(Photo by Ken Kramer Photography)
Cyborg-costumed models, Miss V and Eyrie Twylite put sketching pencils to work at Dr. Sketchy’s Philly Tech Week edition of “Fembots/Cyborgs” in Haddonfield, N.J.
Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School is an organization created in 2005 by Molly Crabapple with the goal of bringing fun to model-drawing sessions. From amateur artists to renowned professionals, sketchers commune regularly to draw models with just pencil and paper, conversing and competing in drawing competitions judged by the models themselves. With a famously sociable attitude (and the provision of cold beverages), Dr. Sketchy’s alternative drawing movement has spawned over 120 branches worldwide in six countries and five continents. Not to forget our favorite: Philly.
On Saturday, April 25, the creative director of Dr. Sketchy’s Philly branch, Candace “Candy” Mayhem, opened the event with a short history of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School followed by the introduction of the two models: Miss V, a widely published pinup model, and Eyrie Twylite, an established burlesque performer in Philly. Former creative director of Dr. Sketchy’s Philly, Nicola Black, organized the event.
When Miss V took the stage in lustrous, silver boots and blue, bionic dress, the artists took to their sketchbooks. Three five-minute poses later, the crowd applauded Miss V as she concluded her first modeling session and left to change wardrobe.
Next on the silver stage was Eyrie Twylite in a golden bikini. She assumed a lively pose, pointing a James Bondian golden gun towards the window, inspiring some of the events most striking sketches.
Following Eyrie Twylite’s four five-minute poses, a 10-minute break ensued with friendly conversation amongst the guests, organizers and models. People bid greetings to other Dr. Sketchy’s regulars and reconvened with fellow artists.
“In the past four years, there have been people that come to every session,” said Candy Mayhem. “There’s a great community of artists and it’s fantastic to bring them together and collaborate.”
Miss V retook the stage for the first of the day’s two competitions. The guidelines: draw the model as if on the label of a beer bottle using the two 10-miunute poses. The model wore a pink nightgown with matching metallic gloves and slippers. A remix of Thomas Dolby’s “She Blinded Me with Science” played as artists used their sketching skills and creativity to design a drawing worth a prize sponsored by Sourpuss Clothing.
Continuing the contest, Eyrie Twilight took the stage in a studded leather skirt, combat boots and matching vest. She held two silver rods, one flashing a bright strobe light towards the sketchers.
After the ten-minute poses, Candace Mayhem invited the artists to lie out their drawings on the stage for the models to judge. Winners included professional artist and Philly resident, along with the founder of new South Jersey coworking space Kings Hall where the event took place, Devon Perry.
The final contest followed. This time, in honor of Philly Tech Week, the creative challenge was to incorporate a technological theme into the drawing. For the grand finale, the organizers brought out two antique chairs upon which each model sat for their last two poses. The 15-minute timer began and artists once more took to their sketchbooks.
At the end of the contest, the models left the stage, where artists placed their sketchbooks for the final judgment. Miss V reentered the room and picked up the work of Frankie Macgregor, a high school junior from suburban Philadelphia.
“I didn’t expect to win today,” said Macgregor. “I expected a room of intimidating professionals, but this seems like a place you can just come and be apart of.”
“We enjoy networking,” said Mayhem. “The central idea is to collaborate. We take something that is normally an exercise in art class and make it fun.”
At Dr. Sketchy’s, you won’t only find “dames, drinking, and drawing.” There’s a community of artists who thoroughly enjoy each other’s company.
“Once everyone’s here and people are talking and drawing,” Mayhem reflected, “that’s when it all comes together.”-30-
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