The beauty of being human is that we have the ability to converse in social interaction many different ways. Some soft and subtle, like holding eye contact with an individual as you’re engulfed in a comfortable silence. Some primitive, like two bucks clashing antlers vying for the females attention. Which can be likened to two red blooded males squabbling over a damsel in your local Wetherspoons. Recently I was fortunate enough to partake in a form of social interaction through the medium of art, to be more specific, through life drawing.
It all came about as I visited my good friend down in London town, we had spent the day perusing though the copious amounts of museums the capital had to offer, and as evening drew near we pondered on our night time activity choices. We stopped off at a local convenience store and picked up a couple bottles of wine, as we all know the greatest decisions are always made with a bold, full bodied shiraz flowing through your system.
We were not mistaken, as we sipped on our elixir of happiness, and wonder the vision came to us, as vivid as the burning bush came to Moses, as clear as the old colonial gentleman was to me in Amsterdam after I chewed on one too many mushrooms. Life drawing. After a quick internet search, we were on our way to a local community centre in Brixton, where the charcoal, and inspiration awaited us.
I have to admit, I was slightly disappointed when I first arrived. I had imagined to walk through a haze of incense, met by a beautiful host, given a silk rope so my artistic flare wasn’t constricted by the material of my clothes. Hindsight, that image might have been magnified by the couple bottles of wine in my system. What I was met by was a plate of digestive biscuits, and a fella called Richard asking from a tenner off me.
I did not let my disappointment hold me back, in art you have to open yourself up, heighten the senses, and try not to get biscuit crumbs in your beard…I managed two out of the three. We took our seats, and the run of play was read out to us. There were two models, an older gentleman, and a younger woman. We had three ‘sets’ (two fifteen minutes, and one thirty minute) to transfer from what we felt and saw from our heart, retinas, and souls, onto paper. Lets do this.
The models entered, they did a lap of the circle of budding artists, the gentleman stood square on in front of me, hands on his hips, looking off into the middle distance. All I could think was, strong pose. The first set had begun, at this time it dawned on me that I hadn’t attempted to draw something other than a penis is many moons. Shit. I was about to be found out as a fraudster, merely here to check out some boobs, and eat digestives. I dug deep, looked into my soul, locked eyes with the gentleman and let my hands take over. The first set went by relatively quickly, taking a few glances round, there was some fantastic artists in the room. The majority of the second set was spent formulating a plan in my mind on how I was going to steal someone else’s work from under their nose. Some real oceans eleven stuff.
Before the third and final set there was a break, it gave me chance to stock up on biscuits, complain about the quality of my charcoal, which obviously meant that my drawings were not up to my usual best, and try make small talk with these arty folk. When this failed, I snuck outside to have a cigarette. This is when I met Julia, the greatest women of the evening, whom gave me some sound advice heading into the final set.
“Its art, if you can pull some bullshit explanation why you did what you did, people will buy into it.”
With these words burning into my soul, I entered the room with a newly found confidence, if I couldn’t impress these people with my drawings, I would bamboozle them with my words. The final set dragged on a bit, the buzz from my wine had died off, but we made it through! I had completed my first life drawing class.
The picture above this post is the ‘masterpiece’ I created in the final thirty minute set, when asked after my a group of classmates to explain it, I took Julia’s advice and said;
‘I was more focussing on the energy of the room, rather than the individual, to me the atmosphere was tense, and sharp. Which was portrayed in the models ridged pose, to me it looked like he was holding a lot of emotion back, thats why there isn’t any facial features. Just darkness.’
In reality what I should have said was – ‘I can’t draw, I’m still slightly drunk, can I have another biscuit’. However, the artists of the group seemed to be satisfied with my answer, nodded their head with agreement, and maybe a little satisfaction. I had made it! I was accepted by them!