Slow learner

10 Jul

I consider myself a slow learner when it comes to drawing. This might be because there is so much to know but it might be that its granularity, its slowness, is a large part of its pleasure. I am not referring to the act of drawing (which in my case is pretty quick) but the contemplation that exists between drawing. I spend a lot of time stalking my prey. A good drawing is only as good as the moment observed and that moment needs to be emblematic of something larger. Of course the closeness that I share with my subject, drawing and my own intentions, may not culminate in a readily understood drawing. This is why I post several drawings created within a relatively defined period. The thread between the drawings becomes clear when we see them next to each other in a dialogic exchange and as a group, speaking to the ways in which drawing communicates multiple layers of the human experience. A good drawing is infused with a kind of magic that has less to do with the accurate articulation of a specific person than it is an evocation of person, place or circumstance. I am learning now that the visual language of reportage drawing creates a kind of micro culture in these works that although wholly constructed and embellished by the artist, is deeply rooted in an intimate experience with real people and real places. The kind of truth that we readily assume is contained within a photograph is often too wrapped up in notions of objectivity. As Roland Barthes says of the photograph ‘it is a message without a code’. The ‘second meaning’ or ‘treatment’ of the image that happens in non analogous forms of art like drawing, are too often seen as a deviation from reality instead of, what I believe them to be in reportage drawing particularly, the summative expression of experience through visual language. The code is then visual language and the subjective expression of that language is an individual testament to a lived experience. Perhaps the visual truth that we should speak of is the successful articulation of that moment not in it’s believable rendering of people and places, but of our communion with the artist’s experience.

The following drawings were done in London last week as I attended New Designers in Islington.

reportagelondon.homeless.netter reportagelondon.lipstick.netter reportagelondon.invisible.netter reportagelondon.girl.netter reportagelondon.drunks.netter reportagelondon.nails.netter reportagelondon.nike.netter reportagelondon.oldhip.netter reportagelondon.oldlady.netter reportageportsmouth.husk.netter reportagelondon.walking.netter reportagelondon.smokinglady.netter reportagelondon.rubbish.netter reportagelondon.paddington.netter

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2 Responses to “Slow learner”

  1. Mike Booth July 10, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

    Is it possible, Lou? You work is getting (even) better. Congratulations. P.S. I think the juxtaposition of two and three characters is the key.

    • thecakeater July 30, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

      Thank you Mike. more soon. it has been a productive time.

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