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Whispers and Shouts

15 Jun

It is hard to think of any other activity that forces you to merge your inward and outward vision in the way that drawing does. This is particularly true of Reportage drawing and it’s greatest conceit is that it is a record of pure observation. What it really is is a record of thought, synthesis, presumption, judgment and looking. It is an act that requires the artist to participate in a dialogue about what is worth drawing and, importantly, why should we care? This is is the job of the artist. To make us care. To draw us in to a particular vision of the world that challenges us to think about the circumstances of others. The nature of the struggle to live and keep your head above water. This granularity is so perfectly captured in the rough marks of a drawing that the whisper or shout of humanity is ever present (even in less confident drawings). Enjoy!netter.markertest.1 netter.markertest.2 netter.reportage.drunk netter.reportage.hydepark netter.reportage.hydepark.sunbathers netter.reportage.oldman netter.reportage.va

Mining the pavement

20 Mar

These drawings are from my commute, Portsmouth and London. This collection of people were spotted in ordinary locations and playing out the routine of ordinary life. What they reveal is the remarkable theatre of the everyday that sees individuals and groups engaged in small and large dramas which inevitably, when drawn, have a distilled, symbolic weight. Out on the street we are always going somewhere else. I am mining the pavement to see if those transitory moments represent a kind of destination unto themselves. Perhaps drawing of this kind is a meditation on our time alone. Our time disconnected from origins and destinations where we confront our own thoughts among others similarly caught in transitory states. Enjoy!

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Walthamstow

23 Feb

These drawings were done on a single day in Walthamstow Market in London. It is a very different place from 1997 when I lived there. The market was fairly deserted and store fronts seemed tired and dated. It was a difficult place to draw and not draw attention. I ducked into many side alleys and roads to draw on my knee on bike stands and front porches. Often when worried about being noticed I was met with total indifference and other times, when seemingly shrouded from view, I had quiet observers appear and startle me. It would seem that drawing is for some such a foreign activity that is neither suspicious or provocative. Young kids are particularly uninterested, seeing what I am doing as either archaic or incomprehensible. I do wonder how people in general are engaging with the tangible realities of a shared planet of people when their heads are stuck in a digitally mediated world. Drawing brings such an intimacy to experience that it inevitably connects one to the day to day realities of the people around us. Long may we look up and not just down at the world around us.

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More random acts of drawing

27 Jan

Here are several drawings from a variety of locations. The drawings done in the natural history museum in London were done completely from direct observation and not from memory. This was an exciting challenge around unpredictable school kids and rubber necking tourists. I was happy to see I wasn’t the only person drawing in there.  In fact, it seemed a popular activity. Not surprising considering the beauty of the building and the rich diversity of compliant subjects that don’t move! The more I consider my practice the more I realise that drawing is profoundly rewarding in so many ways. In no other act do we experience, in tangible ways, our struggle with understanding our perceptual reality and, how flexibly we can bend it to our purposes. Enjoy!netter.bathcouple netter.haunchofvenison.salisbury netter.london.birdfeeders netter.nathistory.smalldinos netter.naturalhistory.chimptalk netter.naturalhistory.darwin netter.naturalhistory.dinodolphin netter.naturalhistory.dodo netter.naturalhistory.largedino netter.portsmouth.crispeater netter.salisbury.haunchofvenison netter.salisbury.romanceisdead nettersketch.salisbury

Polska part II

3 Oct

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Image

The Sensual Act

19 Sep

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Here are some drawings done in London and St. Ives on holiday. We had some stunning weather and the beach was gorgeous. The seals were incredibly beautiful and for massive animals, moved with such grace underwater. The drawings reflect my interest in the exuberant moment. An ecstatic expression that while contained in lines and marks, extends our perception of the moment. Drawings capture moments but they also capture ideas. The drawings are prompted after all by an idea of something. Whether that is a formal interest in shape or tone or a commentary, it imprints the drawing with a purpose and a communal attachment to the circumstance of its making. What I like about drawing is that the thinking, feeling and making are unified into a singular, resonant image. It is difficult to strip out the humanity in a drawing and the echo of sensual experience in the act. We might own the drawing and control the circumstances of its making but we don’t own the experience of seeing the drawing. That is a delight all our own.

Lizard World – The Graphic Novel

8 Sep

Lizard World – The Graphic Novel.

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.

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The Temporal Passage

28 May

rcalondon-8These are some drawings done in a few hours walking around London. Starting in Paddington station, I moved towards Hyde Park and then finished at the cafe at the Royal Albert Hall. The extended moment that we are privileged to see in drawing is particularly unique in the kind of reportage that I am practicing here. While these people are surely observed and did exist (in a form prior to their reshuffling in my mind) the drawings frame that moment in a combination of marks and a construction of an implied or explicit narrative. This narrative is often only available to the artist when the drawing is done or, in those temporal moments when the action of drawing merges with unfolding thoughts and deeply felt impressions. Drawings, like thoughts, shift and change and it is this flexibility that makes creative reportage a dialogue with place. While the drawings may depart wildly from the real and observed, they could not have come to be without the feedback received by looking, thinking and making. In fact, if there is something vital to drawing itself (even work that is not anchored in observation) it is the bristling, inexorable link to a world that means something to us. This commitment happens first when the artist sees either through observation or in the minds eye, a discernible truth. Those temporal passages that speak in a variety of layered, symbolic shorthand, are a declaration of affirmed belief. We believe because the artist believes. And so the storyteller wanders on.

As always, illustration work can be seen at http://www.louisnetter.com

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The constituent parts

11 Oct

If drawing is a visual language then it is certainly distinct in form and function to other languages. Every other language is concerned with the constituent parts. The letters, the words, the structures. Drawing is largely concerned with the end result. What is represented. We derive a host of meanings from how it is made and the strategies employed in rendering the forms but, the totality of the image is paramount. And it should be. Although not as brutal as having the magicians trick revealed, the analysis of drawing can make the drawing seem too determined, too constructed. But if we call drawing a language, we can also speak of the use of language in ways that are more poetic and befitting of an art object. Like language, drawing employs devices that challenge our assumptions and through a complex arrangement of developed notations (symbolic shorthand), the artist is speaking with a singular voice; more akin to spoken language with pitch and timing laid over the intended (or unintended) meaning of the words. Languages, like the places they reflect, have cultures and that is a compelling lens with which to see an artist’s world. A culture of one perhaps. Enjoy these drawings of London. More context for these characters to come. These are just people that called out to me.

Louis Netter repotage

Louis Netter
repotage

Louis Netter Sketch

Louis Netter
Sketch

Louis Netter Reportage

Louis Netter
Reportage

Louis Netter Reportage

Louis Netter
Reportage

Louis Netter Reportage

Louis Netter
Reportage

Louis Netter Reportage

Louis Netter
Reportage

Louis Netter Reportage

Louis Netter
Reportage

Louis Netter Reportage

Louis Netter
Reportage