The Art of Magic

Chaosphere; symbol of chaos magic

The first step to a magical state of mind, according to a Chaos magician’s handbook, is to still the body. It suggests finding a comfortable position and at first attempting motionlessness for 5 minutes, which is not easy when executed completely. One is then to build up gradually to half hour periods of stillness, practising daily. Should any unexpected occasions for stillness arise in one’s day to day life, then it is advisable to take advantage, if you want to maximise your potential as a chaos magician.

The joker in me thinks chaos magic people could do a recruitment drive among life models; most of us have definitely mastered step 1, and are probably well into the next levels too, although not being conscious of this might make a difference.

Breathing has to slow right down and get really deep. Tick.

Not-thinking: this is what I understand meditation to be; regarding one’s tempest of a mind and hauling it in, not wandering off with the pull of any divergent tangent. When successful this leads to trance, and you know you’ve risen above it all when you feel the glow in your third eye and in the crown of your head. It’s a warm tingle, very pleasant, and the lightness and euphoria I get enable me to transcend discomfort of the pose, because unlike chaos magicians, I’ve cut off my circulation, got a crick in my neck and all my weight is on my right heal. Do I get extra points? No, I’m way behind on the theory!

Also when in a trance, thoughts do still come up, but they all seem to make me laugh, except usually it just induces a smile. Occasionally I do crack up in hysterics much to the artists’ bewilderment; generally I can’t explain the joke or it’s just too dirty… I mean I like my job, and just them knowing that what my comical mind has yielded is off the menu says enough.

There is another state of hyper sensation I get; stronger emotions but with an extra awareness of them, like I’m watching them. So I might get on a sad one, may even draw a tear, but it’s like it’s from so deep inside, there’s an awesome release, so that the sadness is accompanied by elation.

That brings me to another of the chaos magic themes: emotions and their opposites. Apparently the root of every emotion is in its opposite, and a wheel is drawn: sex and death, love and hate, fear and desire (to begin with, it gets more complex too.)

Object concentration, as part of achieving a magical state of mind (from which who knows what is possible) means the fixed gaze during motionlessness. In my work this is most common and necessary whilst modelling for portrait. A fixed point in one’s vision must be picked, and held for hours, days, weeks on end. It is hard to stop the mind from distorting what one sees, but after a while, I have found, of looking thus in the same direction, everything looks different anyway, like you are seeing all that you could have missed with a more casual look. I practise this too when life modelling as it is part of what brings about the high I enjoy. All my worries vanish – what to do with that guy who pretends he doesn’t want to date me but when we meet that’s what it feels like… will other people apart from my boyfriend like my new script, do my friends still like me after I didn’t turn up to… is my brother mad at me!

During half term I didn’t have a lot of work and Aaron asked if my powers would diminish with hardly anyone worshipping me! I have been thinking this is a great way to think of my job, and love that Aaron sees it this way. Instead of thinking, ‘Oh no I’ve got to get up for work’, I’m like ‘Gonna go to the temple to be worshipped’!

A New Man & a Kitten

It is said we attract the people we do in our lives for a reason; they are right for that time. Today I modelled for a gentleman, alone. It is a while since I modelled privately for an artist – most who seek models are men, and navigating the politics of what they really want, even if never expect to get, is bothersome.

A good life model friend of mine refers to this ‘gentleman’ artist as ‘improbably sexy’. What she means is he has exceptionally well defined features, is classically good looking, but very awkward with it. He hides himself and his work in an aura of uncertain dishevelment. When she heard I would model for him, she wanted me to find out his mystery; what lies beneath his stammering, unfinished sentences?

I was never worried about this appointment; he seems the opposite of the troubled bravado so apparent in several male artists seeking inspiration from their naked models. He may be awkward but he has a kind demeanour and is as considerate as the demanding constraints of his class allow, where I met him before.

Blackheath’s studio receives brilliant light in the morning, he says it reminds him of his first studio at art school in Edinburgh. Yes, how bright the light there. His usual reticence shrouds his easel, but without the sapping attentions of his class, he does open up, voluntarily. I am still a little sleepy and grateful to be lying down, but during breaks he asks of my education and origin. I hear of his family and the difficulty of choosing schools, if there is a choice.

I want to ask more about his work, but the fact of his moving the easel to face the wall every time I am up or he leaves the room does beg a softly softly approach. I cannot even see him as he works because he is stationed behind me. My guess is he is a very sensual, sensitive man who best attracts what he wants by being unassuming. As my friend says, normally men who are that good looking have a confident manner with women. But if this man was to display grand charm or seduce his class and models, they might not trust him so well. I might have made my excuses, and a showier muse may have taken him up.

I still trust him; he is one of the few with that ability to make me feel at ease when I am naked being myself. And there is an unsatisfied curiosity because he is not someone you get to know in a morning. It has been my wish to meet more of such men, so thank you world!

Here is another creature I recently attracted;

This little kitty refused to be turned away as I arrived home one day, so I let her come in to play. She toyed with drapery and nosed at mouse hide-outs, then slept peacefully till I had to put her out. I can’t imagine she isn’t loved by someone, but I hope she comes to visit again.

Uneven In Uxbridge

It took over 2 hours to get here, felt like the middle of nowhere. When a bus moves here, it travels far in a short time. Miss your stop means a lot of backtracking.

