One of the perks of writing my newest novel, Art of Death, was that it gave me the opportunity to travel back in time to my art school days. I'm sure we all remember that first taste of freedom we had after finally breaking free of the clutches of our parents and venturing out into the world. It was a magical time, wasn’t it?
I learned so many valuable lessons in college. I learned that the pigment known as Indian Yellow was originally created from cow urine. I learned of the existence of furries. I learned that just because they’re selling two Long Island Iced Teas for the price of one, it doesn’t mean you should drink two Long Island Iced Teas for the price of one. And I learned that if a security guard knocks on the studio door and you let him in, the nude model who was in the middle of posing will throw a fit and cuss you out.
If there’s one thing I wish I took advantage of more in art school, it’s the access to nude models. My parents were basically paying for people to get naked in front of me twice a week. Figure drawing classes feel almost surreal when you’re a sheltered teen who’s never before seen a real live naked person who wasn’t related to you. And getting a spot up close to the modeling platform is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because of the unobstructed view, but a curse because some models are chattier than others, and what exactly do you say to a guy after you’ve spent the past twenty minutes rendering the creases of his ass?
Now that I’m five years out of college, I’m sure I’d be more adept at handling the social aspects of working with figure models. At this point, I likely wouldn’t feel any awkwardness at all. I do plan to sign up for a figure painting class in the near future as a way to brush up on my skills, and I recommend it to anyone with artistic inclinations. I will warn you, however, that straight male instructors tend to suck at offering a good balance between male and female models. One of my college instructors even justified his choice of models by saying, “Who wants to look at a naked man all day?” I’m sure a good portion of the girls in the class, and a handful of the guys, would have raised their hands, but he could only see the world through his “straight guy” goggles.
Riley, the main character from Art of Death, is a recent graduate of a prestigious art school, but after struggling to make ends meet in the midst of the recession, he takes up nude modeling to supplement his income. I would have killed to have a model like Riley in college; at my school, you were more likely to spot a yeti than a young, attractive male model. They were so rare, in fact, that the two or three times we had them, a lot of us girls got so flustered that we created some of the worst paintings of our college careers.
Of course, Riley pays a price for his attractiveness when he catches the eye of the famous artist Coliaro, whose paintings are linked to the serial murders of twelve young men. But if you want to hear that story, you’re going to have to check out Art of Death! About the Author:
Ana is an avid animal lover and can't imagine life without her feathered and furry housemates. In her spare time, she runs a weekly webcomic and drinks lots of tea.
Find Ana online at:
Despite the support of his rich older boyfriend, starving artist Riley Burke is determined not to be a trophy—hence his second job as a nude model at the local art school. It’s important to him that he pay his own way, so when the artist Coliaro requests a private modeling session with him, he jumps at the chance to earn some real cash.
Then he hears the rumors—that Coliaro is undead. That his worshippers perform rituals to fill him with life energy. That every time he paints a male nude, the painting transforms to depict a gruesome murder. And that shortly after, a young man turns up dead.
The source of these rumors is a man named Westwood, who claims to be an instructor at the school and warns Riley not to get involved. Riley ignores the advice—but when the rumors pan out and another murder looms, he turns to Westwood for help. Westwood is clearly keeping secrets. He’s dangerous, and Riley doesn’t know if he can be trusted—which makes him all the more attractive. Riley is in way over his head… and his involvement with the undead may make him the ultimate target.