• Drawathon

    Date posted: January 12, 2007 Author: jolanta
    The art world, like most of the world, is a very segregated and sometimes extremely lonely place. In reaction to these surroundings, I have launched the monthly Draw-A-Thon. At this alternative art event, figure drawing is re-cast by adding narrative, theatrical and musical components, creating context and energy in public spaces. I studied art from 1995 to 2003 in various New York schools and sketch classes. For the most part, figure drawing sessions are two to three hours with one model holding a traditional art school pose. This can cost 15-20 dollars for each class or 1000 dollars for a credit.  

    Come Make Art – Michael Alan

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    Drawathon.

     

        The art world, like most of the world, is a very segregated and sometimes extremely lonely place. In reaction to these surroundings, I have launched the monthly Draw-A-Thon. At this alternative art event, figure drawing is re-cast by adding narrative, theatrical and musical components, creating context and energy in public spaces.
        I studied art from 1995 to 2003 in various New York schools and sketch classes. For the most part, figure drawing sessions are two to three hours with one model holding a traditional art school pose. This can cost 15-20 dollars for each class or 1000 dollars for a credit. I was disappointed with these options but still wanted to distort the figure from life. I wanted more; more hours, more models, outrageous poses, different types of models, music, insanity, action, chaos. I attended Peter Hristoff’s class at the School of Visual Arts in 1998, and after sketching models holding dead cow parts, I left influenced. Besides Peter’s class, I found my figure drawing experiences completely uninspiring and was confused why the teachers or institutions would never push the envelope. If the focus of figure drawing is the model, then why are they usually set in silence?  Why are they encouraged to be impersonal? Why were the poses dry?
        In an attempt to deal with these issues, Michael Alan’s Draw-A-Thon was launched in October 2005. The event was not an attack on the scene, but more an attempt to offer an alternative. It took place at Fix Cafe in Brooklyn. The event lasted nine hours with over 120 artists in attendance. Some ideas behind the event were to reinterpret the role of the models, to give them a voice and to collaborate with them. My girlfriend Diana Gurfel and best buddy Matt Brennan, both artists, have helped make this fantasy a reality. Our events usually last eight to ten hours with 20-25 models. The poses are preplanned with room for improvisation. Every hour the scenarios change, music is composed and scored to line up with the action. Costumes and props are made. Environments are created. Five thousand fliers are handed out. Posters are wheat pasted. A lot of time is spent on this event; there are many little details that need to be cared for, but the positive response from the people keeps the event going.
        In aims to push the envelope further, we launched the Draw-A-Thon Play. It took place at Teatro Circulo, a new nonprofit theatre in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It was a figure drawing session/play where visual artists drew theatre. Fourteen models starred in an original "non-motion" play where a story unfolded through a series of interactions while models held various poses. The play was of "puppet boy" starring Matt Brennan as he was controlled by the overbearing, evil artists/puppeteers played by Joseph Fleming and David the Strong. The play, a coming of age story, tells of the struggles of being an evil artist’s assistant, pushed to create in the stiff academic vein. It was a fun and intense production with over a hundred artists who partook in its creation.
        The event has drawn over 1800 artists and has formed a small community of regular attendees, now friends, that gather monthly. I’m honored to be organizing these events, and wouldn’t have been able to do it with out Diana and Matt. My next project will be at Emergency Arts, a 50,000 square foot space in Chelsea. Within the course of 12 hours, artists will work on various projects. This new and exciting event is geared toward the accommodation of every type of artist who comes to create art collaboratively. See you there.

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