A pie, a pint and a naked portrait
IT'S life art, but not as we know it. A Glasgow pub is packing in punters by putting on weekly sketching sessions with naked models.
• A model poses nude for a life drawing class at the Flying Duck pub in Glasgow. The event - titled All The Young Nudes - is so popular that organisers are having trouble finding space for the artists. Photograph: Robert Perry
The success of the classes at the Flying Duck is such that each Tuesday the focus of regulars is on perspective and shading rather than pints and packets of smokey bacon.
The event - titled All the Young Nudes - has become so popular that organisers are struggling to find space for all the budding artists.
There is even a waiting list of more than 100 models who have volunteered to strip off for the classes, while door-minders have been introduced to dissuade those whose interests may be more voyeuristic than artistic.
The classes are run by artist and animator Joanna Susskind, who was inspired by a course in life sketching at Glasgow School of Art.
She explained: "A group of us really wanted to continue doing the classes and luckily the Flying Duck were happy to provide a venue for us.
"On the first night there were eight of us, at the second there were 15 and now it is up to more than 70. We are amazed, but delighted by just how popular it has become, although we do sometimes struggle to find space for everyone."
Artists pay 4 for a two-hour sketching session which features two or three models, a DJ playing ambient music and liquid inspiration.
Originally, the models were student actor friends of the organisers, but now many are class regulars who were keen to swap their drawing boards for the posing podium.
Susskind said: "People who come to the class often sidle up to me at the end and say 'I think I could do that'.
"It has become so popular that we now have a bank of about 100 models of all ages, sexes and sizes.
"It is really laid-back and there is music and drink, but as soon as we start drawing everyone goes very quiet."
Although the class is open to all, Susskind, 25, is keen to stress that measures are in place to ensure that peeping toms are quickly given the brush- off.
The former pupil of Glasgow's Hutchesons' Grammar School explained: "There have been times when guys have not been drawing and have just been standing there holding a beer.
"They are really obvious because everyone else is really caught up in their sketching.
"There is a club night next door so we have to man the door and watch it like hawks.
"Guys sometimes burst in and try to get a glimpse of naked people, but thankfully our models are pretty relaxed, chilled-out people."
Part-time body piercer, Lola Perry, poses regularly at the classes after responding to an online appeal from the organisers.Although she had never modelled in public previously, the 20-year-old from Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire, said her nerves soon melted away.
She said: "The person who had gone on directly before me was an old man who had been posing while sitting on a bike so that helped to take the pressure off of me.
"Everyone is concentrating on their work so I don't feel self-conscious about my body.
"Yes, people are looking at me, but as a subject."
She added: "I do a lot of self-portraits and thought it would be pretty cool to see how other people saw my body."
Perry, an amateur artist whose numerous tattoos and piercings lend her a distinctive look, said her family and friends were aware of her modelling. "I don't think any of my friends would do it because they are really self-conscious."
The model insisted there was no prurient edge to the classes.
"I feel much more comfortable being naked than I would if I were standing there in my underwear. Underwear sexualises the situation, but when you are naked you are just an artistic object."
Those on the other side of the canvas were equally keen to stress that the focus was on creating worthwhile work.
Alessandro Baldo, a 23-year-old student and class regular, said: "There is great respect between artists and models. It is not remotely sleazy. People are here for the art."
Staff at the Renfield Street venue, a popular haunt for students, have seen takings over the bar soar thanks to the event.
Bar manager Del McCann, 30, said: "The classes are now so popular they are almost as well attended as some of the club nights that we put on. You see some unusual sights when you work behind a bar, but having naked models around took a bit of getting used to at the beginning.
"Now we are all completely used to it. I can't think of any other pub that offers anything quite like this and we are very proud of that."
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 11 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North