"Drawings are not about you, they are about themselves"
—Al De Credico, 1994
For most of my life, I made drawings on a daily basis. It was an act of observation, meditation, and journaling. But it's been years since I've been out of practice. My computer and smartphone have replaced the space of most of these activities, yet I've been wanting to returning to this practice. I woke up a few days ago with the idea to initiate drawing nights with friends. I invited photographer, Erika Dufour, over to my house for the first drawing session.
I recounted stories about formal and experimental drawing assignments from my early art school days; contour lines, drawing without looking at the paper, timed drawings, drawing without lifting the instrument, tearing up and reassembling drawings, use of unconventional materials, and so on. Many of these exercises were standard art school lessons. Some of the unusual ones -- such as deconstructing and reassembling the paper, sharing authorship of a single piece, and even drawing in the shower -- were unique and memorable assignments given by my teacher, Al De Credico, for his foundation drawing class. These were incredible mind-bending exercises that helped break down a student's ego to tap into a deeper well of creativity within the individual. I think these were monumentally valuable lessons about generative thinking, humility, and creativity that are applicable as much today as they were twenty years ago.
As we attempted our first timed drawing sessions, our brains and muscles felt pretty uncomfortable and challenged... we were literally sweating while drawing! Our first drawings helped us to look and think obliquely, to get out of our comfort zones. And like having a workout buddy, we each pushed each other to pursue drawing more actively again.
We produced a series of these drawing experiments for video. The plan: we simultaneously create drawings by following strict rules, borrowing from some of the art school lessons including short timed sessions and swapping drawings each round. Check out what resulted!