For some time I have been looking for an opportunity to combine Tagtool drawing with a dance performance so I was really happy to be able to work with Kateřina Eva Lanči at her dance studio in Drozdov. We had two intensive practice sessions at Drozdov, in the first she danced alone and for the second her partner was Václav Kovář. Here are two photos from our first session… Kateřina chose the playlist for this session and it was interesting for me to have some different music to accompany my drawing. For the second session we had live music by Turkish musicians, Fezayafirar, with whom I have worked on previous occasions but unfortunately I don’t have any photos for the blog. Then on 5 May we had a performance all together in Prague at the interesting old theatre, Venuše ve Švehlovce. For this public performance the musicians were located on the stage behind the seating for the audience….….while the dancers occupied the auditorium with the drawing covering the whole of this space, floor, walls and balcony, sometimes illuminating or sometimes obscuring the dancers.Venuše is an ideal venue for this kind of collaborative performance and we spent one whole day working together in the space while Dima and Lukas took a lot of video. Dima will edit this video later but meantime here are some more photos to end this posting.
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Last week Danil Gertman and his family came to stay with us – so of course the first stop was the studio where Danil got out his iPad pro, hooked up to the projector and immediately did some drawing on the wall. Unfortunately I hadn’t charged my camera so I only could take a few shots of his session on my phone.
Then Dima set up my ‘old-school’ Tagtool next to Danil’s workstation and brought out our old Edirol mixer so we all could work together. We haven’t done this for ages and it was great fun, with Danil and I drawing and Dima manipulating the colour and opacity of the drawing via the mixer. As there was no time to set up the camera to document this impromptu session, below is a photo from my phone of our final image.The following day Grundik Kasyansky arrived with his family and we were able to add his live music to the mix. Perfect! With the big screen set up in the music studio, now we could have both video and sound recording – and also properly document the sessions. Grundik will edit the video of our sessions but meantime here are a lot of screenshots from the sessions where me, Danil, Grundik and Dima were working together.
And here are some screenshots from our second session…..
Because our drawing went through so many changes in these sessions and Dima’s manipulation with the mixer added further transformations of the images, I have posted lots of screenshots to try to recreate the development of our drawing as ‘performance art’.
As well as these studio sessions, I had had hopes of putting our generator and all the equipment into the van and doing some projector bombing but the weather was far too cold even to light a fire outside and draw in the garden. But on the plus side, the bad weather meant that Danil and Grundik had more opportunities to work together in the studio – and I had a chance to sit back and enjoy their performances! Danil also encouraged me to try out his iPad pro and pencil. Although it didn’t take me long to get used to the ‘feel’ of the pencil, I quickly realised that I would have to do quite a lot of practicing before I would become fluent in changing the scale and position of the imagery.
I was so happy to have this opportunity to try out Danil’s iPad pro – the larger drawing area really makes a difference – and after this experience I know that I will certainly buy one for myself when Apple release the new edition. Meantime, I will stick with my beloved old-school Tagtool!
This was a very intensive but most enjoyable few days of drawing! The studio felt quite empty when everyone went home – it’s sad that we all live so very far apart…..
