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83a Geffrye Street, London, 23 July 2018

30 Jul 2018

I have always liked life modelling upstairs at The Workshop in Geffrye Street, Hoxton but the circumstances of this evening were rather sad. Originally I had been booked to pose at Eastbourne House in Bethnal Green – the flagship venue for Adrian Dutton’s London Life Drawing – yet by the end of June an announcement came that its days were numbered. Developers would be making this grand old building the next casualty in an on-going war against character and community across the city.

So whilst a new permanent home was being sought for their Monday evening meet-up, the group had temporarily relocated to 83a Geffrye Street – home to Adrian’s Tuesday evening life drawing since 2016. After the legendary Eastbourne House, this had been my second favourite of the six venues in which I’d modelled for Adrian, so I regarded it as a positive consolation. It’s a very good space for creating art but could never match the grand arena-like quality of its predecessor. Few places would.

In a month of exceptionally warm humid days, this week was set to hit new heights of muggy airless discomfort. Temperatures were still easily above 30°C when we opened the session at 7pm. The first half would be dominated by short poses – 10-minutes, 2, 2, 2, 5, 5, 15 and 15-minutes – which amounted to an hour-long workout. Even naked, the sweat was running across me and breaths of cool air were impossible to come by. When liberated from duty, I poured myself a mug of water and slumped into a corner.

During the interval, windows were flung wide open and two powerful fans were brought out for use in the second half. I was dubious as to whether this air conditioning would achieve anything other than blow the hot air around like a sirocco wind, but I’m happy to report I was wrong. Enough of a difference was made that I was able to get through the last two 30-minute poses without further melting. The artists, too, kept sufficiently cool for the production of some excellent work.

So farewell then, Eastbourne House… you were a very happy home for life drawing in the time I knew you – from 1 July 2013 to 17 December 2017 – and for many years before, I’ve no doubt. You will be remembered fondly for the sense of theatre conjured by your cavernous space; every seat taken on all sides by scores of artists, while out in the kitchen and foyer, a table laden with nutritious fare would be prepared for social feasting at half-time. Such wonderful art was created within your walls! Thank you. x

From → Art

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