Monday, March 7, 2011

Return to Armstrong State

     Armstrong State College in Savannah, Georgia, was the place I first worked as a nude model. My family & I were living in Savannah following the disastrous end of our mission to Jamaica for the Presbyterian Church, USA. The end of that began on 9 May, 1990, when I was attacked on a beach by a madman with a machete, and almost lost my right hand. The Jamaican Church decided to play "blame the victim," and I was hustled out of Jamaica two weeks after the attack and the surgery to repair my right wrist. Back in Savannah, it required two more surgeries and intensive occupational therapy to restore (almost) full use of my hand. 

     During the summer, my wife & I were summoned to denominational headquarters in Louisville, KY, and informed that we would continue to receive a salary for the rest of the year, but would not be allowed to return to Jamaica. Only special pleading got us permission for my wife & son (but not me)to fly to Jamaica to pack up our belongings for shipment home. During that process, my wife discovered that our rental house had been raided for a few items, including a cross-stitch she had done of the Biltmore House, by one of the local ministers. She got the items back. 

     In the fall of 1990, I saw an ad in the Savannah paper for an art model at Armstrong. It was placed by a guy named Benny who had wrangled the position of model's agent for the college. I worked through him for two classes only; when he was very slow paying me for the second gig, I decided I didn't need an agent. It was in the summer of 1991 that I learned a male model was wanted for a special Master Class in sculpture; the students were almost all high school art teachers in the state who wanted some figure sculpture experience as a part of their MFA coursework. I followed Pat, an African-American female model. 

     The instructor had decided ahead of time on a reclining pose, which I did on the most ingenious posing platform I have every used: it rotated, so that the instructor could turn the model, usually 90 degrees at a time, so that the sculptors could get a 360 degree view of their subject. They were all very intense in their work, but very congenial to each other and to me. They were fascinated by my Jamaican adventure, and one of the students, an older lady, included a Bible and a machete near me to recall the story, after asking my permission to do so in case I might be upset by it.

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