You’re Not Pretty Enough



Ink, paper, 6×8″, Amy Turilli ©2017

A recruiter didn’t have a job for me, but she did have unsolicited advice. She encouraged me to hire a photographer. You know, one who specializes in actor’s head shots, to make a nice portrait of  me that conveyed a hard-working and dedicated professional.

“Oh,” I said, “are hiring managers worried that I might be too young? Too pretty? Too white? Or, not man enough?” She assured me that my attitude wasn’t going to win me a lot of likes. I assured her I would no longer pick up when she called. She appreciated that.

A new law went into effect in California in 2018 making it illegal for employers to require job seekers to include their salary history with their application. “The rationale underlying these laws is that pay inequities are perpetuated when current pay is based on past employer decisions that could have been discriminatory.” -Bruce J. Sarchet.

I have no hard evidence, only a sinking suspicion that the ubiquitous social media profile picture is being used by hiring managers in a discriminatory way. She’s too ugly. He’s too dark. She’s too foreign. He doesn’t look like an accountant.

I have never been asked to produce a picture of myself by a potential employer, and I have no reason to suspect a hiring manager has shredded my resume because he or she is unable to confirm that I am a human being and not a rhinoceros. For the record, I am not a rhinoceros. Nor am I Frederick Douglass. If you want to see what I look like, bring me in for an interview.




Ride Like You Mean It

Chicago2LA_smallWrite like you mean it. Paint, draw, sing, dance like you mean it. Whatever it is you do to express a thought, convey an emotional experience, or report an observation, do it with a clear, steady voice and don’t let anyone stop you from saying what you mean.

A few years ago, I let a friend push me around. I let her insecurity force me to self-censor and I removed a piece that she found personally offensive. I was in an emotionally vulnerable place and easily manipulated.

When I look at this photo of my bike outside Oatman, Arizona, I find it almost impossible to believe the woman who rode that little thing all the way from Chicago to Los Angeles–solo–could be described as easily manipulated.  It’s not something I like to brag about, but it’s a flaw and I’m working on recognizing my own insecurities and developing a strategy to eradicate them forever.

Mean it.



It’s Only A Cylinder


Men are ruining figure drawing workshops in and around Los Angeles.  For those who have never attended, a figure drawing workshop is usually uninstructed and is attended by artists looking to expand their knowledge of the human figure by drawing the nude. The prudish among you might find this offensive and obscene, and to those inclined that way, stop looking at my drawings. Why, you may wonder, must the model be nude? Can’t you artists draw a human being with their clothes on? Yes, of course, we do that all the time, and our drawings of clothes on the figure suck, unless we understand the structure supporting the clothing. To understand the structure that lies beneath all the fabric, we need to study the anatomy of a living human. Thankfully there are people who are willing to strip away the costume and present the human form in various positions, highlighting and focusing on different muscle groups and how they function. I can’t draw a baseball player throwing a ball unless I have studied the pectoralis major in action, and this brings me to my point. I can’t draw the pectoralis  major, because men are ruining figure drawing workshops.

Men and women alike have two pectoralis major muscles. On the female form this muscle is obscured by the breasts. The larger the breasts, the more difficult it is to find the muscle beneath. If we can’t locate the muscle because of a predisposed inclination to store fat, we will have difficulty locating the bony landmarks by which we navigate. These landmarks help us understand the direction of the rib cage. If you get the rib cage wrong, you will never get the pelvis right and you can’t get the tilt of the pelvis, unless you can depict the rib cage with accuracy. An artist, when depicting the human form, will start with the rib cage, because it is the largest structure and determines the tilt of the pelvis, which we must understand in order to depict the legs. Do you see where I’m going with this?


Simply, you can’t draw a woman unless you can draw a man, but men don’t like drawing naked men for one reason: genitalia. A man’s nutso aversion to drawing other men leads administrators of figure drawing workshops to cater to these insecurities by dropping male models altogether. They succumb to this because men won’t patronize the workshop if there’s a man on the platform, and men make up the bulk of the patrons. It’s a sad fact, but women are in the minority, when it comes to figure drawing workshops. I suppose they are at home taking care of children and that’s a pretty good reason not to draw, or do other things that are really fun and exciting.  Men might say something like “Women are works of art and that’s why I prefer drawing women.”  Really? I might buy into that logic if the greatest work of art in our entire history was not a male nude.

In truth, men are too insecure to depict another man’s Johnson. Guys, you should be able to do this, seeing as you have one. You touch it everyday, more than once, I’m sure. But, in the impossible event that you have never touched or looked at your own penis, let’s have a refresher course in artist’s terms: your reproductive organ is a cylinder riding atop and simultaneously flanked by two ovoid spheres. Draw a cylinder and two spheres. Three simple shapes and you’re done. You don’t have to touch it, just draw it. No one is making an assumption about your sexuality when you depict another man’s genitals. Honestly, I’m just trying to get the rib cage right. If it weren’t for the five minute breaks between poses, I wouldn’t even know you were in the room.


To all you men who have ruined figure drawing workshops by refusing to patronize the studio on days when a man is scheduled, thus forcing the workshop administrator to switch to the “all-girl revue”, grow up and take your art seriously, or take your sketchbook to a strip club. That’s where you want to be, so why not go? Enjoy your rotten drawings and let the rest of us improve.


Note from the author: This post originally appeared in 2011, but I got bored with blogging and deleted it. I’m reposting it upon request. The drawings I’ve included may not be the same that appeared in the original post. And, yes, these are my drawings. With the exception of one drawing, all are on smooth newsprint, using a Caran D’Ache water soluble wax pastel. The other one is Sharpie on 80lb. drawing paper.