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Perceive Me Redux: Nude Portrait Sessions
A new social practice component of "Perceive Me"

For “Perceive Me Redux”, plus-size artist Kristine Schomaker challenges us to examine our perception and acceptance of our selves with Nude Portrait Sessions held for the first time at The Other Art Fair, Barker Hanger in Santa Monica April 4-7, 2024.

Schomaker gathered 34 professional artists to draw the likeness of interested fair-goers in a series of private 25 minute nude portrait sessions. They worked in 3-4 hour increments over the run of the fair. 48  aspiring “models” over 18 years signed up for a session at the "Perceive Me" booth, they choose their desired pose/s and had the option to purchase their finished sketches and/or paintings for $25 ea. 611 total drawings/paintings were created with 270 sold. 

The portrait sessions were free, available on a first-come first-served basis, and took place in a private studio setting with a changing room onsite at the Fair. Only artists and the model had access to the drawing space; no cameras are allowed.

In conjunction with the Nude Portrait Drawing, Schomaker presented a special showing of a selection of works from previous "Perceive Me" exhibitions. Through multiple iterations of “Perceive Me”, plus-size artist Kristine Schomaker challenged us to examine our acceptance of differences- especially related to size. She posed for 60 artists to do nude portraits of her larger-than-average form; the results were a celebration of and for anyone who has ever felt less than beautiful. Rather than shaming Schomaker for her size, the artists celebrated it with paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, gift wrap, video and a 3D print.

With these exhibitions, Schomaker touched on pervasive cultural standards of the “right” female body- an idea that challenges many and has become a ubiquitous issue with the widespread use of digital filters, photo editing and social media dissemination. She hated having her photo taken because she didn’t mirror what she saw in TV, movies and other media. She developed an eating disorder, but never lost sight of the need to express herself in her art.

Schomaker's premise has been described as brave, but honest may be a better descriptor for her project. It's about how we view ourselves- to ourselves; and how that meets, merges or collides with how others see us. It provides a framework to the artists and viewers alike to help us “see” more about ourselves. Kristine will continue and evolve "Perceive Me" into the future; it addresses an important topic that resonates with viewers. She is already working on new collaborations and presentations, arranging nude drawing sessions, and organizing exhibitions. As long as body image remains an issue in our society, she will continue this important project.

“Perceive Me” premiered in January of 2020 at California State University, Los Angeles; after over a year of pandemic restrictions, the show moved Studio Channel Islands for a seven-week exhibition in the summer of 2021. The first museum exhibition of "Perceive Me" took place at MOAH: CEDAR in Lancaster, CA in the fall of 2021. Coastline College Gallery, Newport Beach, CA was the 4th iteration. The most recent full presentation took place at Mesa Community College Art Gallery, San Diego, CA in early 2023.


"Creating artworks inspired by the live nude models at the Perceive Booth at The Other Art Fair was a transformative event. The models, most had never modeled before, were often nervous before and then after modeling reached a new personal place. Some were elated and literally jumped for joy and gave high fives to the artists. Some wept noting the profundity of the moment. As an artist I was transformed as well. I was fortunate to draw at four sessions and my concerns went from technical doubts and formal artistic worries to embracing the collaborative nature of the event. I let my artworks speak to me of the moment as the models literally bared their souls. And the supportive camaraderie with the other talented and personable artists was palpable. I did not want the drawing sessions to end. I met new friends, and colleagues, and collectors and created drawings that I am proud of." ~Artist Gregg Chadwick

"A life experience like no other. Drawing live nude models with professional models not anything like people who had not undressed in front of strangers before to have themselves immortalized. The artists witnessed tears, giggles, chatter and stoic reactions from the models. And that has nothing to do with what the models may have been feeling in their guts. I spoke to one who modeled a few days later and she said it was indeed life-changing for her. Layers of her own self-talk of negativity were gone. Now I try to imagine myself on that platform rather than behind my papers and pens - and I wonder at the possibilities… and as I write this - goosebumps down to my ankles. Grateful to have been a part of Kristine’s Perceive Me Redux." ~Artist Susan Dukow

"Drawing for Perceive Me: Redux was so moving and humbling. As an artist, we bring a professional skillset to the room. But as a human, we are holding safe space for vulnerability, transformation, healing... I was so honored to be part of that experience for each of the models. I was also astounded at the range of techniques and styles employed by my fellow artists. I had the great fortune to take part in two seasons, and it was remarkable to see the different approaches of how the leads worked with the models and how the artists rendered them. So beautiful! I highly recommend this for both artists and models." ~Artist Theresa Bernadette


"Perceive Me life drawing sessions gave both the artists and the models a way to interact in an increasingly disconnected world. Like live theater, life drawing is an immediate and authentically human experience." ~Alexandra Dillon

"I was deeply moved when witnessing the people who disrobed for the first time and how they allowed their naked image to be painted or drawn by an artist. One can see fear or shame or grief through their first moments posing... but also bravery!!! Women particularly often feel they do not measure up to some unrealistic standard of beauty. Kristine set up rules for creating comfort and respect and so the models being appreciated and then seeing the final results... negative thoughts of themselves they had brought shifted, replaced with a sense of power that they contributed with their inner person and body to a serious artist's creation of a piece of lovely art." ~Carole Goldman

"Sketched and drew steadily for 3 hours, 1 short pose and 1 long pose for each of 6 models. It was very high-energy, no pause in 3 hours, I was amazed to see so many people stepping right up and going for it! One lady with long blonde and silver hair got emotional right afterward and said it was the most incredible thing she'd ever done; a younger athletic woman who was literally trembling with nerves finished her session, jumped up and pumped her fist exclaiming "Yeah! Bucket List!!" A couple with 3 little kids took turns posing, while the other one wrangled the kids. Do you really have any idea how many lives your project has touched? The unforgettable peak moments you have offered to so many people? You're an incredible catalyst, this is truly a gift to the world. The experience made me feel more an artist, I don't regularly sketch the figure so I went back to review classroom and workshop drawings I did 10 or 12 years ago...hey some of those are pretty good...and it came right back. All the artists I worked with were so enthusiastic, cooperative, attract great people around you." ~Jeff Iorillo

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