Real life still beating the screen

After deciding to start a CBD life drawing class in 2008, art curator Louise Klerks was unsure of what to expect.

Decisions, initially at least, were made on the run: friends were convinced to model, while housemates’ wardrobes were raided for dress-ups to satisfy the enthusiasts.

Ten years on, the now tri-weekly class operates on a more proficient level while maintaining an easy-going feel. It also continues to grow – attendance regularly exceeds the 100 mark.

Life Drawing recently celebrated its 10th birthday in Missing Persons Gallery at Swanston St’s Nicholas Building, its third home after early years at No Vacancy Gallery (2008-15) and a short stint at 1000 Pound Bend (2016).

Initially, volunteer models – including Melbourne musician Megan Washington, who posed for one class in a swimsuit with her dog – were fully clothed.

But as the classes grew, professional life models were employed with enthusiasts able to draw a new figure each week.

The classes now run each night from Monday to Wednesday at Missing Persons, a space that also serves (under Ms Klerks’s curation) as a community venue to host events such as talks, workshops and launches.

She said it was no accident that the rise to prominence coincided with the proliferation of social media and all things “online”.

“The classes have been popular because they are inclusive and also as a consequence of the increase of technology and digitalisation we experience in our lives today,” Ms Klerks said.

“People are looking for something fulfilling to do. Strengthening your hand-eye co-ordination is a fantastic way to break away from the screen and to meditate on your immediate surroundings.”

The classes attract all sorts of enthusiasts, from professional artists to hobbyists.

One regular – a miniature dachshund called Kevin Bayken – is a favourite. 

Life Drawing takes place from Monday to Wednesday at Missing Persons (Nicholas Building, Level 4, 37 Swanston St). The class costs $15, which includes materials.

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