New York, London, Paris and now…Berlin! A couple of weeks ago, Berlin’s Ballhaus Ost played host to Dr Sketchy’s Anti-Art School as Molly Crabapple brought her “Circus Life-Drawing Extravaganza” to town.
An art class with a difference, wannabe students were invited to draw glamorous burlesque performers, fetish models and even a singing mermaid, as well as compete in wacky contests with unusual prizes (nipple pasties, anyone?).
The crowd of arty-hipsters had their sketch-books at the ready as burlesque models posed in full costume, from Siamese twins (two lovely blonds in one little black dress -complete with one large breast each) to a moustachioed circus ring-leader.
All the way from New York, Crabapple also struck an attitude for the crowd’s eager pencils, her corseted outfit embellished with a large clockwork key that her fellow presenter, the gorgeously clad Hedo Luxe, turned for her.
As the self-styled “amazing wind-up girl” introduced herself to the crowd she explained that Sketchy’s was born of her own frustration when as an art student and life-model she became sick of “sterile rooms, bad lighting and bored, silent models.”
“Why can’t drawing naked people be sexy?” she asked, and lo, at the tender age of 22 she established her now phenomenally successful Anti-Art School in answer. Today there over 30 Dr.Sketchy’s stretching across 4 continents, proving that “what happens when cabaret meets art school” has fired imaginations across the world.
The experience certainly proved a hit in Berlin. As the night wore on and the champagne corks popped the Siamese twins were the first to dance down to their pasties, their creative striptease a far cry from the usual bored dropping of a dressing-gown art students have become familiar with.
A voluptuous mermaid singing Joni Mitchell and a sexy lion-tamer dominating her feline charge provided further entertainment and artistic inspiration.
Proudly displaying a sketch book newly populated with impossibly glamorous creatures in exotic poses, Berlin-based artist Marlene Gravert enthused that this was “by far the best life-class I have ever attended.”
“I feel completely inspired. Usually life-classes are the most creativity-sapping chore, but I can’t wait to get home and start a new series of drawings.”
Details of your nearest Dr Sketchy’s can be found here.