Our first outdoor drawing session this year was at the Gymnasium in Slany on Friday 17 March. It was the last of a week-long programme of lectures and events held at the school which was organised by the town’s Regional Museum. On the Thursday evening we went to the location to check the projector etc and I did some test drawings. The tarpaulin that had been put up to cover the windows of the central stairway was dark green and unfortunately this muted the colours of the drawing and made all white and light tones turn to grey. The weather all week had been quite spring-like and it was nice to be able to draw outside again but as rain was forecast for Friday evening we took our gazebo – which turned out to be a wise decision as the weather turned wet, cold and very windy. While we were setting up the equipment I thought that our gazebo might take off in the wind, so I drove our van alongside it on the pavement which gave both the gazebo, and me, some much-needed shelter from the elements! But despite the bad weather people started to gather early so I did this quick drawing before our programme was due to begin.The theme of the event was ‘Slany then and now’. From the photographic archives of the museum we had prepared three sequences of black and white images showing various aspects of the town’s history, and these we planned to project, in the intervals between my drawings, on to the central panel of the school building. I found this archive material extremely interesting – photos of the town’s historic buildings, people working in the fields, and festivals and parades from bygone days, but because of the dark colour of the tarpaulin, at a distance a lot of the photos were not easy to see and I don’t have any photos for the blog. To counter the effects of the tarpaulin and the many windows of the Gymnasium building I made my drawings quite big and bold, beginning by using only black and white.Then, after the second sequence of archive photos I started to draw in colour……and after the third sequence of black and white photos I did another coloured drawing, beginning with a background landscape and using the tarpaulin to ‘frame’ the figures. (As the photos below show, the strong wind blowing the tarpaulin back and forth against the building distorted everything – making it very difficult to draw!) By the time that I finished this drawing the rain had stopped and although it was very windy and cold quite a few people were still on the street waiting and watching so I did a quick ‘encore’ before we turned off the projector, packed up everything and drove home.
Here are two videos from last year that I didn’tget round to posting on the blog – the first is from my open air performance at the 48 Stunden Neukölln Festival , Berlin (a big thank you to Marcelo Kzm for making this video – which I saw for the first time only a few weeks ago!)
And some fun drawing (which had to be recorded in one take!) that I did to accompany this music video by the Czech band, Mutanti hledaj východisko.
Unfortunately this is the only image that I have from the short Tagtool drawing performance that I did at the evening awards party for the ‘Hack the Brain’ hackathon that took place on 4 December at Venuše ve Švehlovce, a small theatre hidden behind the flats in the Zizkov area of Prague. The electronic music for the performance was given by Sergey Khanukaev aka Dirigent who I met in Berlin earlier this year.It was great to have this opportunity to draw with him again and I had a lot of fun playing with the ‘hall of mirrors’ distortions that resulted from the curved surfaces of the theatre balcony – an ideal location for this short unrehearsed jam session!
Tagtool drawing on 23 November at Letní dům‘s fund raising event in Prague. As happened last year, as well as the sale of paper lanterns to float on the river there was a puppet show for the children, jazz band, fire show and a stall selling hot drinks and snacks. The weather, although quite cold, was dry and clear – quite a relief as earlier in the week it had been very wet and misty (which would not have been good conditions for sailing paper lanterns or Tagtooling!)Before the event began, in order to provide a suitable background for a local television crew to interview the organisers of the event, I made my drawings only on this wall and the logo of the children’s charity was projected on the building above. But as people began to gather for the puppet show I made this sequence of monochrome drawings on the building itself.It was great to be able to draw on this enormous scale!When the Tango Jazz Band started to play it was time to begin a new sequence of drawings, this time in colour.The projector provided for me to use was a beautiful strong 21000 lumens Panasonic which gave super bright colours – this was a real joy (thank you AV Media!). Here are some more photos of this drawing sequence.I left my drawing on the Containall building, erased the colour on the wall below and joined the audience to enjoy the spectacular Ohnivá fire show which ended the evening’s events.
On 10 November the Biomedical Faculty of the Czech Technical University held an open evening for people interested in pursuing a scientific career. There were various lectures and demonstrations for both children and adults – and then some Tagtool drawing to close the evening’s events.Not my usual subject matter! However the audience seemed to quite like my representation of ‘scientists at work in the lab making exciting discoveries’….
