felt so amateur when I began illustrating Leisha Stanek — my first time drawing a live model.

By cash or check, 12 artists were allowed into this Sunday’s morning studio group, “Long Pose,” hosted by Iowa City’s ArtiFactory. The event was located in the Dance Hall of Public Space One’s Close House and was set to provide three total hours of live nude art modeling.

I was among those 12 and upon entering a few minutes after the studio started, I was swiftly ushered into the room by attendees. The space was adorned with long, rectangular tables and chairs participants, and I took a seat right near the middle.

In front of me was Stanek — a living, breathing person, far from the wooden figurines or the stock images I’m used to.

One artist there was Robert Richardson. He told me he enjoyed drawing from real life because it gave him a chance to do a painting from start to finish. He also finds this helps his drawings to come to life on paper.

“For me, my drawings look three-dimensional,” he said.

I took out my sketchbook and pencil and began to work. As I drew, I couldn’t help but feel the utmost respect for Stanek. To have the courage to appear nude in front of strangers is no easy feat, but she pulled it off.

She sat atop a chair draped in a mountain of fluffy, purple throw blankets, looking like royalty with an unwavering expression of confidence. Her chin turned upward, and her eyes locked on the ceiling. Stanek’s left leg rested on top of her right heel.

Stanek held the pose to the best of her ability for around 20 minutes at a time, with breaks in between.

During each resting period, which gave both the participants and Stanek free time to engage in lively conversation. Most seemed to already know one other and chatted about past activities with fondness that brought warmth to the PS1 space.

“I’ve wished for [the] ArtiFactory to host a modeling group there since PS1 acquired it,” Stanek said during our conversation.

Stanek mentioned that her relationship with the ArtiFactory was symbiotic.

“Without humans willing to sit or stand nude in a room of strangers not moving for 20 minutes to much longer times, they [don’t have] a live drawing group,” she said.

Some artists also surveyed each other’s work around the room, so I decided to do the same. That was when I noticed all the different art mediums present, like watercolor and charcoal.

Since everyone was seated around Stanek, each canvas had a different vantage point. This resulted in a variety of different perceptions and creations; no two pieces were alike.

When the three hours had passed, I found myself wishing that I had more time. I chose to focus mainly on Stanek and not the blankets or the wall behind her.  From drawing Stanek, I found that I still had a lot more to learn about drawing anatomy.

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About the Contributor
Isabelle Lubguban
Isabelle Lubguban, Arts Reporter
Isabelle Lubguban is a third-year student at the University of Iowa. She is majoring in English with a concentration of Creative Writing. This is her first year at the Daily Iowan as an Arts Reporter, and she enjoys doing photo and video editing in her free time.