For the merry month of May, we’re going to celebrate the blossoming of new ideas and London’s cultural communities with a series of ART MACABRE MUSEUM TAKEOVERS!
Explore some of London’s leading museums and galleries after-hours with Art Macabre life drawing salons. A unique way to enjoy temporary exhibitions, looking deeper and closer as you draw both the artwork and artefacts alongside our Art Macabre living statues and interventions.
DATES AND MORE INFO ABOUT OUR MAY MUSEUM EVENTS…
WEDS 4 MAY – MUSEUM OF LONDON: TATTOO LONDON
We respond to the TATTOO LONDON exhibition, placing beautifully inked life models within the museum’s atrium and invite you to play tattoo artist for the night on a blank human canvas too. Last few tickets remain here.
(photo: model Alice Snape, for Women & Ink magazine, who will pose to be drawn for us)
SAT 14 MAY – ROYAL ACADEMY: RA LATE VENETIAN MAGIC
We love being part of the RA Late events, where hundreds invade the galleries at night for after-hours exploration of the exhibitions, themed performances and participatory creative shenanigans (and cocktails). The next one is Venetian Carnival themed, so we’ll be featuring the incredible performer VIRGIN XTRAVAGANZAH posing as a saintly Virgin Mary as you’ve never quite seen them. BYZANTIUM LIFE DRAWING with Venetian Renaissance religious imagery with a twist and lots of decadent bling! It sold out super fast, as they tend to do, but for more info on other lates that we’ll be part of see their website.
Photo: Virgin Xtravaganzah will be our model. Headdress: Hysteria Machine. Model: Virgin Xtravaganzah (c)
FRIDAY 20 MAY – SIR JOHN SOANE’S MUSEUM: SARAH LUCAS -POWER OF WOMAN
We’re excited to be exploring the bold sculptural display by YBA artist Sarah Lucas in collaboration with Sir John Soane’s Museum. If you’ve not been there before, this could be a good first visit but there is so much to see there that you’ll need to go back again to explore the rest of the collection!
In response to Sarah Lucas’ bold exhibition of cast sculptures there, we’ll have model MANKO posing in a series of poses that focus on the Sarah Lucas exhibit three ‘muses’ – plaster casts from life of her female friends – in the stunning yellow Drawing Room. These sculptures offer a gritty, modern and natural twist on Soane’s collection of classical casts, and guests will draw inspiration from these by studying them in-situ. Manko will pose reflecting Lucas’ muses and the power of the female figure.to the artworks and questions raised by the artist.
Sir John Soane Museum is to the historic house, museum and library of distinguished 19th century architect Sir John Soane. At Soane’s request, the house has been left untouched since his death – almost 180 years ago.It’s an intimate, atmospheric place, designed by Soane himself, and filled with his exceptional collection of famous artworks, sculptures, furniture and artefacts.
SUNDAY 22 MAY – RA FRIENDS WEEK: GIORGIONE’S WOMEN
We’ll be back at the Royal Academy to explore the Age of Giorgione exhibition a second time, for two life drawing event for RA Friends. So if you
are an RA Friend, you can book to come and explore artist’s Giorgione’s portrayal of women with our two models Kitty and Lieve (two different aged yet equally beautiful and distinctive looking women).
TUESDAY 31 MAY – UCL ART MUSEUM: REVOLUTIONARY DEATHS
To end our month of museums, we’ll collaborate with the small but crammed with arty artefacts UCL Art Museum- our first event there. Capture the spirit of drama of the French Revolution with us. Join us for a unique evening of drawing and history. View the exhibition ‘Revolution under a king’ and draw life models posing in theatrical tableaux. Create your own illustrations from these key moments in history.
UCL Art Macabre has more than 10,000 prints, drawings, sculptures, paintings, and media works dating from the 1490s to the present day.
We love collaborating with museums and galleries, exploring and responding to their unique and challenging collections. If you know of a special place that you think we should visit, let us know? We still have our dreams set on Natural History Museum one day (all those bones!) but we love discovering new smaller and wonderfully strange little museums too.
7 MAY / PRINTS OF DARKNESS: LINO PRINTING / The Book Club, Shoreditch
14 MAY / RA LATE: VENETIAN MAGIC feat Virgin Xtravaganzah / Royal Academy SOLD OUT
20 MAY / ART MACABRE & SARAH LUCAS / Sir John Soane’s Museum SOLD OUT
We’ll have pearly skeleton faced queer queens at our event on 21 May
21 MAY / PEARLY KINGS & QUEENS: COCKNEY REBELS / The Book Club, Shoreditch
22 MAY / RA FRIENDS EVENT: Giorgione’s Women / Royal Academy
24 MAY / DRAWN AT THE TOWER WITH ART MACABRE: ROYAL BEASTS / Tower of London
31 MAY / REVOLUTIONARY DEATHS: French Revolution / UCL Art Museum
4 JUNE / BOTTICELLI BEAUTIES / The Book Club
7 JUNE / THE DRAWING JUKEBOX / Looking Glass Cocktail Club
13 JUNE / COLOURDROME: ORANGE / Paper Dress Vintage, Hackney
14 JUNE / CAIUS MAY BALL- PRIVATE EVENT
2 JULY / THE BOOK CLUB, 2-4PM
2 JULY / A CURIOUS INVITATION BALL @ MASONIC TEMPLE. Part of EAST LONDON FILM FESTIVAL
9 JULY / SHUFFLE FESTIVAL: DRAWN AT DAWN / Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park
17 JULY / CITADEL FESTIVAL: DRAWING JUKEBOX / Victoria Park, East London
4-7 AUG / WILDERNESS FESTIVAL with A Curious Invitation Natural History Tent
Draw with us at the Tower!
