Marathon Features Live Models, Draws Student Artists

Olga Ramaz

A total of 55 students and faculty, the majority students, gathered for the bi-annual Drawing Marathon on Dec. 1, establishing a new record for attendance and marking a success for the art department.

In its third year, the Drawing Marathon provides art students an opportunity to work with live models, both nude and costumed.

“It started as a way to give students extra drawing time,” said life drawing instructor Caryl St. Ama. “Working with figure takes a lot of time.[but the Drawing Marathon] also serves as some extra time [for students] to work on their portfolios and final projects.”

“It just blossomed [from there],” added St. Ama.

The idea to provide students with additional studio time during the semester was spearheaded by St. Ama and agreed upon by the entire art department, which felt that students would benefit from such opportunity.

But, it was mainly the demand and interest from the student body that sparked the Drawing Marathon.

“We have students that remember the first one and they come back,” said St. Ama. “It’s nice that it [Drawing Marathon] has developed into something they look forward to.”

Throughout the years, the drawing extravaganza has been increasing its numbers, attracting 20 to 30 students in its first year and steadily climbing to this year’s record level.

“I’ve done this [Drawing Marathon] before,” said Elaine Davis, a former GCC student who was invited by St. Ama to participate in the marathon. “I love working with figure [and] it is very rare that you get such a long session with a [live] model.”

The drawing and painting sessions kicked off at noon and went on until 9:30 p.m. The longest session was the seven-hour pose, held in the design studio, AA 110.

Jennifer Abis-Patton was the nude model, posing for a total of seven-hours, with breaks in between.

With 17 years of figure modeling experience, Abis-Patton no longer feels awkward posing nude in a studio full of artists.

“[It was] bizarre in the beginning,” Abis-Patton said. “[But now it’s just] natural. I don’t even think about it [anymore].”

St. Ama is in charge of acquiring the models for all of the life drawing courses at GCC as well as the Drawing Marathon. For years, St. Ama has relied on the same agency to send her the most professional models to pose for GCC art students.

“I’ve worked with this agency for five years,” St. Ama said. “[They] book all of the models we use in the whole [art] program, including figure sculpture, life drawing and drawing for animation.”

Rachel Romo, an art student at Cal State Northridge, was invited to the Drawing Marathon through a friend, and current GCC art student.

“This is the first time I come [to a Drawing Marathon],” said Romo. “I’m a beginner so I am here to improve my technique and get more practice.”

The general consensus throughout the student body, according to St. Ama, is that students would like to have more sessions like these through the semester, unfortunately, due to the budget, it is not possible.

“We do it as often as we can,” said St. Ama. “It’s all for the students, and if students weren’t interested, we wouldn’t do it.”

The next drawing marathon is scheduled for the spring. Art students who are interested in participating and/or have questions should contact St. Ama at [email protected]