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Jonathan Stone


Muriel, pencil, 14 x 17"

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As a nonconformist, a rebellion against the shaming of nudity is part of my work. For some reason, nudity is still seen as taboo in the US even though we all essentially look the same in the shower. Yet it the nude body is who we are and it’s beautiful. I want to help people appreciate the human form with my work and remove any guilt around it. 

To facilitate this mission, I let the models just be themselves offering very little guidance. Similar to the principle of mindfulness, I work with what I am given. That is enough from my experience. 

While there are unfinished aspects to this composition, I spent a great deal of time trying to get her facial expression right. The model had a somber quality and I wanted to honor that. Thus, I encouraged her to take on the pose that felt most natural even if it felt slightly guarded. In the end, I was the recipient of a delightful shape of diagonal lines by embracing her serious nature. From her crossed arms to her knee which juts out at the viewer, replicating this pose in a realistic way was a challenge. Yet it also reminded me of the power of handing over control and only tweaking if necessary. The result is the composition I was looking for.

What do you gain when you give up control?