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UNDERGROUND LIFE DRAWING

October 22, 2011

In Los Angeles, all of October is THE BIG DRAW month – a wide variety of drawing events taking place all throughout LA and Orange County. However, the enthusiasm for drawing in LA is not limited to these 31 days. There has been an explosion of drawing in LA that’s been growing for a while now. I have to say that it’s exciting to watch and, when possible, to be a part of it.

Every Thursday night at Casey’s Pub downtown, professional and amateur artists socialize and sketch at THE ORIGINAL DRINK AND DRAW SOCIAL CLUB. The group was founded by comic book artist professionals and it’s simply thrilling to overhear commiseration about the industry and watch the speed and effortlessness of these drawing pros as they sketch whatever pops into their minds.

I recently attended the similarly-named DRINKING AND DRAWING, an one-off animation party where artists had ten minutes to animate 8 frames of a cartoon, which would continue with the next artist. The place was absolutely packed and the drawings were great.

drinkinganddrawing


What was really taken off in LA, however, is life drawing. At the center of the current life drawing movement are two groups. DR. SKETCHYand GALLERY GIRLS.

Dr. Sketchy is a worldwide phenomenon and the LA branch is certainly filled with a ton of atmosphere. One of the two monthly LA Dr. Sketchy meetings takes place in a big warehouse, downtown. You are greeted at a loading dock and are brought up a freight elevator to the gallery. The whole thing feels like an “Eyes Wide Shut” party, except no one’s having sex and the attendees aren’t millionaires. Gallery Girls is run by model, Jennifer Fabos Patton, who really strives to come up with interesting themes for the drawing sessions: “Nymphs and Satyrs” “Persian Princess” “Liquid Sky” (yes, the movie) and “Cosplay.”

There is a palpable excitement to these events and it feels like it’s growing. The “scene” is quite hip and happening and I think there are three reasons why.

1. There are a lot of gifted artists in Hollywood – artists who work in animation, special effects, comic books and video games. These artists generally got to where they are because their work demonstrated technical proficiency. It’s not difficult for anyone to understand why they’re “good.” While much of the world of art isn’t necessarily about daughtsmanship, the LA drawing scene is overflowing with talent primarily based in representational skill.

2. I don’t know any other way to put this. Unlike art school, there is no shortage of attractive models in LA. These models are very willing to show up when there is even a little bit of money involved. This, in turn, results in many artists flocking to these events.

3. LA knows how to throw a party. I went to a Sketch Theatre drawing event at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects, which took place in a large hangar. There were refreshments, two podiums, about six models posing and a DJ blasting music. The entire place was packed – artists were seated everywhere, some drawing on computer tablets set up right next to people with drawing boards. During the third pose, the DJ stopped spinning the music and a live band took over and began rocking out. I had just moved from my chair to the floor and was not far from the music. Although there was not much kinetic activity in the room, it was a very powerful moment. And I was not the only person motivated by the excitement of the situation. I looked at the drawing of the person on the floor next to me and was blown away by it. It was only the next morning that I learned I’d been drawing next to acclaimed artist, ROBERT VARGAS, known for “bringing fine art to street art.”

I can’t wait to go to the next one.

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