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Interview with Life Model Barbora Novotna

Background: NAC has run a drop-in life-drawing session on Monday evenings since 2018. It’s proved very popular, with many artists and models becoming our ‘regulars’; some are taking part in this, our occasional interview feature.

Q: Tell us about yourself and your interest in life modelling.

A: I am just about to-be Msc in Biomedical Science with Anatomy graduate, a yoga teacher and a former competitive athlete (karate). Obviously, the common theme in my life is the human body, movement and anything that has to do with it. I love, respect and am fascinated by the human body more than anything else. Which brought me to life modelling. I found it so refreshing to be able to share a part of myself that usually (in this society) has to stay hidden and we are often conditioned to carry shame around it. Life modelling for me is such a pure meditative experience and a process of complete acceptance and developing comfort with one-self and others. Additionally, I always feel honoured to be a part of someone's creative process and find it super interesting how different people capture the same moment/pose/person in such a variety of ways.

Q: How did you get started as a life model? Describe your first modelling job and how it went.

A: I got started through one of my friends being a model here and there. It intrigued me and so I went along with her for my first session. I remember it vividly as it was also the first session that someone I knew from university happened to be one of the people drawing. You could say I confronted the need to develop comfort with nudity around anyone very quickly! I was only alert for a couple of minutes and from there on I have loved modelling and stayed with it ever since.

Q: How do you go about finding work as a life model - do you advertise or rely on recommendations? How difficult or easy is it to get bookings?

A: I do not tend to advertise honestly out of fear of getting unwanted messages and also a lack of my knowledge about places where I could safely advertise for a modelling job. I have relied on recommendations so far but this might change post-covid as I would love to model more.

Study by Jennifer Eddie

Q: In the class setting, do you prefer the artist to set the poses or do you like to be involved in the positioning?

A: It depends on how I'm feeling that day. If I happen to be tired mentally or physically, it's quite nice to have the artists pose me. However, I love to be involved in the choices of poses and come up with little ways to challenge the artists and bring them out of their comfort zone (like various twists for example).

Q: Do you consider yourself a creative person? Have you ever attended a life class as an artist?

A: I definitely consider myself a creative and even went to art school when I was younger, however my most creative form of expression is movement so I tend to stay on the modelling side. I would be keen to join a session as an artist though.

Q: Are you a member of the Northern Arts Club? If not, would you consider joining?

A: I am not a member of the Northern Arts club at the moment. As a full time uni student with a part time job and a couple serious hobbies on the side, I would find it difficult to commit to another thing.

Q: The Covid Pandemic has curtailed Club activities, including the life-drawing sessions. Have you been able to model at all during this time?

A: I have not been able to model at all during the pandemic, which is a shame.

Study by Jennifer Eddie

Q: What other interests and activities are you involved in?

A: As I mentioned above, I am a yoga anatomy and vinyasa yoga teacher. I practise yoga myself and also am a climber. Love the local cliffs and sport climbing walls.


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