DRAW 2014: Carnegie Mellon University (please excuse lousy text design- It's a copy/paste from IPad notes)
Draw 2014 was an event three years in the making by the art department at
Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. It was a 3 day
symposium consisting of interactive projects with invited artists, lectures pertinent to both the history of
drawing and it's current conversation in the art world, and workshops.
There was also involvement with the Carnegie Museum of Art-specifically in
correlation to the 2013
Carnegie International, which was in its last few weeks on exhibit. Containing everything from a host of sculpture by Sarah Lucas
utilizing pantyhose and stuffing, to an engrossing photography documentation by
Taryn Simon of the history
of the femme fatales, and the objects of killing, from the James Bond
Nicole Eisenman had won the International Award this year, and
with the University committee to set up an event called "Drawing with Nicole Eisenman".
|We got official pencils!|
The drawing event followed a keynote address by Amy Sillman that took a broad look at every possible vocabulary word that could connect a human impulse to the activity of drawing.
We next headed for the requisite museum
tiny snacks on tiny plates. For the Eisenman event, we headed off
into the now closed-to-the-public museum in search of models. They were stationed throughout the galleries in locations
indicated on a map we were given. At the appointed time,
they stripped and we drew in 2, 5, and 10 minute increments. Nicole was attending with both her mother
( who had been bragging on her to me earlier in the day),
and her small daughter, who was having a great time running about and checking on progress.
|Eisenman and daughter (right) watch as we get ready for the model|
I managed to hit 3 separate modeling stations for at least 3 drawings at each one.
I particularly like this one drawing I did below, as the model was seated in the midst
of this grouping of Lucas's lower body pantyhose sculpture. (Henry Taylor paintings on the walls)
|Where this model was stationed amongst Sarah Lucas's installation (gallery image from CMA website)|
|How the model was posing- I think I got the last 6 minutes of a 10 minute on this one|
I believe the location of each modeling station was strategically contributed by Eisenman. Her own installation of both her paintings and figurative sculpture was in a courtyard gallery, utilizing the walls and spaces between classical marble sculpture.
Her own 3D work, cartoonish and rendered in plaster white, created an effective level of absurdity that conversed
well with the often ironic wit contained in her paintings.
This life drawing event ended, of course, with more food and drink in the lobby. Friday started out with lectures and panel discussions by notable artists, curators and educators including Yashua Klos ( who was exhibiting in a gallery in the fine arts building), Helen Molesworth, Stephen Farthing, and CMU student John Pena who does hilarious auto biographical daily comics. ( I bought one of his zine- esque books later!)
|detail of a Yashua Klos in the gallery in Fine Arts|
The lecture by Helen Molesworth, chief curator with ICA Boston was excellent
Work by past and present CMU art professors are all over campus- this is a Herbert Olds
There were a ton of workshops to attend later, both long and short. I chose Erotic Concentration/Ecstatic Communications with with Florida artist
Carol Prusa, whose work I'm fascinated with.
|Prusa at top responding to a question.|
We made textured gesso grounds and rubbed with them with metal and then used hand made
graphite washes forsurface overlays. I'm going to use all of these media techniques
in some upcoming work.
|My workshop piece- inspired by the seaweed salad I had just seen another artist eating|
|main hall of the Fine Arts Building|
Afterwards, there was a terrific catered buffet dinner
in the fine arts building main hall, which is fancy. The entire building is a "holy shit is this for real " experience.
Did I mention meeting people? Yes! I met so many great people, both artists who were alumnus of the college, artist/educators from colleges from Northern
Same Art Department hallway with food scavenging artists
Illinois to Valdosta State in GA, and people I knew or had run into due to
regional events in both TN and NC. Professor Joshua Bienko from UTK
was there, Jessica Wohl from University of the South in Suwannee,
and Tammi Beldue of UNC/Asheville.
After the feasting, we had an incredible lecture on
. James Paterson explains how he arrives at developing weird characters
animation and computer code projects by Canadian James Paterson,
and an interactive club style video projection live drawing and performing event by
British artist now working in NY, Shantell Martin
|The ceiling in the room they used looked like this|
I had to participate in everything. Why else would I be there?
I was passable, having ignored the open bar, as always, though
my performance was dorky and slightly confused.
