Artist Focus : Derek Gores

I met Derek Gores while attending a memorial for my friend and favorite/first photographer – James Regan. I was very close with James and attending the memorial was very hard for me. Several times I had to break away from viewing the incredible tribute to him to sneak off to the washroom to regain my composure. At one point at the end, deep in my thoughts, a man came up to me and asked if I was one of the models on the wall. I pointed out the bathtub image James shot of me and proudly told him I was. He remarked what a great photographer – and man – James was. Tearing up – I agreed. He then asked if I had considered modeling for artists for drawing sessions, and he said he holds drawing events at his gallery. At this point, with no fanfare and just a low-key conversation – I realized he was artist and gallery owner – Derek Gores.  I was struck by how down to earth and friendly he was, despite his traveling all over the world to promote and display his art. 

I told Derek I had contacted a few colleges and art schools in my area to model for artists in the past, but had not heard back from them. He gave me his card and told me to follow-up with his assistant, if I had interest. In the end, the event – Dr. Sketchy – was held on a Friday night, and since I live in Downtown Orlando and Melbourne was just over an hour drive for me, it just didn’t work out.  And we lost touch.

I went back to Orlando though with a renewed vigor and passion to seek out trying to pose for artists. I posted one of James’ amazing fine art photos he photographed of me in a Facebook Orlando drawing group, and was happily surprised by the response from the group.

In that group, I had many artists reach out via private messages that said they wanted to work with me. Through these connections,  I was able to finally get into the art school I wanted to pose for, as well as get posing experience through private sessions with artists. The biggest incentive to get that life modeling experience in, was the owner for a local gallery – Jose Henao.  Jose said he liked my look and wanted me to pose for his upcoming workshop for artist Steven Assael – at his gallery – HENAO Contemporary Center. I had never heard of Steven (since I was new to the art world), but after viewing his website, I realized what an incredible opportunity had just landed in my lap. With Derek planting that seed, I would not have found my passion for life modeling – nor would I have had that opportunity.

Deeply enmeshed in the Orlando arts  scene, I gave up on my idea of modeling for Derek’s gallery. And then one day I received a private message on Facebook from artist Susana Maria Rosende. Susana found that image from many months ago that I posted on the Facebook drawing group’s page. She encouraged me to branch out to the East coast  and provided many leads on artists and galleries, as potential venues. One of those artists was Derek Gores.  Susana didn’t stop at just giving me info though … she believed in my modeling so much that she personally messaged the artists and after she messaged Derek, he showed interest in booking me. Derek and I reconnected again and I was elated to find out that he had an upcoming Wet/Dry workshop and he needed a model. A few months later, I finally got to model for artists in Derek’s gallery as he had envisioned almost a year before.

The Wet/Dry process was really cool. Unlike watercolor, the whole paper is drenched in water, then charcoal is used on the wet paper. Not only did Derek teach the students in the workshop the fundamentals of Wet/Dry drawing, but he also spoke about his favorite artists. I was inspired to recreate this Egon Schiele pose after Derek showed this drawing (below) during the teaching portion of the workshop. (Fun Fact! I originally wrote this blog over a week ago, but Derek was in Austria viewing an exhibit featuring the work of Egon Schiele at the Albertina Museum, and he had more drawings he wanted to send me, so this blog was a bit delayed.  🙂 )

And here is Derek’s take on that iconic Girl with Yellow Scarf pose….I had a few modifications – a flower crown and a neck scarf …

This was my first time posing for an all female artist group and it was a really rewarding experience.

Here is another drawing by Derek that has such incredible likeness, which is amazing to me, considering the technique used. He also has such a unique way of creating the artwork …. he kind of does the standing splits while standing at the table. It was interesting to watch him create from my peripheral view. The drawing below is amazing … Derek nailed my side profile …

Here is an amazing torso drawing Derek created from that session …

And by the way … waiting for Derek to return was totally worth it. He sent me the drawing below he created from the session that I don’t recall seeing when I was there. It is my all time favorite from all of his pieces from that day. So beautifully light in certain areas as your mind fills in the complete image. Such a peaceful, dreamy image. Love this ….

So I have Derek to thank for leading me on this life modeling journey. Had he not planted that seed two years ago, I would not be having so much fun as I am having now.  Had Susana not reconnected us again, I would not have had the great opportunity to pose for Derek’s workshop. This proves everything in life that is meant to happen, will eventually happen.

You can find out more about Derek, and find locations to see his incredible artwork in person, on his website , Facebook page, or his Instagram profile. He not only creates incredible drawings, but is probably most know for his intricately detailed and beautiful collage art.  Keep an eye on his workshops page if you have an interest in meeting Derek in person and learning his varied forms of creating art.

Finally, Robot Love is the most current project Derek is working on, click here to find out more about this exhibit that marries art, music, tech, dance and love. Or follow his Facebook page for his gallery to keep current on all his varied projects.


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