Meredith Hicks and Nick Serpa stood on a small, makeshift stage in front of a number of artists on a recent Saturday night.
The space they are in doubles as an office for Ragdoll Animation – a company founded in 2010 based out of Antrim – during the day, but about once a month transforms into a scene more likely to be seen at a liberal arts college.
Hicks and Serpa are fully nude, rotating through poses and holding them for varying lengths of time as a group of artists sketch, paint or draw their figures. The couple moves from standing, to kneeling, to laying down, holding some poses for 30 seconds and others for 15 to 30 minutes.
“I feel like we’re both pretty adventurous, it’s fun to shake things up a little bit,” Hicks said as her reasoning behind modeling.
Christopher Tremblay sat at a long table during the studio draw, looking at the models for an extended moment before dropping his pencil to paper. Tremblay moved his hand swiftly across the page forming one long line until it began to resemble the figures in front of him. Once he had formed an outline, he dropped a paintbrush into a square block of watercolor, which he used to shade and add texture to the drawing.
Tremblay said he has been interested in art since he was a kid. He worked in the commercial arts for about three decades, but about eight years ago started painting again.
“It’s kind of weird how the wave of humanity goes, painting goes in and out, and it’s just coming back now,” Tremblay said.
For him, he said, he’s just barely getting back into the art form. Tremblay said he attends the figure drawing in Antrim every chance he gets as a way to improve his ability.
Serpa said he modeled for the first time about a year ago.
“John (who is the co-founder of Ragdoll Animation and hosts the figure drawing) asked me, ‘so have you ever modeled?’ and I said, ‘no.’ And he said, ‘have you ever nude modeled?’ and I said, ‘no,’” Serpa said. “And I was like, ‘ehhh’ I’m not sure I want to, and then I realized, ‘that’s out of my comfort zone.’”
Once he realized it was out of his comfort zone, Serpa said he wanted to push himself to do it.
He said it’s like anything else, the anticipation is the worst part, but once you’re up there standing in front of the artists, the experience can be liberating. He’s been back several times, and has modeled by himself and as a couple.
Serpa said he takes pictures and is often directing people about how to pose for those shots. Modeling is the other side of that, he said. The experience has helped hone his own work in photography.
Personally, Serpa said, he does not like to be photographed. But seeing himself as a drawing is different, he said. It’s more about the human figure not the details.
“People have been doing this for years,” Serpa said about figure drawing. “It’s pretty cool to be a part of that.”
Hicks said the last time she modeled one of the artists gifted her a few drawings of herself. She said they are stowed away in the place that she lives right now, but from time to time she’ll take them out and look at the work.
The open studio drawings are hosted the first Saturday of every month from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The session fee is $15, all of which is directed towards the models. For more information go to: www.ragdollanimation.com/drawingstudio.
Abby Kessler can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 234 or firstname.lastname@example.org.