Introducing The Art Monkeys Drawing Club
I've never been very good at making art alone in a studio or at home. I've always enjoyed setting up at different cafes around Baltimore and absorbing the atmosphere and social energy, then pouring it into my work. It helps me feel closer to people, and keeps me from spiraling too far inward. A lot of people have a similar type of brain that actually focuses better when they're among noise and chaos. For me, my thoughts are way louder than any cafe, so it's actually less chaotic than in a studio.
The term art monkey was coined by my "Live Art-ner" and friend Harrison Lance Crawford, and has sort of become our term for a person who has transformed art into a lifestyle rather than a hobby. I recently began inviting others to come and sit with me while I'm out drawing and the result has been very exciting so far. As it turns out, there are many many people out there who would love to draw, but just keep putting it off in favor of work, phone scrolling, netflix, or many of the other habits that drain us of all our useful creative energy. They may have been very into it at one point, but just can't seem to get back on the horse. I know this feeling very well, and am quite familiar with the fact that art does not use physical energy the same way that other work does. It doesn't even use up mental energy. Creative work uses emotional energy, and we only have a certain amount to pull from each day. Once it's drained, it's pretty much fetal position til the next morning.
My solution at first was Art Night. I would invite a few hand selected individuals over that I knew were struggling with procrastination, and just needed the right environment to force them into a focused state.
The formula was simple:
- Everyone who comes over must work on something.
- No phones or distractions.
- No egos or personalities (say it with your art)
- If you get lost or overwhelmed, just listen to the music.
- Be easy on yourself.
The Art Monkeys Drawing Club is basically the same formula, but adjusted to take place around town at local businesses. There is no formal membership really, the club basically consists of a place to post when and where you'll be setting up to draw, so that others can come join you if they'd like. My goal is to get people to take it upon themselves to run with it. Our first meet up took place recently at The Windup Space here in Baltimore and the enthusiasm for the idea was very inspiring. It is my hope that local businesses will become involved in some way and benefit as well.
If you would like to become an Art Monkey yourself, just send a message to email@example.com!