Dang; I can’t believe winter break is here already. Life has been so busy as of late that I’ve neglected to update the blog except for the occasional workshop reminder. There are a couple (alright, several) recent workshops to recap and post but for the time I’m going work through several of the most recent ones. Three weeks ago we were joined by Jason Rood and Dennis Nagelkirk for a session on creative drawing and it was, dare I say, EPIC.
We started off the day with a drawing exercise birthed in the previous week’s dancing workshop. Everyone in the group grabs four-ish colored pencils and two volunteers jump in the center to model. One model comes up with a pose (arms flailing / leg lifted / whatevah) and the second model examines the shape then fills the negative space with a complimentary pose. Observers get one minute to draw each pose with whatever color they choose. After a minute the models refresh and the observers grab a new colored pencil and use the same sheet of paper to draw the new poses. The results are always super interesting and it gives people a chance to 1) play with color and 2) work on foreshortening.
Afterwards Jason and Dennis took us on a portfolio tour and process overview. Jason is a recent graduate from GVSU. His work (a hearty mix of precise mark-making and whimsy) has been featured on BOOOOOOOM and he’s recently finished some illustrations for Josh Shipp’s new book.
Dennis has been a friend of Ambrose since it’s mental conception back in 2005. We used to live together and would spend countless hours drawing and plotting how to carve out lives we could be proud of. Over the last several years Dennis has taken his painting to a whole new level. Stunning. No other words for them really. The pictures below don’t do them justice; you’ve really gotta see them in person to understand the detail.
The meat of the workshop was lead by Dennis and Jason and focused on coming to grips with (and having fun with) our unique thought processes. Sometimes we tend to shy away from the darker corners of our minds in an attempt to be “normal,” which is a total farce. After five minutes of writing down an unedited stream of everything that crosses your mind a few brave souls shared their lists. We discussed observation and the everyday; then proceeded to pool some of the nouns into a bucket.
After selecting two nouns from the stack students were tasked with combining them in such a way that told an interesting story. And the drawings? Totally ridiculous! Many of which are too awesome for the internet…which is why we’re going to keep them safe until the appropriate time.
So, why does this matter? And why should you care? Well, I’m guessing if you’ve read this far then I’m preaching to the choir and you’ve already got a slew of answers to the questions. For me, I remain convinced that the sum total of life is constant creativity; the remaking and repurposing of one material to meet the needs of another. The more practice we have in making connections and telling stories with the materials in our midst (whether theoretical or concrete), the better we’ll be able to use that same skill set to solve larger problems, whether they be social, fiscal, spiritual or whatever-al.
Many thanks to Jason, Dennis, and all of the leaders that work hard to make these things happen. You are beautiful.