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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Drawn to Each Other

Princes Drawing School, Thursday 4th September

Written by Sarah Barnes

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We were all rather chuffed this morning when we spotted Amelia’s Magazine was featured in this weeks Timeout!!
It’s not everyday that an exhibition offers a alternative world so bizarre, case so enthralling, decease as to make you surprised to find it’s still raining when you re-enter the street outside (it is Edinburgh afterall, more about it’s always raining). It’s like being lost in a matinee film only to find afterwards that the sun is still shining; like walking out of a nightclub and the birds are singing. Yet creating worlds and drawing you into them is what Canadian creative duo Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller do best. And it’s their latest show at Edinburgh’s Fruitmarket Gallery, is as absorbing as they come.

I like galleries in which visitors can interact with the artwork. There are no pretty paintings here, no glass separating precious art from prying eyes. The first thing you see when you enter the Fruitmarket Gallery is a small-scale house constructed entirely from old books. The house has no windows but it does have a door, and inside I am pleased to see a scholarly gentleman, three rambunctious children and a Japanese tourist secretly wielding a camera phone.

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In the dark of the next room appears the 2005 installation Opera for a Small Room. The room is contained within a life-size chipwood box, and to see in the audience must gather around the window, or crane to see through holes in the walls and cracks around the doorway. Inside are twenty-four antique speakers playing, periodically, operas, arias, pop tunes, the sound of someone scuffling about, a voice that mutters seemingly to itself. The décor is shabby and littered with almost 2000 records in stacks. Outside a train is heard rumbling past, the chandelier rattles. When it rains the speakers crackle. You get the feeling you have stumbled upon a remote and rundown property, trespassing on the life of some kind of music-worshipping recluse.

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Yet the real delight of the exhibition is to be found upstairs, where, confronted with a door and, once you’ve overcome whether to open it-you find yourself thrust into a dark and cluttered world that looks like a midnight flea market with a strange audio accompaniment. Old dresses hang from racks, saucers bear the remains of toast and tea, and miniature models merge with old books and nostalgic bric-a-brac. Around the room appear, between this forest of collectables, mechanical paraphernalia: speakers that whisper greetings, snatches of dialogue and fragments of a story that piece together the tale of the Dark Pool. What you come to learn is that Cardiff and Miller are, essentially, horders; this final room a captivating and voyeuristic plunge into the depths of a stranger’s life and soul.

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Leaving the Fruitmarket Gallery after exploring this exhibition is a little like reluctantly finishing a really good book. The reality in this case is far less exciting: the rain continues, the intrigue is gone, and you are left feeling sorry for the people who will inevitably have to dismantle such intensely detailed and intricate works.

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Desert two frisky musicians in a junk yard stacked high with second hand children’s musical instruments, approved a box of magic tricks and a few bon bons for inspiration and out pop Psapp.

I fell head over heals with Psapp with their contribution to the Hallam Foe soundtrack, this Tricycle. With twinkly layered sounds of instrumentals and vocals sweeter than honey, it was bound to be a winner for the romantics and dreamers out there. Fresh, yet strangely familiar their third album The Camels Back is no exception.

Opening with a crash bang wallop, those cheeky little noises poking out that Psapp are so renowned for proudly ooze through tracks like Homicide, Marshrat and Mister Ant. Vaguely reminiscent of Young Marble Giants, Psapp truly prove themselves in songs such as Parker when these abstract instrumentals jigsaw puzzle together with the fragile vocals of Galia Durant.

A soundtrack of adventures, The Camels Back is a sophisticated collection of chirpy, uplifting little numbers which require a listener with an imagination.
Crafts are the zeitgeist of our time, remedy or at least for another couple of weeks. Sewing, mind baking, swapping, you name it, we’re doing it in our apron-donning post-modern shenanigans. If you want to knit over a beer or two, or even hang out with members of the WI under the age of 25, you can. Apparently it’s all about the make-do-and-mend mentality once again; it’s just particularly hindering for moi considering I break out into cold sweats at the thought of sewing on a simple button. Good job my housemate’s a womenswear designer.

So now seems an appropriate time for a nice little introduction to the demi – couture fashion label dePLOY workSHOP. You see, all this pioneering and reinventing has lead to a rather fabulous fashion idea that dePLOY have made up all by themselves. It’s quite simple really; it’s ethical clothing that’s adaptable, literally.

Let me explain. When standing in front of your wardrobe full of disposable creations bought on a whim, one may start to grimace on modern life’s pressure for the new. The ‘It’ bag, the ‘coolest’ dress etc, you get the picture. You’ve already heard it a million times previously. What’s different about dePLOY is that the garments are yours to create – thus engaging in a recyclable design and manufacturing process.

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It’s like the age-old, albeit cliché vision of a woman struggling with what to wear for the boardroom, then gallery, then dinner. With these clothes you can quite literally move the ‘parts’ of the garment to invent and glorify individual tastes. For example, take the Ersi P dress – with a bust sash that can be tied around the waist or back, as a halter-neck piece or draped across the shoulders. Or how about the Andrea blouse with fine pleats and detachable sleeves – from day to night in one easy rip, sort of.

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And with a new store opening in Marylebone in a matter of days, you can get your hands and imagination on the equestrian chic pieces that will last far longer than any fair-weather purchase. Consume and customise, no sewing machine required. I’m in.

