Hornet: How long have you been a model?
Jacob Authier: Five years. I’ve been all over Fullerton, Downtown L.A. and the Getty. There are various artists that I’ve met over the years.
Hornet: How did you get involved in this work?
Authier: Craigslist. Just looking around for work and it just popped up.
Hornet: How did you feel the first time you modeled?
Authier: There was that initial moment of like I’m naked in front of people and then you hear the pencils on paper and you just go with it.
Hornet: What is the hardest part of the job?
Authier: Taking a pose that you don’t think through all the way. When I first started I got into some pretty precarious positions and trying to hold that for a certain amount of time gets harder. You quickly learn your limits.
Hornet: What’s the typical time you have to hold your pose?
Authier: It ranges like doing gesture work it’s anywhere from 30 seconds to three minutes to 25 minute poses. Anywhere beyond that you break up. Like today was 30 minutes which I split in half and took a little break.
Hornet: What do you think about while in pose?
Authier: It depends on the pose. For certain poses it’s a lot of circulating my center of gravity, different muscle groups that are supporting my body so I don’t wear myself out. For shorter poses, I’m thinking of the next pose. Some poses I get into an elaborate physical positions so I’m using my muscles to hold me but structures that I could build like boxes and chairs. For those poses my mind can wander a little more. You usually have to be present. Your muscles start to throb and places start to get warm. When that happens you have to watch out.
Hornet: Have you ever been in an uncomfortable situation working with an artist or working in class?
Authier: Yes, but those situations I went in with both eyes open. Like I knew what I was getting myself into some shady stuff. But not at schools. At schools I’ve never encountered anything like that, not from students, not from teachers. It’s a pretty safe environment for a male model. For women, I know it’s a whole different ball game.
Hornet: Have you ever not liked someone’s representation of you?
Authier: No. Generally not. They are all so wide and varied. It’s a hodgepodge. There’s been a few that have been interesting but none that I’ve actively disliked. In fact, the more grotesque, the more interesting, I think.
Hornet: How important do you feel your role as a life model to the artist and the process?
Authier: I think a body is a body. For the students it’s not that different. Some days I have more energy than others and I put more into it. On those days, I feel more of a creative resonance between me and the students. The more energy I’m putting into the poses, the more energy they’ll put into their artwork sometimes. It’s more of a benefit to the teachers, to be punctual and dependable because when you as a teacher are relying on someone to be there for instruction having them be late is extremely stressful.
Hornet: Do you have any advice for anyone that is thinking about becoming a life model?
Authier: Go for it. There is no standard way. Every school has their own hiring process. Just call them all up and it’s a very slow process. It took about two years to really get everything up and going. Most schools have models in rotation, so when somebody drops out. Somehow I got my foot in the door. The first semester I worked here I only got one day. Then the next semester a few more. You have to establish yourself.
Hornet: Is this your only job?
Authier: Pretty much. There are a lot of art schools in L.A. and Orange County. There are a lot of artists that I work for in general, photography work. Every now and then I fit in an audition. So, it works out.
Hornet: I hear you were the one in the mural upstairs (in the 1000 building), how did that happen?
Authier: I don’t know. Apparently someone took a picture of me in the sculpture class and they used that as a reference. They told me ahead of time that it was happening, but I didn’t believe them until the unveil.