There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
John Hammack has been modeling nude for 15 years, ever since a guy at the gym spied him naked in the locker room and suggested he start disrobing professionally. In the past decade and a half, Hammack has removed his clothing in front of hundreds of people in the D.C. area. Dude has got stories. Hammack, 53—-“the same age as Kevin Sorbo“—-agreed to talk about 15 years of accidental erections, intentional eroticism, and fathering a budding art student who wonders “why dad keeps a bathrobe in the trunk of his car.”
On creative posing:
[One] model—-a really good one, actually—-couldn’t come up with an idea until she finally decided on a Lorena Bobbitt pose. She held the male model’s dick in one hand, and a plastic knife in another. Wish I’d been him. The instructor called a halt to that pose, the guy had to lose his erection, and the girl hasn’t been called back since. . . . the students bitched because they liked the pose.
On workplace hazards:
One class I was in I was modeling beside a skeleton that fell on me. I’m now laying down on the floor with bones on top of me looking like a candidate for necrophilia.
One time I was doing private modeling for a woman who is a really good artist. She talked about a BDSM thing she was into. Although she is attractive, I never thought of her being a sexual person before. Of course, I got an erection that just wouldn’t go away. To this day, we never talk about it. I’ve posed for her several times since, but I avoid this subject—-BDSM.
On getting comfortable with genitalia:
One cute story was at a religious school. The instructor had never worked with a nude model even as a student. She had me bring in progressively skimpier underwear until she could grow accustomed to the idea. The last session the students asked her, ‘Why not?’ She became confused because she couldn’t give a good answer. While she was stammering, I simply took it all off. It was funny for everyone, and more than a little enlightening for her. She repeatedly expressed her gratitude at the end of the class and over the phone.
[Intentional arousal] has happened at least three times off the top of my head by female models. They pose sitting on my lap doing a classical pose called “The Kiss” or some other embrace. They then start to wiggle just enough. They know what they are doing. As long as the pose lasts long enough until I can calm down, it’s OK, but it really screws with a guy’s mind—-and they know this. One time, prior to a class beginning, I was trying to help an instructor—-actually, one I’d been really attracted to for years—-arrange a ceiling light. She was standing on a chair but couldn’t reach it. She asked me to hop onto the chair with her. I’m naked and I know how much I like her. If the room was otherwise empty, maybe I would have. I told her she needed to get down so I could get onto the chair. I still ask myself, “What if?”
On penis drawings:
At least twice, once in a drawing class and once in a sculpture class, participants drew my attention to what they’d drawn. In the drawing, she selected a rather personal part of my anatomy to pay particular attention to. In the sculpture, a different student kept shaping and reshaping the same body part. She couldn’t seem to get it right, so she walked up for a much closer observation.
Many times people have opened doors or walked by windows and seen me in my full splendor. If the blinds are open, I never really notice. After all, I am where I am suppose to be, doing something legally allowed. They are the ones who should be uncomfortable. . . . most art models really don’t care. We are into narcissism. If we look good and won’t offend anyone, we’d do it in the parking lot. We usually like to be the center of attention. It fulfills some need beyond the money. For me, it makes me stay in good shape, and it is a means of expression. I am horrible at drawing figuratively, so I think this makes up for some of the frustration.
On reactions to “I’m a nude model”:
I’m a conservative, [and] I generally don’t mention it to [other conservatives]. My liberal friends seem to get it—-either that, or they have less morality.
Once I was at a reception at the Museum for Women in Art. I told two extremely sweet, attractive ladies in their 70s how I got invited there was because I was a friend of the hostess of a show. They asked me how I knew her, so I told them. They looked surprised, then pleased, then they smiled, then they giggled like little teenagers. Before the reception was over I made a point of kissing them both on their cheeks and hugging them.
I would never tell coworkers either in law enforcement or my current security-related work about this. Not because of reprisals, I simply don’t want them to denigrate what I do. I respect what I do and the students, instructors, and artist I work for—-as well as other art models. If someone tries too hard to find out how I spend my time, I tell them I am doing martial arts, because they already know I do this a lot and it fits into their overall picture of me.
. . . Being a member of the Mormon church, I was worried about their opinion when I joined. Since one of the members who encouraged my conversion was the wife of a bishop, and an art teacher I was working for, I didn’t see much reason to quit. We both agreed to not discuss the matter around others.
On the misconception that nude modeling is necessarily sexual:
New art models [sometimes have this misconception]. They either quit soon after they start when they realize there are easier ways to get a date on a Saturday night, or they begin to become more professional. New art students have to deal with this, too. Right now my daughter is getting ready for this issue. She is really prudish. I guess it never occurred to her why dad keeps a bathrobe in the trunk of his car. New art students have to be dealt with tenderly until they realize I’m not trying to be their gay lover, and I’m not going to hop off the stage and assault them. They tend to avoid drawing my hands, my face, and my tender parts. The first two because they are hard to get right. I’m not so sure about the last one, though.
Artwork—-not of John Hammack—-by Keli Anaya.