At Museum Night, Louny

This evening event was held to commemorate the 500 year anniversary of the great fire that destroyed a significant part of the historic Czech town of Louny, one of several of the catastrophes that are the subject of the current special exhibition in the town’s museum. In the 1715 fire the nave and part of the tower of the spectacular late Gothic St Nicolas Church, which is adjacent to the museum, was destroyed and my evening of drawing to recall this catastrophe began in the courtyard of the museum.1-P1080422 The church was so large that it was not possible for me to take a photo with my little camera that would show both the courtyard wall and the tower and spires of the church behind it which were to be the ‘canvas’ for my drawing. However, we were able to borrow a huge 11000 lumens projector (for which a very big thank you to the Lunchmeat label!). We positioned this projector at a window on the first floor  of the museum so that it covered all of the church to the very top of the tower while our smaller projector was mounted on a tripod downstairs, projecting on to the white courtyard wall below the church.2-P1080434Here (on the courtyard wall) is my drawing of townspeople fleeing from the fire and below, the church tower engulfed in flames.4-P1080430This was a great set up – but drawing using two projectors like this to construct the one image was not easy. Only on one part of the surface of my Wacom drawing tablet could I draw on the church, with the other (much smaller) part of the tablet for the drawing of the figures below. So I had to be always very careful not to let any drawing of one part of the image ‘stray’ into the other! 3-P1080431 Jazz improvisations by Jan, Cyril and Radomil accompanied this performance and then after a short break we moved our projector and the Tagtool from the museum courtyard to project on to the gable wall of the town hall in the square – another great location and huge surface to work on – and this time I made not so much a performance drawing as a temporary mural, again imagining the panic and confusion of the townspeople at the time of the great fire.

I began with blue sky and an outline of the town in the distance, gradually adding  more figures in the foreground as the fire took hold behind them….03-P108046204-P1080470…with more flames and smoke gradually obliterating the town….06-P1080489….so that the figures were completely surrounded by smoke and fire.07-P1080494Some people who were at the museum performance came to watch this second drawing   but it also attracted some passers by who stopped for a while to watch what I was doing, while other people stood and chatted in the street at the refreshment stall.   11-P1080501It was great just to be able to do a drawing like this, working at my own pace, and it was after midnight when I faded the final image and we packed up all the equipment and headed for home.

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Tagtool at FotonXperience party

On Saturday we were invited to draw at the launch party of this new Prague-based audio visual collective.01-P1080401In the afternoon at VILA Štvanice (above) there was a picnic with music outside the theatre, continuing until late in the night with more live music, DJs and installations both inside the theatre and outside on the grass and among the trees. We set up the Tagtool to cover the whole of the building with the entrance to the bar in the centre and once it got really dark I began to draw.02-P108040303-P1080402As there was virtually no ambient lighting affecting this side of the building and the only illumination for people sitting outside was coming from the laser and led light installations on the grass and among the trees in the park, it was not difficult to produce dramatic effects with the Tagtool. But as well as drawing in full colour I also worked in black and white, making the building almost disappear in the darkness.04-P108040605-P1080408At the start of the evening the live music was outside  but later the action moved inside the theatre, although many people remained drinking at the tables outside the bar and sitting on the grass among the led lights and laser installations.06-P108041007-P108041108-P1080414Both the weather and the location were ideal for drawing and the relaxed party atmosphere meant that I could draw at my own pace and also stop from time to time and join the party. Some people who hadn’t seen the Tagtool before came and wanted to know about it. Because they were interested in having a demonstration, instead of packing up and going home, we had a late night impromptu ‘have a go’ session! I was sorry that we didn’t have our Tagtool mini with us as most people were right-handed and it’s not easy to draw ‘cross handed’. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos from this fun session but at the very end of the night I took the two photos below….11-P108042012-P1080421One of the party-goers had drawn a kaleidoscope of colours over the whole building. Then I drew this black silhouette on top of his drawing and he posed with his arms in the air while his friends took photos for him – great fun and a very nice ending to a great evening!

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Two recent performances

It’s catch up time for the blog! On Friday 12 May we were in Kozarišče, Slovenia, at Grad Snežnik. I was Tagtool drawing outdoors, not on the castle itself (as at the Floating Castle Festival) but at an evening concert that was held in front of an adjacent building where refreshments are served for visitors at the weekend.1-P1080266It was great to be back at this lovely location, even for just a day!

Then on Sunday 14 May we were in Hungary….1-P1080371Here I was drawing at a performance by the music group Grad Gori as part of the Five Churches Festival, GyőrÚjváros in the beautiful Synagogue of Győr.

So – one weekend but two very different locations and also very different types of music! In Slovenia my drawing was to accompany instrumental jazz improvisations, while the songs in Grad Gori’s concert, entitled ‘Under God’s Sky’, took their inspiration from old Slovenian and Swedish tales. Here are some more images to end this posting. The first four are from the concert in Slovenia….1-P10803233-P10803354-P10803405-P1080353…and below, three images from the concert in the Synagogue of Győr.3-P10803814-P10803925-P1080393

 

 

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Tagtool and Dance Performance

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… 1-P10800312-P1080057Kateřina 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….1-P1080172….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.5-P10801684-P10801663-P1080170Venuše 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.7-venuse_012766-P10801561-venuse_002722-venuse_004063-venuse_005185-venuse_006266-venuse_011232-P10801841-P1080186.JPG

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Tagtool Holiday!

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.1-20170415_125903The 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.

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13-All064114-All066415-All075316-All0863And here are some screenshots from our second session…..

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10-All138211-All147914-All157515-All1664Because 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’.

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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!1-20170419_115400 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.

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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…..

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Drawing in Slany, Czech Republic

1-P1070946Our 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.  2-P1070948The 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.01-P1070954The 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.02-P107095803-P107095904-P1070963Then, after the second sequence of archive photos I started to draw in colour…05-P107096406-P1070973…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!) 07-P107097508-P107098009-P1070984 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.10-P1070989

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Two videos

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.

 

 

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