Anti-Art School’s out for summer: meet Dr Sketchy’s

Posted: April 11, 2012 in Irish Art News, Radio blog
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Roxy Rhinestone as a naughty Snow White at the Dublin session of Dr Sketchy's, March 31st 2012

Roxy Rhinestone as a naughty Snow White at the Dublin session of Dr Sketchy’s, March 31st 2012

If you’ve always wanted to try drawing and sketching but are put off by the dreaded “art”word and its expectations, why not try “anti-art”?

Dr Sketchy’s Anti-Art School was set-up in a dive bar in Brooklyn in 2005 by New York girl Molly Crabapple, a self-proclaimed “22 year old art school dropout” who had also worked as an art model herself.

“She was tired of the sterile classrooms and quiet settings, where the artists drawing had almost no interaction with the models and models were expected to be devoid of personality,” says Melissa Dowell who coordinates the New York branch.

Melissa explains that the ethos of the group is to hire as many alternative performers as possible; burlesque performers, fetish models, drag queens/kings, sideshow performers, contortionists, derby girls and more. Participants are a diverse bunch, men and women, seasoned artists and first-time drawers.

“Artists love it as an addition to their usual studies, where they can let their hair down and relax when drawing,” says Melissa. “We like to promote ourselves as an alternative, not a replacement, to traditional life drawing and we’ve found the community to be incredibly inclusive of our work.”

With nearly 140 branches on the five continents, Dr Sketchy’s can be found in 25 countries, including Ireland. In Dublin, the group last met on the top floor of 4 Dame Lane a couple of weeks ago. Running on a Saturday once a month from 3pm to 6pm, the sessions involve a number of different poses by models including 1 minute, 5 minute, 10 minute and 20 minute poses. During breaks, performers put on shows. It costs between 10 and 15 euro to join a session.

Randal Jones performs at Dr Sketchy's in Dublin

Randal Jones performs at Dr Sketchy’s in Dublin

Each meeting has a theme: Star Wars, Tank Girl and the Wizard of Oz are some of the many past topics. Poses by underground performers are daring, cute and kitch, nipple tassels are frequent and resplendent. It’s energetic, bold, cheeky and never crude. All set to a a confident blend of strong female voices such as Beth Ditto and smooth electro by the likes of The Knife.

At the end of each series of poses, the performer chooses their favourite drawing and the winner gets a prize, often a choice between the vices of Tequila or fancy cupcakes.

In this interview I chat to DJ, performer, producer, founding member of Sedition Industries and “head mistress” of the Dublin Dr Sketchy’s group, Scarlett Nymph, about Dr Sketchy’s in Ireland.

At the last session on March 31st, the models were Randal Jones and Foxy Pony, cupcakes were provided by Tart Attack and prizes by Baby Tattoo Books and What Katie Did.

Dive into Disco Inferno at the next session of Dr Sketchy’s Anti-Art School in Dublin on April 28th.

(photos courtesy of Dr Sketchy’s Anti-Art School Dublin)

Participants at the Dublin Dr Sketchy's on March 31st 2012

Participants at the Dublin Dr Sketchy’s on March 31st 2012

More participants at the recent Dr Sketchy's in Dublin

More participants at the recent Dr Sketchy’s in Dublin

  1. […] I speak to Scarlett Nymph, headmistress of Dr Sketchy’s Anti-Art School in Dublin, about life … […]

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