Today I got to visit my friend and model for my artwork, Lisa del Toro. Lisa, not only a beautiful but extremely skilled tattoo artist, has been the inspiration for my "Mexican Independence Day" pin-up every year, for six years in a row and counting. It is now a tradition to render an image featuring her, with the Mexican holiday as a theme: same girl, same theme, but depicted in a different way each time.
As I mentioned, today I got to visit her, to hand deliver a print of the pin-up I did of her just about a month ago. We had a long talk, took photos, shared ideas, shared opinions and said bye, until next time. I practically see her once a year, around this time, but I always leave with such a peaceful feeling. Today wasn't the exception, and that feeling got me thinking about how fortunate I've been to stumble across models of such caliber as Lisa's, the muses that have shaped my artwork for all these years. I won't list names, because they are too many and it would be impossible not to leave out anybody, but you know who you are, and for that, I thank you deeply... and my artwork does too.
Working with models is a must in my field of artwork. it might be up close, or from far away, but it is definitely a must. I started to really dedicate time to work on pin-ups back in 2004, and from the very beginning I received the support from different models, some of them professionals, some of them amateurs. Back then I didn't have a portfolio, so, as you can imagine, it wasn't like I had models looking to work with me. But little by little, with the support I had from the models that believed in me (literally believing in my word when I assured them I was an artist), my portfolio and my skills started to grow. Today, I still have so, so, so much to learn, but I am proud to glance back and see for a second the long path I have walked... always with the help of the muses from all over the world..
Projects come and go, and sometimes, collaborations do too. I have worked with many many models in my career, most of them from remote locations, through online communication. As it is understandable, I didn't stay in touch with all of them. Life works that way. But with many of them, the relationship and appreciation is still there, even if we get in touch once in a very while. And working with them, even after years is such a treat. That is why is important to recognize when a model brings that extra quality to your work, and if so, to take care of that relationship model-artist.
I have the honor of being able to call friends to many of the models that have helped me. And that, honestly, is a wonderful thing. However, it is something that needs to be earned and grown, through respect (and good artwork, of course). I talked about this in past blog entries, but it is something that I can never emphasize too much: if you want to work as a pin-up artist, please have respect towards your models. 9 times out 10, you will get that respect back. If you happen to stumble across that 1 out of 10, when the model is indeed more trouble than inspiration, walk away and don't let that ruin your vision towards working with models. In my opinion, for the good and for the bad, respect is the key, 10 times out of 10.
Thank you again, my friends, for being part of this journey, part of my artwork.
Pin-up artist by day… and also by night. Well, mostly by night, because night time is my favorite time to paint.