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Qualms about taking an art class due to phobia


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I want to start some extracurricular activities so I can meet new people, and I was thinking maybe an art class would be good.  Unlike my other interests such as mathematics, computer programming, and book collecting, there are actually a substantial number of other people interested in art, so I figured it would be a good way to meet others who share a common interest with me and maybe make some friends that way.

 

The only problem is that we might at some point be doing life drawing, like I would have to be in a classroom with a naked man or woman drawing them.  I have gymnophobia, so this causes me a lot of anxiety.  The prospect of seeing other people naked or having other people see me naked makes me extremely uncomfortable, which is why I avoid places like locker rooms at all costs.  I'm comfortable with the idea of displaying one's genitals or other body parts while one's clothes are on, but full nudity just gives me the willies.

 

I'm not quite sure what to do about this.  Has anyone else had this experience, or a similar experience where a phobia interferes with an extracurricular activity?  Also, have you ever taken an art class, and can you tell me if mainstream art classes not specifically devoted to the subject still do life drawing?  Maybe I can talk to the instructor beforehand about my fears.  I wonder if this is a common problem.

Edited by LordoftheMonkeys
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That's really great that you're branching out like that!! I wish I had the nerve to do something like that :)

 

I went to art school, and as I recall, you would know by the course description whether it was a drawing class where you would draw from human models. 'Still life' is a very broad term and could be bowls of fruit to unclothed people..the course literature would tell you beforehand--or you could ask the teacher prior to signing up(without even having to disclose your situation)...

Art history and appreciation would have no drawing so that might be an option.

 

Alot of people have that same phobia. Even people who really don't find the first times of drawing an unclothed subject to be a bit disconcerting. We quietly chuckled initially when we had to draw 'parts'.lol But it really was a rather freeing situation...The teacher introduces you to the model full-clothed and you won't even have a model til later on...but after the meeting, the person disrobes in another area and puts on a bathrobe...then they're seated in the drawing area and the robe is removed. Then the teacher poses them in whatever position they want. Initially you would draw basic 'lines' that represent the outline of the human form as it's presented, and then after several drawings, you would define details. It makes you think more along the lines of 'shapes' and lines and form as opposed to "unclothed person"...Make sense? Sorry to ramble, but I thought if I tell you how it all goes down, it might help ease your fears enough so that you could try the experience. Nobody told me beforehand and it took me a while to adapt to the whole process--but it's done very tastefully so it's less overwhelming.

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I took art classes in college that involved a nude model. In my case it was the same model in three or four different classes, so by the end we had quite a cordial relationship. As brokendishes suggested, though it was a little weird at first, quite quickly it became about thinking of the person in terms of light and shade and lines and color rather than as a "naked person." Maybe it could even help you a little with your phobia? That being said, I took an adult education drawing class recently, and am taking a pastels class now, and nude models have not been part of the syllabi, just lots of still lives of fruit, flowers, and other objects or landscapes. Once we had a fully clothed model to practice faces. i think it's totally reasonable to ask the teacher up front, as I'm sure many people are uncomfortable with the prospect of nude models.

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I like that you are looking for an extracurricular activity as a way to meet people.  It takes courage to try out something new, and I admire your willingness to give it a go.  Plus, it could be fun and interesting, regardless of whether you end up making friends.

 

I agree with the above responses.  Reading through the course catalog should give you a better idea of what the art class will entail.  I'm sure there are many options that do not involve life drawing with nude models.  Additionally, you could always email the instructor if you aren't sure about the course content and do not feel comfortable speaking to him/her in person.  I guarantee that you are not the first person to have this fear.  I would not be comfortable with life drawing either.

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I took a basic drawing class that included drawing from a nude model towards the end of the class. By that point in the term, I was so used to thinking of drawing in terms of shape, line, form, etc., that the fact that we were drawing a naked person hardly registered as odd. I was more nervous that I would be unskilled at drawing a whole person than squicked out by the nudity. It turned out to be really fun. 

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I want to start some extracurricular activities so I can meet new people, and I was thinking maybe an art class would be good.  Unlike my other interests such as mathematics, computer programming, and book collecting, there are actually a substantial number of other people interested in art, so I figured it would be a good way to meet others who share a common interest with me and maybe make some friends that way.

 

The only problem is that we might at some point be doing life drawing, like I would have to be in a classroom with a naked man or woman drawing them.  I have gymnophobia, so this causes me a lot of anxiety.  The prospect of seeing other people naked or having other people see me naked makes me extremely uncomfortable, which is why I avoid places like locker rooms at all costs.  I'm comfortable with the idea of displaying one's genitals or other body parts while one's clothes are on, but full nudity just gives me the willies.

 

I'm not quite sure what to do about this.  Has anyone else had this experience, or a similar experience where a phobia interferes with an extracurricular activity?  Also, have you ever taken an art class, and can you tell me if mainstream art classes not specifically devoted to the subject still do life drawing?  Maybe I can talk to the instructor beforehand about my fears.  I wonder if this is a common problem.

 

Take the class and fight through.  I have some phobias too.  My first art class was as an adult with undergraduates art majors and I was sick to my stomach utterly petrified.  I was completely sure (still am in some ways even though now I am a 'professional' painter) that I cannot draw a thing.  I soldiered on and that first drawing class changed my life forever. 

 

There is a difference between being naked and being nude.   If a construction worker wanders into a drawing class with the model posed nude in front of the ferociously drawing students he is staring at a naked woman not a nude model. There is an ephemeral invisible barrier where the separation between the model and the artist exists.  There is a great book about this very topic.  Maybe Matisse?

 

Mentioning your fear to the instructor is a great idea.  Most people are very nervous for their first life drawing class.

 

edit: There was NO class with a nude model in my first drawing class.  If there is the instructor can let you know which day it is and you can always skip that class.

Edited by water
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