We had the good fortune of connecting with Pash Galbavy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Pash, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
People used to ask if I was a model, which I found curious since I didn’t think I looked good enough to be one. When I was first asked to model for a life drawing class, I was too scared to do it, because I thought I didn’t have the physical attributes. Eventually, I decided to try modeling for a photographer whose portfolio I liked, and I discovered that I enjoyed the work and that it was very empowering. I started modeling for artists when I was in my late thirties and I’m now in my fifties. I think its important work to buck a system that says you should only show your body if you’re young and beautiful. I went to high school in the seventies and eighties in Sedona. I spent a lot of time naked on the land there, swimming in the creek and hiking. At that time, Sedona wasn’t so popular, so you could do that and never meet a soul. I was also a massage practitioner for over two decades, so I saw and worked on thousands of naked bodies. Only a small handful fit our societal supposed “norms” of physical attractiveness. So, I knew from first-hand experience that I wasn’t alone. I’ve also always had a rebellious streak, and I delight in the non-traditional aspects of those pleasures and my businesses. In my opinion, the most important purposes of creating art are to show beauty or emotion or to make a statement about something meaningful. So, it is my honor to participate in that process with talented artists. My personal art practice lies in using my body to express emotion, archetypes, characters, and often feelings that people can’t identify or don’t want to acknowledge. I do this through mask making and performance art, movement and dance, and modeling for artists. There is nothing better or richer for me than working with skilled art practitioners of various mediums to help bring our visions to life. One great example was modeling for photographer Jorge Vismara on the homesite and surrounds of our family home of 48 years that burnt to the ground in the 2018 Woolsey fire. It was a healing way to work through some of the trauma of that loss and also to illustrate the devastating and very real impact of climate change. In 2012, I was thrilled when Vince Fazio, director of the Sedona Arts Center, asked if I would host and model for life drawing groups there. Since then, I’ve conducted weekly life drawing sessions and modeled for many art workshops there, as well as at other venues. Now, with COVID-19 upon us, our weekly life drawing groups have gone online and they are no longer limited to local participants only. That part is a boon. I currently offer online Friday Long Pose and Monday Short Pose sessions, 10am-1pmMST, and other groups are in the works. Attendees RSVP to me in advance for a Zoom meeting link to attend. I also provide private sessions to artists. Sedona Arts Center is also giving other online art-related workshops. It’s been great to provide these live-stream opportunities to the whole world!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My background in dance, physical theater, and performance art are some of the main things that distinguish my modeling work from others. Plus, I have a passion for using my body to express whatever I’m feeling or going through. I also studied and have extensive experience facilitating various types of person-centered groups. And I have a Masters degree in Communication Studies. All of these comes into play in working with individual and groups of artists. It wasn’t easy at first to get naked in front of groups or even individual artists. But, I started thinking about it as if I was removing my physical clothes and putting on a magical cloak of confidence. At first the cloak didn’t seem to fit. I felt like an imposter whose confidence wasn’t real. And honestly, I sometimes still can’t believe that I’m in this business or that I have the gonads for it. My inner critic is appalled almost every time I model. So, I acknowledge that part. I give a bow to it and to the horrible things it says about my lacking in proper physical attributes due to my weight, cellulite, wrinkles, age, and all the rest. Then I get on with the work that I love.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would take them to the Grand Canyon, Jerome, Montezuma’s Well and to special red rock hiking spots. We would dine at Chocolatree, Picazzo’s Healthy Italian Kitchen, and maybe Thai Spices, and we’d have picnics on the red rocks. If they were game, I would take them to my contact improvisation dance group on second Fridays in Flagstaff. We would check out the art exhibits at Sedona Arts Center. And of course, I would invite them to participate in my Monday short pose and Friday long pose life drawing groups!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Special thanks to my husband, Marty Landa, for being secure enough to give his blessing for me to get naked in front of other people. Also, I want to extend my gratitude to the Sedona Arts Center for trusting me to facilitate and model for the life drawing groups there and for inviting me to work with so many incredible artists. Lastly, I want to thank the many hundreds of dedicated and amazing artists that I’ve had the good fortune to work with.
Other: https://unmaskit.com https://www.facebook.com/unmaskit/
Susie Lang, Bob Coates, Jorge Vismara, Pam Taylor, Kelli Klymenco