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Workers’ playtime, London, 8 April 2014

13 Apr 2014

So, you and your colleagues have put in a full shift at the office, the clock ticks round to 6pm, the working day is done… what do you do? Dissolve into the heave and swell of rush hour? Join the slow and stressful scattering to dispersed domesticity?

Or, do you simply fetch down a few easels from the top of a filing cabinet and enjoy a relaxing hour of extra-curricular creativity at your workplace?

At five forty-five last Tuesday, I ascended the stairs to the first-floor offices of a London design company, where I would be life modelling for that relaxing hour. Half a dozen of the team had stayed behind for a spot of informal art.

A chap on a ladder was handing down easels from a tall cabinet to a colleague by the entrance when I arrived. After friendly introductions all round, I took myself to a corner out the way and discreetly changed into my lightweight dressing gown. Meanwhile the easels were arranged in an arc around two yoga mats. At the appointed time I spread
my own white sheet over the mats and we were ready.

Well, almost. It’s the nature of easels that one in every batch will refuse stubbornly to hold its position.

All set? OK, let’s go. I slipped off my gown and settled into the first of five one-minute poses. I do like a one-minute pose: there’s no limit to the dynamism possible. These were followed by a further three one-minute poses, which the artists tackled with their weaker hands amid much chortling and banter throughout.

Next came a 10-minute pose. The drawing of lines – and nothing but lines – was to occupy the first five minutes; the last five minutes were for the addition of tone.

And then a real novelty.

A six minute pose. After each minute the artists moved around one place clockwise, leaving behind their previous drawing and resuming on a different easel. At the end of the exercise there were six works each contributed to by all six artists. I managed to see only one of these works and thought it looked surprisingly coherent.

A fascinating little exercise. I did offer to move one place clockwise each time myself, but for some reason the suggestion was laughed off…

We closed with two traditional 10-minute poses: one with me seated on the floor, the other standing with one arm out-stretched.


This was a laid-back, enjoyable booking. A refreshing dynamic with new challenges in a different kind of setting. Only an hour, but one I would happily repeat any time.

From → Art

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