Art model

An art model


Art models pose for visual artists as reference or inspiration for their creative work. They stand model for artists that perform figure drawing, paint, make sculptures or create photographic art. Art models are professional models that use their body to become the object of the artist’s creation.

Art models typically do the following:

  • Pose for professional and aspiring artists
  • Stay in a pose and hold a facial expression for extended periods of time – commonly an hour or more
  • Pose either wearing clothing or nude for classes of art students
  • Alter facial expressions, poses, and gestures to capture the impression the artist is aiming for
  • Maintain a portfolio of work, and actively seek new modeling opportunities

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to art model:

life nude model
life model
nude art model
artist’s model
artists’ model

Working conditions

Art models work mostly for art classes, and sometimes for individual, professional artists.

Art models are almost exclusively self-employed, though a few may have recurring gigs with art teachers and colleges that have an ongoing need for art models. Most find work with professional photographers, painters, or sketch artists, or pose for art classes at local art studios and colleges.

Art models can work full time or part time. Often, their hours and schedule may be erratic and unpredictable as they will work on different assignments.

Many art models experience periods of unemployment. While other types of models typically work with agencies to find job opportunities, few agencies find work for art models. This means that art models must actively work to seek new opportunities, interview with artists and art teachers who are looking for models, and manage fees, tax documents, and other income paperwork. They must keep a portfolio of work and may need to work with artists to take photographs of finished art pieces.

Minimum qualifications

There is no formal educational credential required to work as an art model. The clients usually set the requirements.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Art model is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Art model career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to art model.

fashion model
make-up artist
artisan papermaker
wig and hairpiece maker

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of art model. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of art model with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

body artist
assistant stage director
stunt performer

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of art model.

  • Human anatomy: The dynamic relationship of human structure and function and the muscosceletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, endocrine, urinary, reproductive, integumentary and nervous systems; normal and altered anatomy and physiology throughout the human lifespan.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of art model.

  • Maintain personal hygiene standards: Preserve impeccable personal hygiene standards and have a tidy appearance.
  • Pose in front of a camera: Perform poses in front of cameras in order to advertise products. Listen to the directions of the photographer or director.
  • Pose for artistic creation: Pose for an artist as the object of an artistic creation. Model for the creation of an artistic painting, drawing, sculpture or photograph. Pose without moving and control body movements for specified periods of time. Follow the directions of the artist as part of the creative process.
  • Define artistic vision: Continually develop and define a concrete artistic vision, starting from the proposal and continuing all the way through to the finished product.
  • Harmonise body movements: Harmonise body movements in accordance to rhythm and melody, aesthetic or dramatic concept, dramatic pace, etc.
  • Pose nude: Pose nude as the object of an artistic creation. Model nude before an audience.
  • Attend castings: Go to castings in order to promote yourself and show your abilities.
  • Maintain an artistic portfolio: Maintain portfolios of artistic work to show styles, interests, abilities and realisations.
  • Adapt to artists’ creative demands: Work with artists, striving to understand the creative vision and adapting to it. Make full use of your talents and skills to reach the best possible result.
  • Express yourself physically: Express emotions and ideas through movements, gestures, and actions.
  • Interact with an audience: Convey the artistic values of the art form(s). Respond to the reactions of your audience and involve them.
  • Negotiate with artists: Communicate and negotiate with artist and artist management about prices, terms and schedules.
  • Inform customers about body modifications: Make sure that customers are properly informed about services such as tattooing, body piercing or other body modifications and ensure that they are aware of the permanency and the risks of these modifications. Inform them on after-care and what to do with infections or other complications.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of art model. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Photography: Art and practice of creating aesthetically appealing images by recording light or electromagnetic radiation.
  • Make-up techniques: The various techniques and tools for applying make-up.
  • Acting and directing techniques: Range of training and rehearsal techniches that seek to encourage emotionally expressive performances. Techniques to address all aspects in making a film, play, performance in general.
  • Be in touch with your body: The key aspects of applied anatomy, psychology, nutrition, physiology, and psychosocial studies and how they relate to the self-awareness of one’s body. 

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of art model. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Accept feedback on artistic performance: Accept feedback, proposed discussions and avenues of exploration about the precision of movements, rhythm, musicality, precision of the performance, interaction with peers and stage elements, areas requiring improvement. Take feedback into account to develop the potential as performer. Note the choreographers/repetiteur/dance master instructions, the instructions of other collaborators (dramaturge, performers/dancers peers, musicians, etc.) assuring being in the same page with direction team.
  • Bring out performers’ artistic potential: Motivate performers to take on challenges. Encourage peer-learning. Establish an environment for experimentation using various methods, such as improvisation.
  • Meet contract specifications: Meet contract specifications, schedules and manufacturers’ information. Check that the work can be carried out in the estimated and allocated time.
  • Identify customer’s needs: Use appropriate questions and active listening in order to identify customer expectations, desires and requirements according to product and services.
  • Apply body paint: Apply special paint on parts of or on the whole body.
  • Attend dress fittings: Go to dress fittings so the designer can alter garments according to your body shape.
  • Follow directions of the artistic director: Follow the instructions of the director while understanding his creative vision.
  • Develop professional network: Reach out to and meet up with people in a professional context. Find common ground and use your contacts for mutual benefit. Keep track of the people in your personal professional network and stay up to date on their activities.
  • Work with an artistic team: Work closely with directors, fellow actors and playwrights to find the ideal interpretation to a role.
  • Develop an artistic network: Generate awareness of a show or event through public relations initiatives. Develop a network of music industry contacts to spread the word about upcoming shows.

ISCO group and title

5241 – Fashion and other models

  1. Art model – ESCO
  2. Art Model Job Description & Overview – The Career Project
  3. Art Model – Salary, How to Become, Job Description & Best Schools – Online Degree
  4. Featured image: By Bmct – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Last updated on November 5, 2022

What do you want to do with this job?

You will be brought to the forum page

Requires a business account

Requires a business account

Thinking about your next career move?

Answer a few questions about your jobs and education, and we’ll give you suggestions about your best possible career move. It’s completely free!