Jul 242014

Picture by David Thomas
Artist: David Thomas

Dragon. Not.

I go back to the life-drawing workshop the following Saturday because this is allowed as part-payment for a day’s modelling, but I go to make notes for poems, not to draw. I want to observe the dynamic between artists and model from the outside instead of being part of it.

So I get to meet and exchange mobile numbers with another model, a man, who turns out (and I don’t know this until I have given him my number) not to be a model but a plumber, who doesn’t really have any other contacts so will not be able to help me get more bookings.

But maybe I can get a poem out of him.

At break-time the plumber is reading The Sun. I comment on the Chinese characters tattooed at the base of his back:

‘Dragon. I worked in China for a couple of years. I’m a dragon. It’s my year.’

‘Are you? I am as well!’

It comes round every twelfth year. So he’s either twelve or twenty-four years younger than me. Either thirty-five or twenty-three. He looks about halfway between. Maybe he’s got the year wrong. Like he’s got the characters upside down.


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  7 responses to “Page 11”

  1. lol, it wouldn’t be the first time a tatooist made a body-art error…
    I prefer the natural body for life models (as an aside… their contribution is way under-rated).

    • Hi Marli – do you mean that the natural [i.e. unadorned/unadulterated] body of a life-model is “way under-rated”, or do you mean the contribution of tattoo artists?

      I think un-tattooed, un-shaven, un-tanned, un-waxed bodies are a rarity these days on the life-drawing scene.

      • Hi Suki,
        yes,it’s the unadorned/unadulterated body that I think is way under-rated. Adornment can distract from the form the artist is trying to capture and express (the smoothed body can assist this, but is not an imperative). That said, I would not preclude the adorned/adulterated. And nudists will always seek a tan. I believe that a tan equates with ‘natural and unadorned’.

        • ‘Tan ‘ in the British context conventionally means sunbed-orange or sprayed-on orange, and it is the look bought by a Certain Kind of Female who is seeking a Certain Kind of Male. In healthy European countries that have lots of healthy sunshine, nobody thinks of painting it on like they do here. Tan in the UK definitely doesn’t equate with natural. But then, nor does it interfere with the body’s form, so it’s perhaps not as significant as other distracting stuff. I suppose it affects tonal values – make artists reach for their orange crayon…

          • I can’t comment on the UK as it has been so long since I was there last, but even in Australia spray-tanning is popular among certain demographic groups. I think that it is not unattractive in itself, but it can be noticably fake when not done well and when it is at the end of its effect. I’ll concede that a tan makes people feel good, and there is nothing wrong with that :p

  2. Poor man. He’ll have to live with it all his life…
    Did you have the heart to tell him it’s incorrect?