Video clip YOUTUBE link- I suck, but it shows her process:
I was thinking that wearing a yellow sweater was a good thing
woman with yellow sweater kind of moves
These guys went pure "Dude"
|This guy did a planking thing (you can see Shantell working in the foreground)|
Saturday started off with 2 parallel events: Drawing Arcade, which combined venders as disparate as of Manifest Gallery Cincinnati, who brought a large selection of their contemporary survey books,
( several of us who are in these books
were wandering around in there, which was cool!)
student artist John Pena again with his comic books, and various print makers and sellers of cool art stuff.
|Venders John Pena, (L) Manifest Gallery Publications, (C)|
There was also a large video screen with a slide show of work that any
attendee who wanted had previously uploaded. It was totally democratic, in that attendees,
presenters and workshop leaders were all randomly mixed.
Down the street in student-run gallery The Frame,
a massive collaborative drawing project led by
Canadian artist Jim Holyoake was continuing to the finish line. I found the work so realized by the time
I got there that all I wanted to add was some little classic Mad Magazine-esque pesky "observing and
|Jim Holyoak on floor|
|More main floor|
|upper gallery area|
|One of my pesky creatures has penis envy|
contemporary artists, Shahzia Sikander, and
proved personally the most inspiring lecture of the
event. I love her use of media and her installation methods.
My second long workshop was with internationally
renouned silverpoint artist Susan Schwalb . Carol Prusa,
her good friend and fellow heavy metal media user also attended,
along with Shantell Martin. I found out later that I
was glad I registered for both my workshops early.
They were the first to fill up.
This entire event had a set amount of tickets available.
|subbing the paper with gesso|
|Martin and Schwalb discuss. The lady in the middle is unaware she is wearing UT orange|
I had not done silverpoint since college,
and learned more in a couple hours with
Schwalb than I had then. I left with a skill set,
knowledge wealth, and some cool scrap prepared papers. ~ After hunting down coffee, I ran back into
ne of the alumnus artists (from Ohio)
I had been hanging out with and a local educator who knew just the right place
to eat off campus. After, the Ohio artist headed back to Ohio hoping to beat the
latest snow storm sweeping across the Midwest, and I caught a ride down to an
industrial district with the local educator to the evening party event at Artist Image Resource Gallery,
which is both a gallery space and a 3 story printmaking
non-profit. There was an awesome drawing exhibit of work from from the CMU staff and
University of Arts London profssors. Here is some stuff I liked-
no credits, though. It was numbered with a sheet,
and numbers were missing, so...:oh well
|the venue's framing area|
There was also the coolest interactive "Live Drawing/Audio/Video Performace by Ali Momeni and Jenny Schmid.
You take off your shoes, and select a mask and draw a paper that tells "who" you are.
I got "Worthless Billionaire". I had chosen a guy's mask- mainly because I thought
it would be cool to have a beard- so I also decided I wanted a boner (If you're
going to be a dude anyway, why not),
so I stuffed my favorite large, hinged pencil sharpener down my pants, and grabbed a
wine glass. It all made sense, and they had fun messing with it. The character image is brought
from the filming area to the digital processing computer. He positions
the figures to project in the right spots on the wall. Then 3 assistants,
guided by beer and sharpies, draw stuff around you that seems to make sense.
I got a belt at one point, then they kind of gave be a blast. I came back,
my molecules intact. The overhead projectors they use invert, so the paper
vanishes and the marker appears white.
YOUTUBE link that shows how the figure feed gets there.
what the panorama looked like
(she said I was awesome)
|Finished results. They draw me a belt.|
One of the coolest things someone told me during the symposium:
A few years ago, Carnegie Mellon sold some very old,
damaged printing presses from their art department. Early 20th century. Do you get what this means?
They had been heavily in service in the department in the larger
part of the 20 th century. Well, it's hers now, and completely repaired.
How many big presses does an art department have any way? She thinks the chance is very
good that the schools most famous student probably
did use the machine that is now her personal printing press. Hers now, used by Andy Warhol
not so terribly long ago? The chance is very high.
One of my favorite things said during the symposium:
In one of thepanel discussions, Jason Franz of Manifest Gallery
and Drawing Center in Cincinnati was discussing observational
drawing vs unskilled imaginative drawing.
He showed skull drawings from 3 students-one without a skull from
reference, the later one AFTER some drawing lessons WITH
the skull in front of them. The results were impressive.
There was a member, apparently, of the "Anti-skill"
movement in the audience who found skill offensive,
and asked Franz "Didn't he think the 1st "naive"
drawings were superior because they had
some kind of power or presence or individuality
the skilled "Observational" ones didn't?"
Franz gave him a one word answer. "No".
I'd have just quoted Robert Crumb: "Learn to draw".