MORE than life drawing
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
& Figure On Diversity present
More Than Life Drawing
Behind every work of figurative art there is a model whose own artistic skills were essential in that work's creation. However, despite being visible as the subjects of these works, life models are nearly always overlooked in their role as active agents in the artistic process, and are seen instead as "mercenary drawing instruments."

More Than Life Drawing will feature 90 minutes of drawing time with live, discussion-style interviews with participating figure models. These sessions will showcase not only the stories of the figure models who inspire us, but will also position the practice of life modeling as active, artistic and activistic. Bring your charcoal, pencils and paint and join us for a lively night of drawing, learning and fun!

Each of the three events will feature two models who hold one or more marginalized identities, including People of Color, and individuals who are Fat, Gender-Expansive, and/or Disabled. More Than Life Drawing is held in concert with PAFA's groundbreaking exhibition Joan Semmel: Skin in the Game.
term coined by artist and model Dominic Blake
Tickets $15 / $10 PAFA Members

Students & Life Models
Attend Free!
Click Here to request free access.
Event Dates & Themes
Hayden Stern, Self Portrait. Graphite, 2021.
Objectification & The Gaze
Thursday, October 21 | 6-7.30p EST
Objectification is defined as "the action of degrading someone to the status of a mere object." In another sense, however, objectification happens every time an artist turns their attention toward a life model — in that moment, the artist may or may not be seeing the model as a whole person so much as a collection of colors, shapes, and contours; a culmination of light hitting form.

While objectification is almost always a bad thing, it is also where the magic of figure drawing happens. The body is, to the Artist's Gaze, beautiful just for existing exactly as it is, much like how we think of things in nature — like clouds, or trees, or rivers.

Join us with guests Hayden Stern and Deyanna Denyse as we seek to detangle the dilemma of Objectification & The Gaze.
Luticha Andre Doucette, Photographer Erica Jae, and Makeup Artist Alicia "Pookie" Astacio, In This Moment. 2020.
advocacy & representation
Wednesday, November 17 | 6-7.30p EST
More than ever, we are recognizing the importance of representation in fine art and media. What happens when the bodies included in our education fail to look like we do? And how can we help ensure that more of our own corporeal realities are included in studio art education in the future?

In this session, we discuss access barriers and the importance of community and allyship. We will also address the complex relationship between figure modeling and sex work: our shared origins, our continued strength as advocates for one another, as well as why our kinship should matter to artists and models alike.

Join us with guests Luticha Andre Doucette and Eddie Bravo in discussion of how their personal experiences inform their practices as figure models, activists, and community advocates.
Yuka Tanaka, Untitled. 2021.
AGENCY & the creative process 
Tuesday, December 14 | 6-7.30p EST
While there are many reasons to pursue a career in figure modeling — the novelty of the work, the opportunity to be paid a decent wage in cash, and the closeness to a rich artistic community, to name a few — some life models are devoted to their work as a serious artistic endeavor in itself, and as an embodying practice with the power to heal and reshape one's perceptions of themselves and others.

To conclude our series More Than Life Drawing, we want to explore the ways in which our identities and lived experiences inform our artistic practices, and examine the degrees to which models demonstrate agency in the ecosystem of figurative art-making.

Join us with guests Antoine Hunter and Yuka Tanaka in the final installment of our drawing/lecture series. 
Speakers & Models
For this event, we are thrilled to bring you a unique virtual experience: online figure drawing, with simultaneous discussion-style interviews of the same professional models, artists, and experts who will be posing for us.
Hayden Stern
OBJECTIFICATION & THE GAZE | Thursday, October 21
Hayden Stern (any pronouns) is a fat, trans, disabled painter. They create work about embodiment and nurturance between those who have survived state sponsored violence. They are excited to explore figure modeling, having mainly been on the other side of the artist-model dynamic.

Website  |  Instagram  |  #FreeBritney Article
Deyanna Denyse
OBJECTIFICATION & THE GAZE | Thursday, October 21
Deyanna Denyse (she/her) is a Black American self taught Nude Artist Muse who works centralized around normalizing nudity and its integration with spirituality.

Website  |  Instagram
Luticha Andre Doucette
ADVOCACY & REPRESENTATION | Wednesday, November 17
Luticha is a 36 year veteran disability justice advocate who graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in Bioinformatics where she developed protein surface prediction algorithms. Currently, Luticha lives as a free black person and business owner in Rochester, NY with two cats, Luna and Callie. Luticha is a graduate of the Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Fellowship program, an AUCD Emerging Leader, an inductee into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame established by the National Disability Mentoring Coalition and the 2020 – 2021 Distinguished Alumni Awardee from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Luticha’s research and writing has been featured in various publications such as Insect Molecular Biology, Toxicon, The New York Times, and Yes! Magazine. She is the owner of Catalyst Consulting, which helps organizations, leaders, and advocates examine equity across race, gender identity, and disability in policies, practices, procedures, and relationships.