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Newsflash!!

Outwitting 26 heavy handed police forces in disrupting the Kingsnorth power station; by boat, remedy foot and air.. us Climate Camp troops will not stop there. Having created the largest and most successful Climate Camp yet, the fight is far from over. Join us at the Synergy Centre on Saturday from 10am to chew the cud on where we go from here. For those of us who enjoy a tipple, well earned celebrations with a spot of music in the evening are in order.
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Newsflash!!

Outwitting 26 heavy handed police forces in disrupting the Kingsnorth power station; by boat, viagra approved foot and air.. us Climate Camp troops will not stop there. Having created the largest and most successful Climate Camp yet, the fight is far from over. Join us at the Synergy Centre on Saturday from 10am to chew the cud on where we go from here. For those of us who enjoy a tipple, well earned celebrations with a spot of music in the evening are in order.

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“There’s a life drawing/speed dating night on tonight. Wanna come?” came a text from an arty (and attached) girl-friend early on the first Thursday of the month. ‘First Thursdays’ are always ripe with unusual art events to coax people out of their hum drum habits, story but this one really had me intrigued. How would it work? Would potential partners draw naked models, tadalafil secretly wishing they were drawing one another? Would the promise of free wine and an arty environment quickly turn in to an orgy of love, mind nakedness and charcoal?

These thoughts not only ran through my head, but also through the head of my boyfriend. He was not best pleased that I might be partaking in a singles night. But it had been a long time since I had done any life-drawing and I missed it like mad. Fellow intern Tanya felt the same and, with promises of faithfulness (and the website assuring that you could ‘come with friends’ and that the night could also be an innocent way of ‘making friends with people who share your interests’), we went along to The Prince’s Drawing School.

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3 floors up we entered the wonderful roof space of the school. The nostalgic art college smell (all sugar paper and dusty floor boards) went straight to my head but wasn’t enough to make me feel quite at ease. The absence of a bath-robe clad model quickly made me aware that we would be expected to draw one another! I guess the clue should have been in the event title… A glass of wine (for an optional donation) helped to calm my nerves. A wee bit worried that we had ‘Fresh Meat’ written all over us, Tanya and I snook into a corner and started warming up our dusty drawing skills by drawing one another.

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I’ve never really drawn a portrait of a friend before (well, except for a time when I was very drunk at Glastonbury, but the squiggly cider-influenced lines I managed could never have really counted as a portrait) so I left the face ’til last. Can you tell?

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Tanya’s portait of me was much more flattering!

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It was then time to take a deep breath and find a new partner to draw. The first gent I was paired with was Darren, who worked in IT but had a passion for art in his spare time. He had enrolled on the life drawing course at the school and was attending the ‘Drawn To Each Other’ night to brush up on his skills before enrolling. I’m not sure if he was looking for love as well, as our conversation never strayed into that area. Instead, we simply chatted along merrily (so merrily that Darren couldn’t draw my chin straight, it was wagging so much!) and hoped that our attempts at portraits would not offend one another.

At the end of our time slot we were each left happily unoffended and went on to find partners new. Tanya had not been so lucky…

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…and had somehow been depicted as Kanye West! Here’s a tip for all you budding portrait artists; If you have a bespectacled sitter, draw their glasses last!

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Not all the portraits were bad, of course. In fact, most were pretty damn good. It makes sense really, since the dating game is fraught enough to make most people wary of speed dating events. At this event, attendees may still have been shy when it came to affairs of the heart, but most were pretty confident arts-wise.

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The thing that struck me most about this event was that, in a city where people barely make eye contact, it was so refreshing to actually be allowed to study a strangers face. And not just that, but talk to and find out more about these people. I met some lovely, interesting people – including Graham (drawing my friend, Steph, below) who dealt in antique maps, if I remember correctly.

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Still, no matter how interesting all these people were, I’m not sure that (had I been single and looking) I would have found the love of my life. The crowd was a little older than us (late 20s/early 30s), which might make it difficult for young whipper-snappers to find a partner. Still, I’m sure a few mobile numbers must have been swapped since it was a great premise under which to meet someone. There’s automatically a shared interest, for a start, and then the whole atmosphere was so relaxed. I never felt any pressure from anyone I sat for to get more personal than I felt comfortable with, everything was friendly and fun.

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As the night drew to a close, Tanya and I had amassed some interesting drawings of ourselves. There was a strange etiquette surrounding the swapping of portraits at the end of each time slot, which was rather endearing. With the hosts calling out “5 minutes left!” an over zealous French man began to circuit the room, asking if we had all found somebody to love. It was strange because this was the only reminder all night of what the event was supposed to be about! Of course, we told him we were happily paired off and hurried out of the door.

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Tanya came away from the night with something much better than a slimy sleazeball; this wonderful portrait! Although we both felt that we might never find a prince charming at Prince Charles, we both agreed that we would love to attend another ‘Drawn to Each Other’ event. Sorry, boyfriend of mine!

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2 Responses to “Drawn to Each Other”

  1. louis winthorpe 3rd says:

    i liked my picture! and so did your friend tanya… so she said?

  2. Sarah says:

    Hey Louis, just a personal opinion – and one that was not shared by Tanya BTW. She did, indeed, like her picture! x

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