On Thursday 3 November I had the privilege of drawing at this concert given by the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra. The programme consisted of three pieces by contemporary American composers and my drawing was to accompany one of the works – City Noir by John Adams. Adams wrote that this three movement orchestral work was inspired by, ‘the tenor and milieu of the late Forties and early Fifties as it was expressed in the sensational journalism of the era and in the dark, eerie chiaroscuro of the Hollywood films that have come to define the period’. To prepare for the concert I made a number of practice drawings at home while listening to a recording of the work…
…but before the rehearsal with the orchestra when we set up the Tagtool in the concert hall I immediately realised that I needed to make some changes and simplify the drawing.Dima took the photo below of my final image at the orchestra’s dress rehearsal. I replaced the palm tree in my initial sketches with a lamp post to give more prominence to the people in the diner and added the large foreground figure in the hat to change the perspective of the image behind the orchestra.City Noir is about 35 minutes long – not a lot of time to develop such a big drawing! I was so glad that I was able to draw at the dress rehearsal before the performance but I found that trying to replicate this image twice in the space of a few hours was no easy matter. It was one of those occasions where ‘practice didn’t make perfect’ – and although I managed to avoid some of the ‘mistakes’ that I made in the earlier drawing, other parts I felt worked better at the rehearsal. But the audience couldn’t know this of course, and I got a beautiful bouquet of flowers at the end of the performance……definitely a night to remember!
On Friday 7 October we returned with Ilan Katin to our favourite ‘Berlin wall’ in Neukölln for an evening of unofficial projector bombing. Once we had set up the Tagtool and started up the generator I did this quick preliminary drawing.Working on such a large scale is great – with graffiti to add some extra interest!We were joined by Danil Gertman and Grundik Kasyansky who had a performance in Berlin the following night. I knew their work only from the Internet so it was great to be able to meet up for this drawing session. Grundik provided the music and as Danil uses the Tagtool for iPad I was very interested to see him drawing ‘live’ for the first time. But I was so engrossed in watching how he uses the iPad version of the Tagtool that I have only a few photos from his drawing session.Because I usually only use the fade facility in performances or simply draw one image on top of another, I was particularly interested in seeing how Danil uses animation in his drawings….
….but watching the images develop and change made me realise that still photos (and even video clips) are a very poor substitute for being present at a drawing performance. Once Danil had finished his session I tried out his pen and iPad, he ‘had a go’ with my old-school Tagtool and we had a nice discussion about Tagtool drawing. Then I did a bit more ‘old-school’ drawing.Some passers-by stopped to watch so we were able to let them know about Danil and Grundik’s performance the following evening at Gelegenheiten. Soon, as on our first visit to draw at the skate-park in February, it started to rain. Fortunately it was only a short shower and I was able to continue drawing from the shelter of our gazebo…Dima said to me, ‘Why have you drawn such a depressing image?’ Well, I don’t know, as we were really having a lot of fun drawing together despite the cold damp weather. However, the chill night air didn’t prevent Ilan from ending the evening with some colourful calligraphic iPad drawings but I only have a couple of photos of his work for the blog, as I didn’t notice that my camera was on the wrong setting and most of them are far too dark – typical!This was a most enjoyable evening of drawing!
On Saturday night we all met up again at Gelegenheiten for Grundik and Danil’s Lull Machines concert. The venue was packed with people and they gave a really great performance. I took some (not very good) photos – but here is a small selection to end this posting.
It had been a most enjoyable and inspiring weekend!
On Friday 9 September the museum held a day long outdoor event, ‘Malá slavnost lesa a dřeva‘, to accompany their current special exhibition about forests. This was a family-oriented event held in the garden behind the museum with daytime activities for children, a puppet show and in the evening an open air concert by Czech musicians Konvrzek & Kalivoda.Above – it was a beautiful cloudless evening and the concert began before it was properly dark. The combination of the dark brick of the museum wall, bright outdoor lighting of the path leading to the cafe bar and the illumination of the stage made for extremely difficult conditions for Tagtool drawing! None the less, people seemed to enjoy the ghostly images accompanying the music and I did several drawings both during and after the concert.I did the demonstration drawing below during the interval to show how the Tagtool worked, for some people who were interested in it and had not seen it before.Because of the ambient light it was not possible to use any transparency in my drawings and make only big bold images. Drawing in black and white was really the best option, and although I did try to use some colour, the dark brick made everything look very dull.I had not been able to draw the kind of landscape and forest backgrounds that I had hoped to for this event, but I did enjoy the music – and the audience seemed happy with the performance too!