City Hall Zingers: September 21, 2011
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City Hall Zingers: September 21, 2011

Bringing our sketchbook to City Hall.

Our councillors may have made poor role models at this week’s meeting, but at least they made decent figure models for all the artists who showed up to sketch them. The morning meeting was repurposed by the locally organized event Drawing Lines: Figure Studies of Toronto City Council, which invited artists and non-artists alike to come and draw the councillors in action. The Facebook-publicized event included a 9 a.m. drawing tutorial and invited anyone interested to drop by the meeting with art supplies from 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Although the the council chamber isn’t the ideal life-drawing setup (back-of-the-head views of everyone but the Speaker), the sizable smatterings of artists in the audience certainly drew the interest of the other spectators, as well as that of some flattered councillors. After an entire morning of drawing, the councillors hadn’t even made it to the day’s agenda in earnest: the meeting was derailed by lengthy bickering over a motion that proposed grouping some civic appointment motions together to save time/railroad informed debate (depending on who you asked).

Needless to say, the scene and its subjects lent themselves all too well to caricatures and comic strips.

I don’t think I was the only artist who came there to draw but ended up too disturbed by the circus to do anything but listen. As with any flash mob–inspired activity, everyone participating got a kick out of making the public curious, but it was a pleasant and humbling surprise to find that this event worked both ways: yes, everyone else was curious about all the drawing, but those of us drawing ended up being more curious about what we were watching. And even though the cuts to the arts weren’t on the agenda that morning, it was all too palpable that the artists’ curiosity had better evolve into something more active, and fast.

The organizers of Drawing Lines are hoping to arrange a public show of the artwork from the event; visit the event’s Facebook page for more information.