Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Modeling and Survival Practice

I've got multiple modeling gigs scheduled this week, which is a very good thing.  I was at the University of North Texas yesterday modeling for a couple of Drawing II classes.  For most students in those classes, yesterday was their very first experience in drawing a nude model.  There's nothing like being their first...

I'm less optimistic about my chances for getting on season two of Naked and Afraid.  I got an email from the producer I talked on the phone with, and she said that, at this point, they were not interviewing anyone else without "hard core" survival skills.  A little while later, I got a Facebook message from the production company (in answer to a message I had sent them last week) saying that I was under consideration.  I've got my family all set for a series of camping trips over the next year, where I will practice such things as staring a fire using multiple methods, trapping small game, fishing, eating roots and berries, etc. in the hopes that there is a season 3 of Naked and Afraid that I could try for.

I know a lot about survival, about finding water and purifying it if necessary, about finding food, building shelter, drying meat for preservation, and tanning a hide with the brain of the animal.  What I don't have is much actual experience doing such things.  I'm always working or modeling or fulfilling some family obligation.  My full time job provides very little paid time off, and I just can't afford to take a leave and go live off the land for any extended period of time.  That's what I hope to get out of this show, a leave paid for by the production company to practice my survival skills for three weeks.  I had hoped that the nudity, which doesn't bother me in the least, would keep their pool of applicants low enough to give me a chance of being chosen.

I have given some thought to how such an experience would change me.  How would I view modern society after living away from it for those three weeks?  How would I see myself after having to struggle for everything (water, food, and shelter) that we take for granted in this society?  How would others see me after seeing me in the wild on their television?  Would I still have that Baby Whisperer touch in the church nursery where I volunteer every week, or would some of that gentleness have left me from the Naked and Afraid experience?  Would I be able to come back to work and sit at my computer after living, really living, in the wild for three weeks?  Gosh, I would love the opportunity to find out all of those things.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Things that Make Me Say Wow

The Texas Academy of Figurative Art recently redesigned its website.  With that redesign came an updated student gallery.  All the pieces in that gallery are amazing, but I'm naturally partial to the three of them that feature me as the model.  One of those is the drawing from my long 42 hour pose earlier this year.  The artist is a young lady named Katy who also did the drawing at the top of my blog.  Her drawing of me in that long pose is one of the most amazing drawings of myself I have ever seen...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Agony of Da Feet

I posted last time about my application to the Discovery Channel primitive survival show Naked and Afraid.  I'm still hoping/waiting for a callback on that, but I decided that I needed to prepare myself just in case I, by some miracle, do get chosen.  So I started taking my evening walks barefooted to toughen the soles of my feet.  My first such barefooted walk was Saturday night.  I modeled for the Sunday open figure drawing lab at the Dallas Creative Arts Center the following day, and my feet killed me the entire three hours.  The gestures were difficult enough, but the first 30 minute pose was a standing one.  Normally, I love standing poses, but this one was a struggle with my sore feet.

My mistake, I think, was staying on the concrete sidewalk.  I went on another walk Monday night and varied my surfaces from concrete to green grass to bare dirt to brown, dead grass.  I also walked across the playground at the park which is composed of wood shavings.  That wood felt worse than anything.

I wrote a blog post last year called Getting My Head Examined about modeling for a portrait session.  Maybe I do need my head examined in another way for wanting to be on this Naked and Afraid show.  I first watched it in a hotel room in Austin.  I was going to testify before the Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee the following day regarding the "fetal pain" bill, so I had a lot on my mind.  As soon as I saw the show, I immediately wanted to be on it.  That desire was so strong that I had to quit watching before the episode ended.  I figured my chances for getting on were very slim, so I put it out of my mind.  I didn't think about it again until I came across a casting call for season two when browsing Craig's List (looking for opportunities to model for art classes).

Now, I keep checking my phone and my email, hoping for that call to go to Los Angeles for the next step in the casting process.  Nothing so far.

My desire to be on this show can be attributed, I think, to many things.  Number one is my love of the nude human form, especially nudity that has nothing whatsoever to do with sex.  I also crave adventure.  That's why I am not content in just my day job and why I keep modeling.  I love to travel, and yet, I've never been outside of the United States.  I want a break from the daily grind of work and traffic.  And finally, I love the pureness of this idea.  I've said before in this blog that I feel pure when I model nude.  I play vintage base ball because of the pureness of the game under those 1860's rules: no gloves, no over-running first base on a ground ball without the risk of being tagged out, etc.  The challenge presented by Naked and Afraid is the challenge faced by our very distant ancestors; how to survive in a hostile world without any modern conveniences.  The survivalists on the show are purely human, as created by God, without any of the added things that make our lives more comfortable (or complacent).

I will be taking a crash course in survival techniques until one of two things happen: 1) I get confirmation that I am no longer being considered for the show, or 2) I leave for my three-week survival destination (a tropical island perhaps, or the Outback, or the Amazon, or the Congo, or some other exotic and challenging locale). One way or another, let the adventure begin.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Naked and Afraid

I came across a casting call for the Discovery Channel show Naked and Afraid last night, and I submitted an email to them. I've only watched the show once, but it was interesting. Two strangers of the opposite sex are put into the wild without anything (including clothing). They then have to survive for three weeks.

The casting call was looking for survivalists, and I have virtually no experience in that area. But I figured, why not submit anyway. I'm sure that they have more challenges in casting that show than most others. After I sent the email last night, I got on their Facebook page this morning and found an online form to fill out. About an hour or two later, I got an email from someone at the production company asking for a phone number and a good time to call. I answered, and she called about 20 minutes into the time window I gave her.

I gave her my life history, including my college degrees, my stint working for the New York Public Library, my current IT career, and my part time nude art modeling job and how it came to be the main topic of conversation with Regis when I was on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. She also asked about my church and how being a Southern Baptist conflicted (or not) with my being a nude model. She also asked about my political affiliation, and I told her about my run as the Libertarian Party candidate for State Representative in 2012. When she asked about my outdoor survival experience, I was honest and told her that I didn't have much. I did give her the pitch that the first half of the Tom Hanks movie Cast Away would have been boring if the main character had been a survival expert before he crashed near that island, that it was his struggle and discovery that made that movie compelling. When she asked me which environment I preferred among jungle, tropical island, desert, or swamp, I chose tropical island. I told her I chose that because rainfall is fairly regular in the tropics and that making some kind of container for rain collection would provide me and my companion a clean water supply for the three weeks. Swamps had a lot of water, I said, but a lot of it is stagnant. And finding water would be a struggle in a desert. She seemed pleased with that response, and she told me that most people chose the tropical island but don't really give a survival reason why...

I think it was a good conversation. She said she thought I was a good fit for the show (mainly because I was more than comfortable with the nudity involved) but that she had concerns about my survival skills. She said they would talk about it and get back to me next week. If I were selected as a final candidate, I would be flown out to Los Angeles for more interviews. I put my chances at getting into that final candidate status at about 10 percent because of that lack of survival experience, etc. But it would certainly be an adventure...