Category: Uncategorized

Draw on me (showcasing and installation)

It is not very often that I create art, and when I do, I am not the type of person who would show it off.

In this case, however, I wanted people to see the artwork that had been created as a result of my doing.

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I think the main reason I felt so comfortable about showing the three canvasses was because I didn’t consider myself as the artist. I know that Daniel and I were the reason the artwork was made, but we didn’t draw or paint anything.

In this case, the role of the artist is to facilitate. We provided people with the opportunity to draw on a canvas, without us there is no canvas and without a canvas, there is no artwork.

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I understand that this concept of the facilitator means that I am still the artist, but I still feel as though that I am stealing the artistic skills and properties of other people.

My experience in this project as being a facilitator has been quite an enjoyable one, ideas and concepts such as this interest me quite a lot. I am very happy to say that I was a part of it and have be able to witness the artwork of many others.

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Draw on me reflection/analysis

Throughout this project, I have learnt a lot about the willingness that people have to engage in activities. I always thought that in order to engage any number of people, a rewards system must be put in place. Never in my life have I seen people do things for free and it is not very frequent that people do things out of the kindness of their heart.

The concept of doing something for free in this day and age seems impossible, people always want something. Even in this project I want people to draw on a canvas for the sake of helping me do an assessment, there is no real reward for doing it; yes they may get to have 20 seconds of fun, but is that the reward that has enticed so many people to participate?

Although I am not surprised that so many people were willing to draw on the canvases, I am surprised how much the physical environment dictated their creativity.

Draw on me #1 (At North Wollongong beach)

In the case of the canvas at the beach, it seemed that people were very fixated on representing what they saw. It seemed like they wanted to capture the moment in which they were living. There were pictures of waves, surfers, flowers, fish, whales, grass, boats and dogs, all these items could be seen if you were standing at the canvas.

The beach canvas, in this case, has been able to create a visual representation of what is on the mind of people at this particular place at this particular time. I know that not all elements of the canvas are related to the beach directly, but each item in this piece works together to represent a beach.

Even when I went home to dry the canvas, two of my housemates asked, “Did you put that down at the beach?”  It is clear that even for people who have no idea where or why it was created, they can accurately guess that it is a representation of a beach.

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Draw on me #2 (At Crown St Mall)

Although this particular canvas went through an unimaginable transformation, I believe that it was able to create a raw representation of a person’s mind.

It is not clear what the canvas means or represents, it is very abstract and it can almost depict whatever you want it to.

Once again, I believe that the physical environment in which the lady was in when she painted the canvas has been represented.

On a cold Thursday morning where rain is causing social angst and unhappiness, this lady has used a number of dark colours to engulf and overpower any remains of what was previously there.

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I feel as though this overpowering and smothering nature is a metaphor for the society in which we live and the environment she is in.

This concept over overpowering is also evident by looking at the edges of the canvas; this lady has gone out of her way to paint on all the sides as well the front. By once again referring to the metaphor, if you look at the front of the canvas and society everything seems quite normal. But with the canvas being painted on the side it seems there is no escape and no room for colour or change, it is like we are trapped with no way out.

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Draw on me #3 (At Wollongong University)

A university is a place for people to come follow their dream, everyone is in an upbeat mood because they are able to express themselves and follow a path of their choice.

In this canvas you can see deeper concepts, people have not only thought about drawing something, they have analysed why and how. It almost seems like they have approached it the same way they would approach an essay.

I am not saying that all the pictures on the canvas have done this, but I feel as though a lot have.

Once again, it is evident that the area in which the canvas was placed has determined what got drawn or written.

People have taken their time in an intellectual way to think about what they are going to add.

University life has also been put all over the canvas too; the use of hashtags clearly helps to represent the demographic of the artists participating.

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Draw on me #3 (At Wollongong University)

With the location of our third and final iteration being the University, Daniel said he would meet me there. Once we had met up, we then walked to my place which is located right next to the University. Although we could have carried our supplies to the location we were going to set up, the equipment was already in the car. So just like yesterday, I dropped Dan off at the Uni with the supplies and proceeded to find a park.

Now that we were ready to go, we started to look around the library for a nice spot to set up. With the library being close to the bus stop we thought it would be a great location to get people’s attention. The spot that we chose was perfect; it was a high traffic area that had more than enough room to set up a table and easel without getting in the way of anyone.

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Once we had set everything up it was 10:20am. The weather today was much the same as the weather we had at the beach, sunny with a little bit of wind. With it being Friday we thought that there would be many people willing to add to the canvas. Within the first minute of us sitting down, someone had already started the chain, and as you can see from the table below it never really stopped.

