Friday, July 2, 2010

John Baldessari Exhibit

I had a chance to go see the John Baldessari exhibit at LACMA with my girlfriend Nicole yesterday.  John Baldessari is a conceptual artist who got his start in the late sixties.  You can read more about him here if you're interested.

Yet, this blog entry isn't about John Baldessari, it's about people in art museums.  Drawing people in art museums is one of my most favorite things in the whole wide world.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  One being people in museums are easier to draw because they are moving slowly while looking at art.  Also, they are usually better dressed than people in the street.  And thirdly, it's easier to draw people in an art museum because it is completely appropriate for me to stare and doodle away in my sketchbook.  It's an art museum, and people expect that kind of thing going in.  Whereas if I am in a tacobell sketching away, people start to figure me for a stalker and get very uncomfortable with the idea of being drawn while they stuff a bean burrito in their mouth. 

Sketching people in a museum does have drawbacks.  One is the security guards.  They hate artists who meander around doodling.  I think this is because they are often the subjects of the doodles.  This is because they hold very still and you know they aren't going to walk out of the gallery while you are looking down.  So the guards combat the artists by marching around very quickly, or by walking by very closely and glaring. 
The second kind of person that is a problem for sketch artists is what I like to call the "Look-at-mees."  Usually these are "cute chicks" who know exactly what the sketch artist (me) is up to (perhaps they once had a boyfriend who was an artist?), and instead of avoiding the dude with pencil and paper they will circle them like a shark.  Even following from one gallery to the next in front of the artist with the single goal in mind of being captured on paper.  After which their next goal is to get behind the artist to make sure they made it onto the page, and then they quickly walk away in disapproval thinking to themselves: "That guy is a creepy bastard and he didn't even make me look hot, what a jerk"  In the second image below, second from the left is one of those such girls.  I also believe "Look-at-mees" get extra aggressive if they know the artist is with his girlfriend.  Unfortunately, I always end up falling into the "Look-at-mees'" trap, but trust me, BEWARE of the "Look-at-mes" they can make an artist's life miserable.   And finally, the last problem with drawing people in museums is that you usually end up drawing the backs of people because everybody spends the whole time up against walls staring at pictures.  

The artist life is hard.



Bill Jaynes said...

I always enjoy your sketchbook drawings

ANDROID said...

Thanks Bill! You are a key inspiration. I don't think I would have ever started sketchbooking if I hadn't taken your class.

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