Art Macabre are delighted to be able to announce a new collaboration with Historic Royal Palaces, creating together a series of after-hours drawing events at the Tower of London. Ahead of monthly events, launching in Spring 2016, we’d like to invite you to part of a preview event, introducing the Drawn at the Tower tutoring team and the experience of drawing after-hours at this unique, historical landmark site.
Drawn at the Tower with Art Macabre
PREVIEW EVENT: Rebel Queens and Killer Kings
Tuesday 24 November 2015, 6.30-9pm
@ Tower of London
Tickets £20 (includes drawing materials, paper and a drink). Tickets purchased here.
Unlock your drawing potential and discover the scandalous romances and rebellions of medieval monarchs at this after-hours drawing event at the Tower of London. Inspired by Isabella the “She-wolf of France”, and her tyrannical father-in-law Edward I, create your own portraits in the unique and dramatically lit Medieval Palace with tutors Jake Spicer and Sue Dray.
From an enthusiastic newbie to a seasoned artist, Drawn at the Tower is designed for adults (18+) of all levels and abilities. Tutoring will be available.
About DRAWN AT THE TOWER
Drawn at Tower is a new creative collaboration between Historic Royal Palaces and Art Macabre, inviting participantsto use drawing to explore stories from the Tower of London’s remarkable 1,000 year history. From royals and rogues to ravens and rituals, each event will illuminate the Tower’s dark past. Drawn at the Tower is directed and designed by Art Macabre, and delivered by a team of tutors and artists including Jake Spicer,Sue Dray and Lozzy Bones, to create an immersive experience. Be among the first to experience this unique after-hours drawing series at the Tower of London that will run regularly from spring 2016.
About Art Macabre
Art Macabre inject a lethal dose of theatricality and curiosity into drawing. Directed by Nikki Shaill, Art Macabre specialise in creating immersive drawing events in unique spaces that bring together elements of narrative, performance, music and theatrical themes. Since 2010, thousands of participants have enjoyed drawing from both the imagination and observation.
Please note access to the Tower of London site will be restricted to a different part of the Tower for each event, and does not include access to the Crown Jewels or whole site. This event involves using steps around the historic site and is unfortunately not suitable for wheelchair users or for people with limited mobility. Please note that chairs are not provided to sit on during this event. If you have particular seating or access requirements, please contact 0844 482 7777 or firstname.lastname@example.org
We can hardly believe it ourselves, but this October 31st 2015 we will mark five whole years of macabre mark making! Yes, Art Macabre Death Drawing salons are proud to celebrate that we’ve been running our events for 5 years now.
To celebrate this occasion, we’ll be:
- Throwing a Halloween birthday celebration – a joyfully macabre shindig on Halloween even itself! So keep Saturday 31 October free for dressing up, dancing, DJs and drinking fun with some of our bestest Art Macabre family, friends & fiends. KEEP THE DATE FREE! Details and venue TBA very soon…
- Creating a zine – called ‘ART MACABRE: DIY or DIE’ to acknowledge in the true DIY spirit that we started with our roots in Ladyfest Ten. It will be for sale for a bargainous price. Featuring black and white artwork and prints by School of Skull participants and some of our favourite Art Macabre artists. Including some pages designed for colouring in!
- Holding the Summer School of Skulls exhibition – our third exhibition, following on from the success of our previous exhibition earlier this year ‘The Dying Art’, we’ll be exhibiting the artwork and sketches created and inspired by the 13 participants in our Summer School of Skulls programme. Work produced on the theme of Death and Skulls – there’ll be prints, drawings, textiles and more – created and inspired by trips to Wellcome Collection, Barts Pathology Museum, Viktor Wynd’s Museum of Curiousites and Grant Zoology museum amongst other places.
- Looking back at 5 years of Art Macabre with photo archives and favourite events memories shared online, plus exciting announcements released for 2016!
WATCH THIS SPACE FOR DETAILS ON ALL OF THESE VERY SOON!
