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Before the Starting Pistol

By 24th June 2019 Blog

It’s about two weeks or so until I’m doing the Drawing Marathon (and the blog is titled with ‘starting pistol’ – geddit?) at the Royal Drawing School. How has that come around so fast? I remember fawning over it almost a year ago and now, here I am, about to go and do it as part of my Emergence Bursary (which I received off Shape Arts, DAO and a-n last December).

I’m really excited for it. Obviously. But also a little apprehensive. The RDS appears to be quite fancy and last time I was at a prestigious art school, I felt too working class, too different, too disadvantaged, too damaged, too humble… and I felt so alone and isolated and I hated every minute that I wasn’t engrossed in making. I’m sure it won’t be like that there and I’ve grown more resilient since then anyway but that thought it still there at the back of my head.

But I’m much more excited for it than worried though. We have been emailed asking us to pick our lesson preferences for each day we’re there, 10 – 5pm. It looks intense but oh my god I cannot wait. So much drawing! There were plenty of other options (many of which I’d have like to have also done, such as Drawing Human Anatomy, Drawing in Watercolour, Drawing a story, Drawing at the V&A…) but the timetable wouldn’t allow it!

Mon 8: Life Drawing in the Studio
Tues 9: Drawing Portraits
Weds 10: Drawing with a Contortionist
Thurs 11: Printmaking
Fri 12: Life Drawing in the Studio

Mon 15: Life Drawing in the Studio
Tues 16: Drawing a Live Musician
Weds 17: Drawing at the British Museum
Thurs 18: Drawing Movement/a Dancer
Fri 19: Life Drawing in the Studio

It’s quite handy that the course seems quite life-drawing heavy (more than I thought it would, to be honest) as I’m interested in pulling the thread of the human figure. I mean, environmental philosophy (or the bits I’m interested in, at least) has quite a lot to do with OUR relationship with the world. So it feels like a natural progression to spend time on people-ing. During the two weeks I doubt I’ll have the breathing space to work that into my existing lines of thought, but you never know!

Regardless, whatever I make during that fortnight will be exhibited. It still needs planning, but that’s the intention and that’s what some of my leftover bursary money is going towards. It’s a huge challenge. Not only to make work without experiencing the pressure of ‘this is going to be exhibited’ but more of how vulnerable I’m planning on making myself. I see this as an opportunity for growth. I am can be very perfectionistic and very self-critical yet I intend on showing whatever it is I end up producing during this experience, most work of which will probably not be showing me at my best artistic self. Developmental work, crap work, half drawn work et al. I can’t obviously show everything and it will need some curation, but you get the idea. I feel like I don’t want to just do that for me though, if you know what I mean. There’s something also there about challenging the conventions of a ‘final piece’, of heavy curation, of the filter of perfection. Why do we have these perfect white cube spaces with perfect work in it? There’s something there about celebrating drawing for WHAT IT IS AND CAN BE and how it can be used, as opposed to the version of drawing that holds us prisoner. I want to make myself vulnerable (which I will most likely regret) but the act of wanting to do so feels… political? Somehow? I have not yet quite articulated this bit yet, as you can tell!

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