Monday, March 3, 2014

I attend "DRAW 2014" Symposium at Carnegie Mellon University

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 installation detail: photo from CMA's website
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.
Same Art Department hallway with food scavenging artists
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 
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. 
James Paterson explains how he arrives at developing weird characters
After the feasting, we had an incredible lecture on 
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.  
I was thinking that wearing a yellow sweater was a good thing
Video clip YOUTUBE link- I suck, but it shows her process:
 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
 commenting" creatures.
Jim Holyoak on floor
More main floor
upper gallery area
One of my pesky creatures has penis envy
The mid-day lecture was by one of my favorite 
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.
what the panorama looked like
YOUTUBE link that shows how the figure feed gets there. 
(she said I was awesome) 
Filming for character insertions  

Finished results. They draw me a belt.
Animation team at work
 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".

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