What do, Joan of Arc, Wes Anderson, Clowns and Lepidoptery (the study of moths) have in common? The answer is they have all been themes of The Drawing Circus life drawing events.
The Drawing Circus is a troupe of Brighton-based artists, models, art tutors, musicians and performers who seek to promote a sense of wonder at the visual world through innovative drawing events
Drawing Circus events aren’t your average structured life drawing classes. Far from it. These events, which are rarely tutored, straddle the boundary between workshop and performance and aim to leave all participants feeling inspired and informed. Most events are held in collaboration with innovative Brighton venues such as the Old Market and The Spiegeltent, with each event based around a different theme. Members of the collective make the costumes for the models to pose in and musical entertainment is provided by the Drawchestra, a collective of musically inclined life models who perform at Drawing Circus events. Drawchestra members add musical flourishes to poses and guest musicians are often invited to play alongside them.
Evolution’s Carole Gledhill has first hand experience of The Drawing Circus, both as model and artist. A former art student, Carole got into the Brighton life drawing scene four years ago when she started tutoring for a company that run life drawing hen parties. Carole says:
“I love life drawing, it’s like meditating, you have to be so focused and you leave feeling relaxed and challenged.”
Carole last modeled at a special Drawing Circus event at the Booth Museum in November last year, dressed as a lion (see drawing below by Geo Parkin, with other model Naomi Wood). Here, she posed alongside several other costumed models including a monkey-mermaid and a bat .
“The loveliest thing about the themed events is the amazing costumes you get to wear and the social aspect. Also, it’s a novelty to pose alongside other models. As an artist I enjoy going to events at the Old Market as they’re the only times I get to have a G&T whilst I draw – I think it actually helps my drawing!”
The Drawing Circus is the brainchild of Jake Spicer. Jake is head tutor of Draw who run drawing events all over the South East. In 2009 Jake started a tiny, 6 person life drawing class in the corner of his studio hoping to meet other people in Brighton who were keen on drawing. Both models and sketchers in the class had all of these wonderful ideas for unusual life draiwng sessions, so when he was asked to put on themed event for White Night 2009 he gathered a crew around and put on an amazing tarot themed life draiwng all-nighter which attracted 750 people who turned up to draw. Jake says:
“The classes expanded and we ran more and more events and eventually we split The Brighton Life Drawing Sessions into Draw and The Drawing Circus, with the Drawing Circus run more democratically by Emma, Francesca and myself with ideas for all our sessions coming from members of the troupe. It is a privilege to be working alongside such a passionate and creative crew of artists, models and musicians.”
Brighton Life Drawing Sessions form the core of Draw’s adult education program. Most sessions take place at New England House and include Mixed Pose, Short Poses Long Pose and Themed Pose sessions. The latest themed pose was David Bowie.
The Draiwng Circus is a non-profit making organisation. The sessions are open to all abilities and they especially encourage complete begginers to come give life drawing a go. The next Drawing Circus will be held at the Old Market Bar on 16 February and will be on the theme of Star Wars. All jedi, droids, ewoks, Tusken raiders, wookiees welcome.
If you are interested in other drawing practices, Evolution Arts run a range of art courses and workshops for all levels.
May the drawing force be with you!