I could imagine you’d get the wrong idea if I said the other day for $200 I got a drink and a view of a naked man.
Well, that pretty much sums up my Monday night this week, when I went to my first life drawing class in Taipei.
What? You thought…? Wash you mouth out with soap! Why I never!
For a while now I have been wanting to go to the life drawing class held at the foreigner bar, Revolver. Ever since I first went to Revolver for a drink and saw they held the night, I have been meaning to go. But every time Monday night rolls around I’m either busy, or the 35 minute journey seems too long- especially because the event only starts at 9:30pm and I have to wake up super early on weekdays. But this week, I finally went!
For $250TW (around AU$10/$US8/¥950) you get the choice of a drink (beer, gin and tonic or vodka cranberry) and access to the life drawing event. So armed with a refreshing G&T and my newly acquired tin box of assorted lead pencils, I walked upstairs.
Lo and behold, as soon as I entered, smack bang in my line of sight there was the naked life model. Of course, it is reasonable to expect that at a life drawing event, there is a life model. What is this display of nudity?! I was expecting at least some holly leaves covering the nether regions ala Adam & Eve! But I guess, as it’s only my second time ever to attend a life drawing event, it still made me blink a couple of times before I became accustomed to the sight.
The upstairs room is quite cozy, and is usually home to the intimate band gigs the bar hosts. But in lieu of empty beer cans and sticky floors, for these night there are tables and chairs placed for people to assemble their drawing tools and try their hand at drawing.
Finding myself a seat I quickly got down to business and tried to sketch the man in his early 30’s who stood in front of me. But no sooner had I sketched his arm, he changed poses. Now I have an awfully suspect lone arm sketch gracing a page of my sketchpad #isthatyourarmorareyouhappytoseeme
This proved to be a real challenge to me- to draw quickly, but not carelessly. I was surprised at how swiftly he changed his poses, and it was sometimes frustrating because I would want to keep on working on what I was drawing, but half-way through he’d switch to a new position.
Sometimes he only stayed in a pose for about a minute! But that’s what makes it so fun! With every new pose you can try to draw faster, or maybe slower- concentrating on one just body part instead of trying to represent the whole body. Or maybe, you might try to work on your drawing technique- shading, conveying the body contours, showing the natural shadows made by the folds of the skin. There are so many things you can try out so you always feel motivated to keep drawing.
I guess that is what makes life drawing so special. Unlike still life drawing, you are dealing with a living, breathing subject who has to change positions because they’re physically unable to hold a pose for too long. Sometimes they contort their bodies in a position which I would imagine would be quite uncomfortable. I’m sure it must be tougher than it looks! But, I think it must be an incredibly liberating experience to be a life model. What courage you would have to have to be so vulnerable and expose such an intimate part of yourself to a group of strangers. I like the fact that anyone, any age, any body type can be a life model. What a beautiful message to project about body acceptance.
If you are in Taipei and free on a Monday night, I would definitely recommend going. A couple of friends who I asked to come along were hesitant at the idea, so hopefully this will change their mind! It may be a bit confronting at first, but, I think once you get over the initial shock value, you realise it’s not that big of a deal at all. It’s an excellent way to practice your drawing skills, and to do something a bit out of your comfort zone. I also found it quite therapeutic to just sit and concentrate on something so foreign from the thoughts that usually cycle through my head.
Further to that, it was so addictive! Every 15 minutes when the model took a quick break, I found myself convinced to stay for the next round, and the next. We eventually left around 11:00pm, which was longer than I expected to stay out. So I’m not sure exactly when it ends, but the good thing is you can pretty much come and go as you please. As the night went on more people came which was nice to see, but the most crowded it got was around 10 people. Many seemed very skilled, complete with proper sketch pads, graphite and easles, so I am guessing they frequently go or are professionals.
And then there was me, cluelessly trying to make my drawings represent some human-like figure with my 10 assorted lead pencils I had no idea how to properly use.
As you can see, I am by no means skilled at life drawing, and I don’t think I have much- if any- technique. But, it’s all good fun, and if I can show you that anyone can do it, maybe you’ll try giving it a go- whichever city you’re in! 🙂
No. 1之2號, Section 1, Roosevelt Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, 100
Event Start: 9:30. Can enter every 15 minutes.
250NT with one drink inclusive