So sad that it is the final day of the Summer School. It has been such a privilege to spend this time focusing on my drawing, developing my creativity, visiting AMAZING places and hanging out with some really brilliant people. For our final day we were installed in the upstairs room of the Star by Hackney Downs pub. It was a lovely relaxed end to the week, we chatted, made artwork and had a few drinks.
Today was all about developing the drawings we had created during our week. Nikki had brought loads of amazing material including lino and ink, fabrics and thread, paints, pens and loads of skull pictures for collages. I work a lot with textiles and embroidery so was instantly drawn to the fabrics but also really wanted to do some lino printing. I adore printing and embroidery takes ages, so I decided lino was the way to go.
I looked through all of my drawings. The ones I was most pleased with came from Bart’s Pathology Museum and the Grant Museum. These were the skulls that I had a bit more time to draw. I love these drawings, but I wasn’t sure the detail and texture captured would work as well in a lino print. I decided to go for something simpler and bolder. I was still really drawn to the creepy double baby head that I drew at Viktor Wynd’s Cabinet of Wonders, so decided to revisit that.
It was really fun to have free reign to choose whatever materials we wanted to work with. Lots of people choose to work with the lino, but there were also drawings, painting and mixed media pieces being created as well. There was a fantastic creative buzz, with everyone chatting about the work they had created during the week and planning for the exhibition that we will be putting on in the autumn!
We had a bit of a break halfway through the day and were very lucky to have the brilliant Joanna Shears come and speak to us. As well as being a taxidermy artist, Joanna runs a website talking about death. She was so inspiring and spoke to us about being death positive, planning a funeral that is a celebration and meaningful (as well as how to do it without encoring huge costs). She is very passionate about eco burials and DIY funerals. She is currently making patchwork shrouds from vintage fabrics. We actually had a demo of how to shroud a body, with Nikki volunteering to be the corpse!
I found Joanna’s talk so interesting. I have been interested in funeral rituals for a long time but had only just found out about the concept of natural burials. Inspired by Joanna I have been doing a bit more research and started to plan for what I would want when I am gone. She encouraged us to write a plan so that our family were sure about what we would what. I found her death positive attitude really inspirational – I think it is really important that we are able to talk about death openly. After all, without death we would have no life. It is something we will all face and it makes no sense that it is such a taboo.
I am so sad that the Summer School week has come to and end, but there are some very exciting plans ahead. We have been talking about an exhibition, so I have taken away the prints I have done and are going to be developing them further over the next few weeks.
It really has been an amazing experience to dedicate this time to my own creative practice. It has made me realise how much I have missed drawing and how it should form an important part of my work as an artist. I have learnt to look at things better, and loved learning about some fascinating objects by really studying them closely. I am also really happy with the progress I made, from my first skull sketch at Victor Wynd’s to my deer skull at the Grant museum yesterday. It’s also been brilliant to spend time with people who don’t think you are weird for loving skulls and skeletons! I have promised myself that I must keep drawing, and am already looking forward to another Art Macabre Summer School next year.
Day four of the Summer School saw a bit of a change of plan. We had been planning on going to Highgate cemetery but given the rain we had on days two and three, we sought shelter and so headed to the Grant Museum of Zoology. In the end it turned out to be a lovely day, but Grant’s is one of my favourite places in London so I was very happy we ended up there.
The Grant museum is part of UCL and hosts a fantastic collection of zoological specimens. The most celebrated is the jar of moles (yep, a jar of moles), but they also have bones endangered and extinct animals such as Tasmanian Tiger or Thylacine, the Quagga, and the Dodo alongside a hundreds of other interesting skeletons and jars. I particularly like the skeletons of the bats and flying foxes as they look like little humans but with wings, almost like angels (or demons!)
We were very lucky as the curator of the museum was prepared to take some specimens out of the glass cases for us so we could work on more detailed drawings. We got to select and as a group chose a deer skull with fantastic twisted horns, one of those bat skeletons and a tiger skull.
I spent ages drawing the deer skull. After my confidence boost drawing the real human skulls at Bart’s Pathology Museum, I felt that I wanted to continue with a longer observational drawing, rather than doing lots of quick sketches around the museum. I also realised that I find it so much easier to draw when I am not looking at something behind glass – you really get to see all the little details and changes in texture. I did also attempt to draw the bat, but it was way to complicated and I hadn’t left myself enough time.
As well as completing our own drawings we also played the surrealist game Exquisite Corpses (where you draw part of a drawing, cover it and pass it on to be added to by someone else, at the end the full drawing is revealed). We used the animals in the Grant collection to inspire our own weird and wonderful mythical beasts! They came out looking brilliant and it was really fun to do something collaborative where you weren’t worried about the outcome.
Today was the day I felt the most confident in my drawing. I think this was from a combinations of things such as having fantastic objects to look at up close and having time to spend on my drawings, but also that I have been practicing and developing my skills for nearly a week now. I really feel like my drawing is improving over the Summer School as I am investing time in practicing the skill. Can’t believe it is nearly over!