It felt provincial – in the end I stopped asking bus people directions as they couldn’t agree, well at least they replied. Looked in Google Map instead.

Finally down a country lane I find the school. Must sign in, and then a special runner takes me to art.

I am their first life model ever! So appreciation is not short. They used to trek to the nearby university, but cuts have forced a new trend.

I am given plenty biscuits for my trouble and allowed to feel relaxed. But I know this is the wrong thing really. A student from Hong Kong who walks me to my bus stop enquires if I am a dancer. I explain what is physical theatre, again. She asks if I have a show and I am positive. Back to my real work.

Mountain of Strength

High up in Crystal Palace, Caron Clarke is making me cringe.

How she dares tell her attendees to complete her outlandish tasks… is anathema to me. Can she not read the horror in their grimaces?

Maryam Saleemi suggests the dance I want to leap into!

Risks are how we learn. Not worrying about what others think, including our friends, allows us to grow. Clarke is right.

On Thursday evening the class want an easy session; if they haven’t been before they are in for a shock. OUT of your comfort zone will Caron wrench you. She will work the lethargy from you and replace it with collage, blind and non-writing hand drawing…

Martin Cleave makes the most of Caron being distracted by someone else

But seriously I have a massive soft spot for Caron. I’m always creasing at her antics, and her own buoyant smile bounces into my daydream. Having modeled for her a few years, I am familiar with the surprised transformations she elicits from her class.

Our friendship began when we discovered we both play the violin badly and she asked me to fiddle whilst modelling, sometimes we did duets.

I cannot believe the exercises she asks the class to do. I sense disgust

They will never come back. Can’t she see how unfeasible her idea is, that they are tired and just want to relax with some life drawing, not be jerked into spasms of disconcerting creativity?

Sunita Sharma is not put off by the challenges

But towards the end, the class is back with her, and they learnt something new.

It is Caron’s sheer boldness that asserts itself in fact in such delicate form which I admire. For her sumptuous watercolours, and bright shining humour. I don’t cringe anymore, but enjoy an extra giggle as she wades in without goggles. She is the real thing, all by herself and perfectly amazing, always brimming with abundant beauty, natural laughter.

In her Saturday long pose sessions Caron paints

Superb model Vanessa Abreu by Caron

Antenna, Crystal Palace & Caron combine for a groovy formula. The place is a recording studio; musicians, generally rock, indie wander about, tuning up on the roof, strumming in the yard. On my way to the loo my scanty covering flies up – I can feel the testosterone behind me. Hey – if I hang about long enough I might even get asked to be in a band… though I’ve not tried yet, guess I’d rather reach that by other means

are they musicians or punters?

resettlement

After a long weekend it takes time to recover; and if the weekend has been good, I cannot think for a while afterwards. Decision making is quite absent, except that I still need more sleep.

Aaron records the moment

In a beauteous time of gathering rhyme, fuzzing with slime… I ought to listen more carefully when those around me nudge, but I am very slow, and the progress sucks.
There is one area I do not neglect and it is unsurprising for a snake like me. My senses are attuned directionally violet.

We each have our own relationship with karma, and in my case, a wilderness of women awaited. I am still there really

Atop a tower, Canary Wharf, CitiBank workers get to draw me. I strip off close to the wide view only to be told nudity is forbidden.

Jessica Cavalletto draws me in the bank

Goddess Greetings

Ishtar in the middle of the Gods

Time stands still in Belsize Park

Mothers marvel at their model’s smiling grace, and they fall into peace

Bourgeois etiquette, Beauty measured, and the children’s progress

Successful trappings tap my circuitry and I wur more efficiently!

In the evening I convene in a large ornate South London church with many women more like me

Chairs removed and beats building I let go with them

Merging our chaos, rolling our hips against one another and howling on the altar

Tonight the Goddess culture brings us closer

We release all sorts of anguish and connect with eyes and movement

I feel a feminine frenzy sweeping and a witchy wailing unearthed

Filled with love for womenfolk, and this ecstatic dance is spun by all us here

Ishtar ~ Goddess of fertility, love, war & sex

Suffragette Revealed

Rae Flack's images caught the mood

A caged female stares at an audience arriving

Fresh flowers are treated to a trim, stalks first, heads last, all across the boards

Barricaded in, furniture encloses me

Petals scattered, scissor blades are turned to my prim attire

Blouse pierced I hack at sleeves and torso

Flesh revealed, I freeze in crazed stupor

Rae Flack's collages

My thighs are thick with an effervescing femininity as I perform Emmeline Pankhurst

Stripping in stages to discordant Schoenberg;  a feminist raging release from her clothes

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In the early 20th Century Suffragettes gathered at what is now the Battersea Arts Centre for radical meetings. Now this theme is recaptured with theatrical intent. A director instructs me to move subtly as I take the scissors to my garments. But it’s all in the moment, and I just can’t help myself.

There is something extremely potent about tearing one’s clothes off with total abandon, so I just go with it like a wild woman. Yet each impulsive thrust is followed by my contemplative stillness; I hold back for a unique build up of my own sexual tension, not directed to this audience, if only to the one in my mind.

Every performance has a new costume for me to destroy. The artists cut me up too, collages created, and a violent, sexy undressing given shape.