Drawer Time
Start: 10:20am Friday 27th May 2016, University of Wollongong
#1 10:21
#2 10:22
#3 10:28
#4 10:32
#5 10:35
#6 10:38
#7 10:41
Took photo of canvas 10:50
#8 10:57
#9 11:04
#10 11:10
#11 11:16
Took photo of canvas 11:20
#12 11:22
#13 11:29
#14 11:30
#15 11:33
#16 11:38
#17 1139
#18 11:39
#19 11:42
#20 11:43
#21 11:45
Took photo of canvas 11:50
#22 11:52
#23 11:54
#24 11:56
#25 11:57
#26 12:05
#27 12:10
#28 12:11
#29 12:12
#30 12:15
#31 12:16
#32 12:16
#33 12:17
Took photo of canvas and packed up project 12:20

 

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Just like the previous two times we set up this project, we took pictures every half an hour. Right from the first picture we took, there seemed to be a theme in the artworks that people were drawing. Whether people were being impacted by what was already there or not, throughout this two-hour block a lot of cartoon characters and quotes were drawn.

Although there were a few large drawings, the artwork seemed to be a collaborative piece where all the items worked together. This is quite a contrast to yesterday’s canvas hijacking.

With our focus in all three of the canvases being to capture the thoughts and expressions of people in a particular place, I believe that for the third time we have been able to achieve this goal.

Draw on me #2 (At Crown St Mall)

With all of our equipment still in my car from the last time we set up our project, the morning was a lot more relaxed and settled. Once again I headed over to Campus East to pick Daniel up and then headed into the centre of town. At first, Daniel was going to catch the bus into town and meet me at the mall, but with so much stuff needing to be transported for our project, I needed someone to watch the supplies whilst I found a park.

So far the morning had run quite smooth and with Daniel and I utilising our class time to do our second iteration, we thought we were smashing it. Once I had found a park, we picked up the supplies and headed for the middle of the plaza. We decided that setting up in a nice open area between the two buildings would be a great spot. With the weather looking like it was going to rain, we decided to set the project up underneath an overhead walkway, this meant that even if it did rain it would keep the canvas and table dry.

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By the time we had finished setting up the table, easel, art supplies and hung up the “Draw on me” signs it was bang on 10am. Once again, we decided that two hours would be more than enough time for people to make their mark on the canvas.

At this point in time, if I were a member of the public and saw this project, I would have walked straight past it. It wasn’t that is was unnoticeable, it was because it was 10am on a Thursday (during work hours), it was freezing cold and it was raining, if that doesn’t deter people from drawing on a canvas I don’t know what does.

Daniel and I both agreed that today wasn’t going to be anywhere near as successful as the time we were at the beach. It was actually quite funny that the weather we experienced at the beach was pretty much the complete opposite to what we were faced with today. The weather in this situation was kind of like a metaphor. On weekends when people have time off work they are happy and get presented with the sunshine, but throughout the week on work days, you are in a cold and depressed state and deserve to have rain.

After about 20 minutes of waiting, Dan and I were getting a little worried that no one was going to draw on our canvas, but just as were started to think this a father and his three young children approached the canvas. We expected them to be there for about two minutes and then continue on with the rest of their day, but even after 15 minutes, they were still there having a grand old time.

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By the time they had left, they had touched every single art supplies we had on the table and created this colourful artwork.

With the canvas being filled right to the edges, I assumed that no one else would add to the picture, but I was definitely wrong.

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With the Dad and his three kids drawing on the canvas for such a long time, Dan and I wanted to check out the masterpiece. After we had taken a photo and started to walk away a lady approached the canvas and begun to do some things that I have never seen before.

With Dan and I watching on from a distance it was quite hard to make out what she was doing, but it looked like she was painting over the artwork that the children had made. This in itself was very interesting, I just assumed that because the canvas was quite full that no one would add to it, but it seems that instead of adding to it, this lady was drawing over what was already there and making it her own.

As more time went on her activities were engaging my attention more and more. After she had painted over the previous artwork, she then proceeded to grab the glitter containers and sprinkle the glitter around the table and easel. Her actions reminded me of a tribal dance where you throw things in the fire to scare away bad spirits.

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It was amazing to see that our artwork had now been taken beyond the canvas; never in my wildest dreams did I think that this form of engagement would occur.

