Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Steampunk Anti-Art Class

I've been writing a post in my head for some time about the state of Art Education in 21st Century America for sometime. This post will be a brilliant rant, something akin to Daniel Clowes' Art School Confidential... or so I tell myself...

Well, until that time comes, I'll let you revel in the subversive creative joy that is Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School. Dr. Sketchy's is life-drawing for hipsters. Burlesque dancers as models, drinks are served, heck, drinking contests are held. The atmosphere sounds like a far cry from your Drawing 101 Life Study sessions, and that is intentional.

Their website's answer to the question, "What is Dr. Sketchy's?"

Dr. Sketchy's is what happens when cabaret meets art school.
Dr. Sketchy's is the little Brooklyn event that became a movement. Founded in 2005 by artist Molly Crabapple, Dr. Sketchy's asked a simple question. Why can't drawing naked people be sexy?
Here's our attempt at an answer.
We combed New York to find the most beautiful burlesque dancers, the most bizarre circus freaks, and the most rippling hunks of man. Then, every other Saturday, we let you draw them for three hours. Interspersed with posing are ridiculous drawing contests (best left handed drawing? Best incorporation of a woodland animal?) where you can win booze or prizes.
We hauled the lights, sent out thousands of listings, and wheatpasted posters during snowstorms. We also insisted on our models making the highest wages in the city.

From Dr. Sketchy's FAQ:

How is Dr. Sketchy's different from a normal life drawing class?
In normal life classes, silent students sit in a silent room and draw a bored, oft-uninteresting model. In Dr. Sketchy's we've got bodacious burlesque queens as models. We've got ridiculous art contests (best incorporation of a woodland animal? Best imagined costume?), good music and flashy prizes. We've got a selection of posh beverages- alcoholic and not- available to buy.
At Dr. Sketchy's, we don't care if you picked up a pad yesterday or 50 years ago. Come to drink or to draw. We're happy to have you.

How Awesome!

Dr. Sketchy's started in NYC, but they welcome the formation of chapters in other locales.

While it sounds like this at best relaxed, at worst boisterously decadent setting, wouldn't be conducive to creative endeavors, I must respectfully disagree. Some of the best life studies I've ever done, came from painting parties organized by artist Kevin Kresse, in Little Rock. Loosely organized parties designed to generate works for charity auctions without depriving artists of works they may have invested months of work on, these affairs were a real blast. This was particularly true later in the night, when only a few hardcore artists remained clustered around a model, passing a bottle of tequila, swaying and fencing with brushes to the blasting beats of Count Bassie.
Good times, and inspiring, too.

Also checkout Dr. Sketchy's Blog
(Warning, lots of pictures of sexy models, scantily clad in period gear, and in provocative poses. No nudity, so I suppose it's work safe, sorta... though it may be a little embarassing if your boss or grandma catches you browsing it.)


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