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(1) how modelling per se affects the individual, with respect to their deeper emotions and feelings, and
(2) bearing these results in mind , the relationship with the Deal Group as opposed to any other art group or class.
"Being nude and able to express myself in this way gives me an enormous uplift. I go home feeling relaxed and happy and this is something I cannot get in any other way."
"For me, modelling is a whole new way of seeing my body and I feel liberated because of this. Normally we see ourselves in terms of fat or thin, lumpy or bony. When I model I know that I'm in front of people who see me in terms of shapes and lines and I can let go of all the ordinary everyday insecurities about my body because they don't matter here. The nudity doesn't bother me because I don't feel I have anything to be ashamed of. Every body is valid and equal in life drawing."
"I am left with a real buzz because the group involves the model in artistic process. There is certainly a freedom in being nude. The atmosphere you and Julie create means I can feel relaxed and enjoy the experience."
"I would describe it as liberating, relaxing and a good way to feel content or at least comfortable with yourself and your body. So many people spend time focusing on what they perceive to be the negative aspects of their bodies and I feel like suggesting to them that they learn to appreciate what they've got and to have confidence in themselves by getting naked."
"I don't know if it is the meditative effect that provides the main therapeutic experience for me though, although I do recognise this aspect. I think the therapeutic effect I feel has more to do with the absence of feeling powerless over my body - I suppose feeling a 'power' over my body - not just body, but more than that, I don't really know what I mean and can't elaborate but am trying to figure it out!"
"I have now modelled for a couple more groups as a result of modelling for you so guess that I have overcome the fear of getting naked."
"I first tried modelling with the thought in the back of my mind that I should be open to giving new things a go. To be honest at first I was a little dubious about going to an unknown man?s house and having a "try out" session but Malcolm was really reassuring and we spoke several times on the phone and via email and he even put me in touch with another model who helpfully gave me a review of the group. When I took off all of my clothes for the first time in front of Malcolm at our semi-audition it felt perfectly natural and I wasn't even half as nervous as I had been on the train journey there! I think sometimes the thought of nudity in front of an audience is more nerve wracking than the nudity itself."
"I have to say I enjoy it so much that I wouldn't give up even if I won the lottery. It is a bit intimidating at first but you guys at Deal make things very comfortable so you soon get over the initial shock of 'Oh my god I'm naked in front of a bunch of strangers and they're all looking at me."
"Modelling is a great leveller and very good for one's mental health. I think it gives you a new level of confidence and teaches you to be comfortable in your skin, and maybe get over vain anxieties about flabby bits or bags under your eyes."
"I'd been a naturist for a couple of years so I had no problems or objections to removing my clothes in front of someone that I'd never met! I remember that you and your wife made me feel extremely welcome and relaxed and I definitely looked forward to the opportunity to model in front of the group."
"I just saw the advert and subsequently came for a test. I wasn?t even sure I had enough confidence and self esteem to model but was challenged by the prospect. Being nude isn?t easy, I guess that during the poses its fine, but I like to cover the naughty bits when finished, I know that that is what is expected and I'm happy to oblige...though by the end of a session it seems easier to walk about naked. It certainly feels beneficial though I can?t define why that is so. Now I absolutely love it. I find it a perfect time to relax and to recharge my self esteem as I had always previously thought I had a pretty ugly body. I almost expected to fell insecure and panicky before a session, but that didn?t happen?quite the opposite.
"It was really nice to be welcomed into a group where the model was so involved and not just a tool for the students. In part I'm sure this was to do with the overall age and focus of the different groups (students trying to achieve marks vs group looking to explore artistic interpretation) but, as I said, the level of involvement was great, even into the tea-break when I had a chance to chat to a few people."
"I was a different story (from my partner when I came to model) but I must say your group made me feel at ease and I have now modelled for a couple more groups as a result of modelling with you."
"Having climbed the first hurdle (the try-out) I then got to model for the group. They were all so friendly that instantly I felt at ease. My first thoughts at my first group session were that it was all rather surreal. It seemed strangely dreamlike to be the only one naked in a room full of people. At first I was too shy to watch the artists and would pick a spot on the wall to stare at but now if I happen to be in a pose where I can watch two or three artists sketch me I love to do so. It?s so interesting to see how it all comes together and it?s given me a new confidence. Everybody sees me differently so any body hang ups/paranoia I have tend to be mine and mine alone. This is a realisation that no other job could have given me and when applied to a wider perspective it reminds me that it?s very easy sometimes to become self absorbed and to forget others perspectives. I wouldn't say that for me there's anything remotely sexual about it. If anything its more relaxing and I enjoy doing something that gets me out of Canterbury for a while. Better still, this job comes with personal mementos - pictures that are kindly donated. I can't stress enough how nice the people in this group are."
"....and the modelling which I really enjoyed. I greatly appreciate how you always send the e-mails after a modelling session - it makes the whole experience even more lovely (and brings a feeling of 'security' after having modelled nude in front of the group)."
"If I remember correctly I think the Deal Life Group was the first life drawing class that I had modelled for so it was all new to me. I however remember how relaxed the group was and how totally unphased they were with a young naked male standing in front of them. I think that went a long way to creating a relaxed and informal environment for both myself and the artists to work in. As you know, I have modelled in several different places for various people and I can honestly say that I have always enjoyed working at Deal the most. I have gotten to know the regulars over the years and I hope that they have gotten to know me too. One of the things that constantly amuses me is when I model at places which provide a screen to dress and undress behind. Everyone there is going to see me naked and so I really don't see the point in hiding behind something to take my clothes off and put them back on again. Having said that, if it makes the model feel more relaxed then I see no harm in it. I certainly have no issue with sitting with the artists and talking with them during the break without putting anything on and I even remember talking to one of the girls that attended one of the Deal sessions who said that she'd been naked on the beach when she was on holiday and had no issue with it! Seeing yourself in someone else?s eyes, having permission to view their personal interpretations, is both humbling and an honour as far as I am concerned. It's definitely liberating, exciting, fun and relaxed when working with the group and my only regret is that it's been so long since I have modelled with everyone. (This model is working away at the moment.)"
"The Deal group was the first group I ever modelled for, and the group's easy-going nature quickly put me at ease. Having a friend who was already an established model with the Deal group was a big help too. I found I took my positive experiences from your group to other groups I modelled for, and was often told the artists found me very comfortable with my nudity and also quite active in the session (not just physically but also being proactive as to how the session would run).
I've always enjoyed my time with the group and hope to perhaps do a session some Saturday."
"I love the company of people who are very talented and so expressive in their art. It really pleases me to be a part of such a group. Add to that the fact that everyone is so friendly and so welcoming; I can't imagine not liking it. I have often worried about moments when nature stirs and you start to panic that something untoward or inappropriate might occur, but fortunately it goes away and my guess is it wouldn't unsettle the group as they are always so natural and in their element. Anyway the standing still comes easy too as I am generally deprived of the opportunity to stand around and laze away the morning...great stress reliever it really is.
I generally come away feeling I've done something really worthwhile , I've had good friendly and intelligent company, sometimes a bit of a giggle too and the chance to mix with people with whom I wouldn't normally come into contact. They (the artists ) I consider to be friends and if I can help out then I would gladly do so In short I feel 7 feet tall and full of confidence after a session. Long may it remain so."