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AGO’s next top model

From Milan to Beijing to the AGO, Paris Black is the accomplished professional model making regular appearances in Walker Court as the centerpiece of Rubens-inspired Life Drawing.

Paris Black

Image © Paris Black

Since it launched in early November, Rubens-inspired Life Drawing in Walker Court has been a hit with AGO Members and visitors to the Gallery. Apart from the positive feedback we’ve received from participants, our life models are also enjoying themselves as they come up with creative poses inspired by our exhibition, Early Rubens. We had the pleasure of sitting down with life model Paris Black to find out what it’s like to bring a Peter Paul Rubens painting to life.

AGO: Rubens is known for his depiction of the human form. What do you find special about modelling scenes from his paintings?

Black: I enjoy bringing the Baroque emphasis on movement, colour and drama to real life, not only as a complement to the exhibition but as an art installation in itself. The CBC even saw fit to film and feature this ongoing live figure modelling event for the evening news. They captured the enthusiasm of those who have taken full advantage of the AGO’s phenomenally successful $35 Annual Pass.

AGO: Life Drawing in Walker Court has been open to the public for a month now. How has the response been from participants? Have you received any memorable feedback?

Black: The public response has been fantastic. From internationally known artists from all over the world to esteemed art professors drawing alongside novice artists of all ages – many sketching a live model for the first time. It's the earnest college student that can't afford to pay for a life drawing class, it's that person trying their hand for the very first time and falling in love with it, the retiree who finally has time to muse and tap into the creative force, and even children as young as toddlers held in the laps of their proud parents. This collage of interpretations are all unique, valid and precious.

AGO: How did you get into the business of live modelling?

Black: I started modelling decades ago in couture fashion, working for top designers like Armani in Milan to fitness modelling in the U.S. It has taken me to all points of the compass, travelling the world from Beijing to Paris, and winning the esteemed first prize competition in Live Figure Modelling at the Musée du Louvre in 2013. Now full circle back to the world of Fine Art, it's a dream come true to interpret poetic poses inspired by Early Rubens, framed by the stunning architecture of Frank Gehry in Walker Court.

Don’t miss your chances to experience Early Rubens and Life Drawing inspired by Rubens in Walker Court, happening until January 5.

Our Life Drawing classes are accessible and affordable for members and guests so they are perfect whether you’re a beginner or experienced artist. And there’s no need to bring any materials, as everything you need to put pencil to paper will be provided for you. All AGO winter courses are on sale now, including life drawing for adults, youth and children. They also make wonderful holiday gifts for your loved ones. 

Admission to the AGO Collection and all special exhibitions is always free for AGO Members, AGO Annual Pass holders and visitors 25 and under.

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