Covid creates a virtual renaissance for life painting


Alida pepper is Staring at melancholy. Trapped in an apartment in San Francisco, she worried that all her plans would be shattered. For several months, Pepper is a full-time life drawing model. He has been working overtime to save money for the upcoming surgery, and has been setting aside extra cash to spare time to recover. Now being forced to leave work is threatening to cancel everything. Of course, she is not alone. This is March 2020, Coronavirus disease The pandemic, everyone is working hard. But Pepper is in a very special dilemma: how to continue in a profession that relies on close observation and attraction.

In the second week of the lockdown, she found something that felt like a solution. Pepper himself is also an artist. He drew sketches for Aaron Bogan, who is also a model, while trying to model on Instagram Live. Inspired, she tested different software together with the community-Zoom, Blue Jeans, Instagram to see if she might work like Bogan. It seems that virtual life drawing may be the solution Pepper needs.

Over the centuries, the standard template for life painting has not changed much: a moldy studio, a model posing on a podium, and a group of artists working on an easel. However, as the Covid-19 lockdown took effect, studios were empty, models stayed at home, and their employment options gradually disappeared. Then everything changed. Suddenly, life painting was reborn—filling the video chat grid the same way it used to fill the studio. Inspired by the models posing live on the computer screen, the artists began to sketch at home. The methods used are not entirely new—after all, video conferencing existed before the pandemic—but the changes they brought to life far exceeded anyone’s expectations. “Online life painting has changed the rules of the game,” said Diane Olivier, who taught life painting at San Francisco City College from 1991 to 2020. It allows students to continue studying and drawing, and allows models to find employment.

Virtual life painting does have its challenges. Connectivity and viewing screen size may be issues. No camera can replicate all the tones and details that the naked eye can see. The undeniable fact is that artists are looking at two-dimensional images, not people in the flesh. However, even if the artists and models turn errors into functions, they have discovered ways in which virtual environments can achieve things that were not possible before. Life painting groups have sprung up like bamboo shoots after a rain. People who had never practiced this art form before began to pick up pencils. People who had never modeled or were unable to model found their place on the new base.

The biggest obstacle That virtual life chart was knocked down? Right to use. Suddenly, people who do not live near the studio or who have a disability who are unable to leave home can take materials from any place with an Internet connection. “Models can now choose their own settings,” said Isabel Cameron, who runs the British Fat Life Drawing organization with her sister Emily. “We have a model who likes to pose in the water, in the bathtub, with a camera above his head. The other is posing in the forest.

Christian Quinteros Soto poses for a living painting group in London in a peaceful forest in Sweden.

Illustration: Suhita Shirodkar



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