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Meet Your Models: Bob Webb

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Deep in thought as a pensive monk. Photo by Shahin Fathi Djalali.

While perusing art books in Shenzhen, China a former Academy of Art University student stumbled upon a familiar face on the cover of a masters guide to drawing.  Bob Webb’s twinkling eyes, full beard and quiet dignity are unmistakably a source for international inspiration. After receiving training as a stage actor, Webb found himself deeply influenced by Butoh [a form of Japanese dance] which has become a driving passion for the past 20 years. A talented man of many hats, Webb varies his time between figure modeling, stage managing, producing local shows and working as a choreographer. Whether behind the scenes or the main attraction, Webb is no stranger to pulling out all the stops to ensure the best of performances.

Where is your hometown?

Heavener, Oklahoma.

How did you become an artist model?

In the late sixties, I was living in a communal housing situation at the University of Oklahoma. A woman who lived there worked as an artist model and since we were relaxed about clothing, thought I should give it a try. I’ve been modeling off and on ever since. 

How long have you been with the Academy?

One thousand years! It was my first job in the city in 1982.  

List three words that describe your modeling style:

Dynamic, versatile and graceful.

Favorite characters to portray?

Cowboy, monk and pirate.

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Salt of the sea, a pirate ship’s first mate. Photo by Shahin Fathi Djalali.

Favorite instructors?

Thomas Gronbukt, Zhao Ming Wu and Henry Yan.

Favorite part of being an artist model?

The versatility of the challenge. I like the fact that every day is different.

What might surprise people about artist modeling?

That it is really hard work. It’s not easy! It can also be an inordinate amount of fun.  

How have you seen art modeling change over the years?

When I first started modeling in 1968, men couldn’t be nude. We had to wear little g-strings. It was okay for women though.  

Who are your personal muses?

 Writers primarily. (In order of preference) Gary Snyder, Rebecca Solnit, Jack Kerouac, Ursula LeGuin and Wallace Stegner. Also Butoh masters Kazuo Ohno and Hiroko Tamano.

Best album to pose to?

I don’t have a favorite type of music. In fact, I almost prefer something I haven’t heard before.

 

If you could be drawn by any artist living or dead who would it be?

Michelangelo or Leonardo Da Vinci. Just because I’d like to meet them. 

Hobbies outside of modeling?

Reading, backpacking and most people don’t know I truly love trashy movies.

If you joined the circus, who would you be?

Master of ceremonies.

If you could live anywhere, where would you live?

Andalusia, a province in Spain. 

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

 Oh geez, off the top of my head something mundane like flying ... the ability to open people’s perceptions. 

Who would play you in your biography?

Brad Pitt. [chuckles] Zero Mostel, but he’s dead.  

Final quote:

“No thinking, only soul.”