In 2006 I met and wrote about The Drawing Party, which up until a few of its members moved away, consisted of Jennifer Crighton, Jenine Marsh, Thea Yabut, and Laura Leif. I met the group at Thea's apartment and ended up discovering that when something makes me laugh for real and for true, embarassingly I'm full of tears and snot and am in terrible trouble without wads of tissue. This means that I discovered something outside of studio work that I loved in that way that strangely appealing and disturbing art/music/films pulls up painful tinges of hilarity, embarrassment, teary romantic swooning, and volcanic reserves of energy and impromptu hidden skills. Around the Spring of 2009 I co-arranged a version of The Drawing Party (called The Drawing Groupies, and co-hosted with Jenine Marsh, Jennifer Crighton, and Shyra DeSouza), a group which started to meet every other week on Wednesdays at a nearby pub.
What I wrote previously about The Drawing Party has also been true of the Groupies:
"Artist Daniel Barrow describes some of the many roles of collaborative drawing in a curator’s statement from terminus1525.ca’s online exhibition The Game Show: “detritus…indecipherable scribbles…drawing games and games of confession.” Following a set of game rules, The Game Show allowed various artists to participate and post part of their drawing process through e-mail...“many of the drawings were designed specifically to make friends laugh…the artists of The Game Show reveal what Surrealist Nicolas Calas characterized as ‘unconscious realities in the personality of the group’.”...the generative input of the participants involved both conditions and opens up a lexicon of drawing."
The simplest and most surprising cathartic-hilarious and inclusive drawing game continues to be a one I discovered at The Drawing Party:
"A game based on Telephone combines both drawing and writing as each player draws or describes the drawing which is passed around during the game. The history of each collective drawing is hidden to subsequent players, leaving them to translate only the last part of the message or drawing, creating a continuous mutation of the original player’s composition. This creates an immediate and endless space for the often hilarious results of miscommunication and subjectivity"
(see more images here)
Outside of the studio, these "community-based drawing games that are open to forming new relationships and which can be held outside of individual practices" have been incredibly important to me in the past year and a half, rebuilding, reforming, strengthening, and re-revealing fascinations, inventiveness, and friendships I haven't experienced since graduating from art school in 2005.
Also last Spring I discovered Lynda Barry through a podcast and her book 'What It Is', and subsequently found my own way back into drawing, writing:
"drawing has a purpose (usually) designed for the solitary, and is exactly the kind of action that exists in between studio-validated and socially-validated work, and gives space and life to all those compressed, underused, unacknowledged images and thoughts that become physically backlogged daily".