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Workers’ playtime, London, 28 March 2019

28 Apr 2019

This corporate event, managed by Figuration, was for a company of architects based in Bermondsey. As a double blessing, it came with the prospect of working once more with Edward Wills: the charismatic group facilitator, raconteur, masterful artist and all round superb human being I’d encountered previously whilst modelling for Tottenham Art Classes. I hadn’t seen Ed in four years but found he hadn’t changed a bit.

The area assigned for life drawing within the architects’ cavernous headquarters was impressive: fully partitioned by heavy railed curtains, a raised central platform, easels for everyone, moody lighting, sound system, various art materials, and a trolley laden with beers, wine and crisps. All we lacked was artists, but I was happy to banter with Ed while we waited for the workers to extricate themselves from daytime toiling.

As an antidote to starting late, Ed got the group warmed-up with a series of quick-fire poses: 3-minutes, 2-minutes, 1-minute, 30-seconds. Next came four 5-minute poses, for which he asked me to put together a motion sequence starting from a position flat on my back then progressively rising into an upright forward-pacing stance. Drawings would create an animation effect when placed side-by-side or overlaying one another.

Another novel exercise followed. Ed invited each artist to select cards from which he’d cut geometric shapes: a circle, an oval, a square, an equilateral triangle. They were to hold these at arm’s length and sketch part of me viewed through this aperture – it was ‘through the keyhole’ art. Despite there being just a small card between me and those doing the drawing, it felt curiously like being observed by a dozen Peeping Toms.

After standing twice for 8-minutes in front of outstretched view-finders, there was time for a final pose of 13-minutes. I part-kneeled, part-perched on a low stool, twisting my torso and angling every limb. Ed continued to guide and entertain by equal measures, whilst the artists savoured this indulgence to draw with full freedom of self-expression. Spirits were high all round. It was a bright end to a highly enjoyable evening.

Postscript – fabulous drawings of my poses, below, made by Ed after the session:

From → Art

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