A friend, who is an English teacher and writer challenged me about why artists draw the naked body. It is always good to have a debate about something you believe in, especially if you have 32 years of experience in the subject.
It is interesting to me as a question as well. After art college and studies in Italy, I was 'figure' tired. Upon my return to Toronto from Europe, I began a series of pieces exploring buildings, spaces and objects. In my illustrations, at the time, I used the figure more as a graphic shape carved into taut compositions. I was living my life fully asleep and my work at the time was split between bad art and even worse illustration.
My life changed and I moved into a loft in a horrible neighbourhood (where I actually first met the English teacher) and the first Gulf War was happening. I also was offered a single 3 hour drawing course at Sheridan College in Art Fundamentals. Teaching drawing forced me to return to drawing, and the Gulf War was my first subject. I began painting clenched fists with black ink. I used whatever I could dip into the ink to draw with and I was hooked.
Drawing was back in my hands but it would never be the same as it had been. I also returned to drawing from life and this lead to a whole new approach in my art and illustration.
How did I answer the English teacher? I didn't say anything, I drew him a picture.