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The Star by Hackney Downs, 25 September 2018

29 Sep 2018

I arrived quarter of an hour early at The Star by Hackney Downs and glanced around for Drawing the Star organiser Catherine Hall. Failing to find her in the bar or at the seats outside, I went up to the first floor. No joy there either but the function room was immaculately prepared for life drawing, and the evening’s soundtrack already playing. I decided it was best to stay put and get changed into my dressing gown.

Meanwhile, somewhere downstairs, Catherine was waiting for me to arrive. No alarms however, just ships in the night. Come our 7:30pm start time she sailed into the room surrounded by an ocean of artists. Everybody grabbed art materials and chose a seat. Some had been here earlier, using boards and paper to reserve their favourite vantage point – the art equivalent of beach towels on hotel sunbeds. We started at once.

5-minutes, 4, 3, 2, three of 1-minute, three of 30-seconds, then 10-minutes and lastly 8-minutes rounded off a first half of quick-fire poses. When the artists returned from a drinks break, they voted on their pose-time preference for our final half-hour: 10-10-10, 15-15, 10-20, or a single 30-minute pose. Unexpectedly they opted for one long pose. Possibly unprecedented! So I sat on a stool and rewarded them with lots of angles.

I felt confident the resulting artworks would justify a few extra aches and pains. This is still a great venue. I’d last posed here in July, but my most recent visit was a fortnight ago when Sky News came to film superb model Leonora ‘JiggleChick’ at work, and interview Esther about her Spirited Bodies campaign promoting life drawing to young people as a way of developing body positivity in the social media age. Here’s the clip:


With thanks to Sky for supporting #ScrollFreeSeptember, an initiative by the Royal Society for Public Health to encourage healthier relationships with social media.


From → Art

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