Tuesday, October 6, 2009

9999999999 luftballons

It must have happened in Primary 1. We learnt to write from a book suspiciously titled 'First clear, then fast'. For each of the letters of the alphabet and each digit, we were first to trace them, then we had to complete a dashed version and, finally, we had to write them completely, neatly between four lines in our notebook, following the correct order of lines the mistress had shown us. I hated it.

I will never forget the day we learned to write the digit '9' and the mistress demonstrated a series of '9's, each starting inside the top curl, ending at the tail. In a flash of genius, I spotted the flaw in her performance, and immediately devised an optimization: I jotted down a fast series of curls, adding the tails in a second sweep. Needless to say, I was done before my classmates had even started, and I spent the rest of the class beaming with pride.

It did not take too long for the mistress to notice my exceptional skills, and she told me to come and stand in front of the classroom, as an example: "Look everybody at what Izak has done! He did not write 9's as everybody else, no, he has been drawing balloons!" And I promised myself to never ever develop a clear handwriting. Fifteen years later I went to University to study Computer Science.

And now I am a Second Year Art Student. Whereas the First Year at Max the Mutt is very much process oriented, teaching the tools of the trade, the Second Year is more and more product oriented, producing decent stuff. One of the things that will one day make me break my own fingers in agony, is a phenomenon called 'line quality': clean and smooth lines, that express the nature of whatever they represent. It is very much tied to motor skills, which is one of the things that develops only slowly once you have reached my age. This is not going to be an easy year.

On the other hand, I feel that my teachers will make me push harder, lifting my art to new levels, chasing me out of my comfort zone (that's where the pillows are). My Life Drawing teacher has more or less forbidden me to use the hatching style I came to admire, forcing me back to basics. And I am doing as I am told, curious as I am where this will lead me.

As a 'Farewell to Hatching' I visited The Keyhole Sessions Girls.Grease.Rope event during Toronto's Nuit Blanche. Two chicks on a motor cycle lured the crowds that came in to watch and draw six adorable models posing in a girl's Fight Club scene. I joined from 22:00 till 0:30 to jot down some quick group poses.

On top of this, I paid a visit to Dr. Sketchy's for a night of burlesque life drawing.

And for now, back to work!