Instagram  |  Catalyst Consulting
Eddie Bravo
ADVOCACY & REPRESENTATION | Wednesday, November 17
Eddie (he/they) is a queer, indigenous holistic therapist and cofounder of Social Work Honoring Education With Antiracism Learning Standards. He has dedicated much of his work outside of research to disrupting the weaponization of mental health against Black, Brown, Indigenous, and people of color. His ultimate goal is to establish psychotherapy modalities which incorporate indigenous spirituality, to challenge and eradicate white oppressorship and the misdiagnosis continuum in clinical therapy. When people ask Eddie to describe himself, he doesn’t hesitate to say, he is radical, unapologetic, and loving.

Antoine Hunter, Purple Fire Crow
AGENCY & THE CREATIVE PROCESS | Tuesday, December 14
Bay Area native, Antoine Hunter also known as Purple Fire Crow is an award-winning internationally-known African-American, Indigenous, Deaf, Disabled, choreographer, dancer, actor, instructor, speaker, producer and Deaf advocate. He creates opportunities for Disabled, Deaf and hearing artists and produces Deaf-friendly events, and founded the Urban Jazz Dance Company and Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival.

Urban Jazz Dance Company  |  Instagram  |  Twitter
Yuka Tanaka
AGENCY & THE CREATIVE PROCESS | Tuesday, December 14
A life model/artist whose work consists primarily of photographic self-portraits.

Website  |  Instagram  |  Life Drawing Kreuzberg Berlin
Because this event will combine live discussion with simultaneous figure drawing, we hope that there will be ample opportunity for diverse participation. Here are some of the accessibility tools we will have available:
• Zoom's Closed Captioning will be enabled.
• ASL Interpretation and will be made available for all three events.
Figure Drawing on Zoom?
Never participated in an online figure drawing session, and maybe feeling skeptical? We hear you! In 2020 life drawing moved from a practice without significant technological integration, relying on a physically-present nude model, to one that is conducted almost entirely through video-conferencing apps.

While there's nothing that can replace a live model posing in the room with you, the advantages of online figure drawing have surprised artists around the world. Read about Life Drawing's Virtual Renaissance in this fabulous article from WIRED writer Suhita Shirodkar HERE.
Images at Right: Screenshots from Figure On Diversity's online collaboration with Fat Life Drawing, dubbed FOLD. March 6, 2021. 
More Than Life Drawing is held in concert with
Joan Semmel: Skin in the Game
Above: "Skin in the Game" by Joan Semmel, 2019. Oil on canvas, 96"x 288".
The first retrospective of Joan Semmel’s work—sixty years of the iconic artist’s groundbreaking paintings, from her early abstract-expressionist paintings through her movement-defining feminist art and activism to the vital work that she is making of her own mature body today.
More Than Life Drawing is held in recognition of Joan Semmel's important contributions to representation of non-normative bodies in figurative art. Her self portraits are renowned for redirecting the viewer's gaze upon the female form, a feat she accomplished by painting her body from her own point of view, looking down the length of her form. As Semmel continues to paint well into her 80's, her work has naturally transitioned toward representations of her own aging body.

Read more about Joan Semmel: Skin in the Game, on view October 28, 2021 – April 3, 2022, on PAFA's exhibit website
What is Figure Drawing?
Figure Drawing, also called Life Drawing, is the practice of representing the human form with the use of any drawing material, including charcoal, pen and ink, and graphite. Dating all the way back to the oldest cave paintings on record, people have been drawing people for as long as we've been around.

Our sessions require no drawing experience in order to attend. We believe that figure drawing is a way of documenting your careful and attentive exploration of what you see, rather than as a means to an end — no one will be grading your drawings, and we hope to foster an environment in which skill and training are not prioritized over community, openness, and curiosity. In other words, these sessions will be focused on your process, not your products!

While many of the models for these sessions will be posing nude, it's important to remember that vulnerability is shared among artists as well as models. We acknowledge that the act of observing and studying another person can be intimate in a way we aren't often exposed to, and commend our artists and models for sharing that space of vulnerability together. Thank you!

Please don't hesitate to reach out to us with any questions: [email protected] 
Session Moderators
More Than Life Drawing is hosted and moderated in collaboration.
Angela DeCarlis
FIGURE ON DIVERSITY | Lead Artist & Founder
Angela DeCarlis (they/them) is a portrait painter, figure drawing instructor, and former figure model. In 2018, they founded Figure On Diversity, an initiative designed to increase access and representation in studio art and its education. They are currently a graduate student at the University of Florida (MFA '22).

Website  |  Figure On Diversity
Abby King
THE PENNSYLVANIA ACADEMY OF THE FINE ARTS | Assistant Director of Adult Programs
Abby King is a visual artist and educator residing in Philadelphia. Abby received her BFA in Painting from Xavier University and her MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She has participated in numerous exhibitions around the country, most recently at Pink Noise Projects, The Philadelphia Airport, and Automat Gallery.  Abby currently serves as the Assistant Director of Adult Programs in the Public Education and Engagement department at PAFA.

Looking for more information about Figure On Diversity? Click here!

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