Although I had no objection against her artistic creativity, I had to intervene with this woman due to the fact she was starting to steal our art supplies. Both Dan and I had clearly seen this woman put our supplies into her bag, so when I approached the woman she didn’t deny taking any of the items. I asked her kindly to put the items back on the table once she had finished.

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Whilst engaging in conversation with the woman and seeing her up close, signs of drug abuse were very prevalent. I am not one to accuse, prejudge or jump to conclusions, but from my knowledge, it seemed very evident.

In the end, she returned some of the supplies she had put into her bag. If we started with 100 items I would say that she took around 30 items, including all seven of our glitter containers. I was not mad that she had taken the supplies, I found it quite sad.  If this woman has to result to stealing glitter, I can only assume what else she would have to steal to get by on a daily basis.

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With so much activity occurring within the first hour of the project, the next 40 minutes seem to go for an eternity. It had got to the stage where the weather was so miserable that people were no long walking outside. As a result of the low traffic, we decided that packing up the equipment 20 minutes early could be justified.

Drawer Time
Start: 10am Thursday 26th May 2016, Crown Street Mall Plaza
#1 10:26
Took photo of canvas 10:40
#2 10:41
Took photo of canvas 11
Took photo of canvas and packed up project 11:40

Although the number of artists wasn’t as high as our previous iteration, we were still able to capture the expressions of different people in a particular place, even if only one expression can be seen in end result.

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Draw on me #1 (At North Wollongong beach)

Although I had done a little bit of preparation last night, I still needed to load everything into my car. Packing the art supplies was going to be easy; however the painting easel and table were more of a concern. With all my time be occupied on the art supplies, I forgot to make sure that the table and easel would fit in my tiny Holden Astra. Thankfully, everything fit into my car with just enough room for two people to squeeze in.

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Once I was all packed, I headed to Campus East to pick up Daniel. With Dan not having his license, getting to different locations was going to be a little difficult for him. I know he could have caught the bus if need be, but I was more than happy to pick him up.

Once I had picked him up, we headed down to North Wollongong beach. Being a Saturday morning we were expecting quite a lot of people to be around, or at least we were hoping a lot of people would be around. After we found a car-park, we decided to first scout out an area where lots of people would see our project. At first, we thought we should put it next to the little coffee and food kiosk, but with this being too much of a high traffic area, people may feel judged and deterred from approaching the canvas. In the end, we decided to set up our project about 100m away from the kiosk right next to the footpath. By setting up here, we would get lots of people looking at it whilst on their walks. As well as being in a noticeable area, people can approach the canvas without feeling intimidated by 100 people drinking coffee and watching them.

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After we had finally set up our project at 10:10am, we went and sat down by the bank of the beach about 30m away. Whilst sitting there we both decided that by giving the public two hours to draw on the canvas we would be able to get plenty of authentic expressions.

Seeing though it was a Saturday morning and the weather was pretty warm, I was pretty confident that we would get about 10 people to draw on the canvas. If we had set up the canvas on a day that had crappy weather I would have put that number around 5, but seeing though it was a nice day I was assuming that people would be eager to have some fun and put something on the canvas.

It didn’t take long before someone approached the canvas and started to draw, it was about seven minutes in that we had our first artist. Although we couldn’t actually see what they were drawing, we were very excited that someone had actually approached it. Within the first 20 minutes several people had drawn on it and that is when Daniel and I decided to write down what time everyone drew on it. On top of this, we thought it would be a good idea to take progressive photos of the canvas.

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Drawer Time
Start: 10:10am Saturday 21st May 2016, North Wollongong Beach
#1 10:17
#2 10:24
#3 10:30
#4 10:33
#5 10:37
Took photo of canvas 10:50
#6 10:53
#7 11:01
#8 11:02
#9 11:03
#10 11:12
Took photo of canvas 11:15
#11 11:18
#12 11:23
#13 11:24
#14 11:25
#15 11:29
#16 11:39
Took photo of canvas 11:40
#17 11:52
#18 11:55
#19 12:01
Took photo of canvas and packed up project 12:10

Although it was quite easy to tell if an individual was drawing on the canvas, the same can’t be said for a group. In the event that a group of people would approach the canvas, we just counted this as one interaction. Sometimes a group would be there for a long time and other times they would be gone before you could blink, so that is why we decided to tally the interactions this way.

We also thought that it would have been a little creepy have two people staring at you from a distance just to see if you would draw on a canvas.

In the end, we had 19 interactions where an individual or a group would add something to the artwork. To be honest I am very surprised that there were so many people willing to take time out of their day just to draw on a random canvas.

With today being such a success, I hope that our Crown Street and University canvases are much the same.

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