So, my gorgeous Art Macabre friends, as we look back to 2013 and forward to a shiny new year ahead, let us indulge in a good old Top 10 type look at the year we’ve had here at Art Macabre. What were your favourite moments? Do tweet them to us @ArtMacabreLDN or share through our Facebook page or comments here.
Here are Raven Rouge’s favourite bits, chosen from an unprecedented busy year of macabre happenings and salons. Over the past year, we’ve held over 50 events would you believe. Thousands of people have participated in Art Macabre Death Drawing in 2013 and that’s a whole lot of sketches produced, pencil lead used, minutes models held poses and hoots of the Art Macabre owl…
We can’t wait to get going again post-Christmas break, and we’ve already got 3 very exciting January events lined up for you…take a peek here and make sure you kick 2014 off with some death drawing?
RAVEN ROUGE’S TOP 10 ART MACABRE MOMENTS OF 2013:
10) BARTS PATHOLOGY MUSEUM – our first event at Barts Pathology Museum earlier this year was quite an ambition fulfilled for me. Ever since I discovered this well-kept secret of London, having heard rumours and waited for an opportunity to view it at an event, I knew that an Art Macabre marriage with such a magically macabre yet beautiful place would be something quite special. With two of the most professional, skilled models we’ve hosted bringing some very dynamic poses and several skeletons posing alongside them, we didn’t need to bring much more to this unique setting to inspire some stunning sketches. I love this shot of Alex B, our living Anatomical Venus, posing alongside these 2 skulls, to the soundtrack of her favourite band, Smashing Pumpkins.
9) THE MECHANIC ATTACKED and I almost got unexpectedly exterminated by a menacing android at Digital Dystopia, our futuristic Big Draw special in October at Cass Art Islington. It was such a fun event that I allowed my imagination to run wild for; playing my own great grand-daughter, attaching tin foil and electric whisks galore to unsuspecting but ever collaborative models. However the narrative took an unexpected twist at the end, leading to me to be genuinely scared by my own creation as ‘The Mechanic’, our evil cyber-villain mistook my direction of ‘ATTACK! DESTROY!’ and headed towards me, complete with flashing red bike light eye and Machiavellian metallic moustache. Our model Steve Ritter (who by the way is another top discovery for 2o13- firmly becoming our favoured male model and friend to elaborate body painting) did a fantastic job of getting into this menacing role. I was petrified!
8) LUX – It was an honour to remember and celebrate our much missed, never forgotten and multi-talented friend and Art Macabre co-founder Lucinda Lux Chell in December. As the 2 year anniversary of Lux’s death approached, it seemed the right time to mark the occasion and take up the invitation from Crick Crack Club to be part of their Festival of Fairytales for Grown Ups again at the Bargehouse. Holding an exhibition of some of her anatomical artwork, including embroidery, prints and drawings, where I saw our luminescent fire bird Lux for the last time, was very emotional and difficult. But worth it. Oh so worth it.
The work shone brightly and inspired those who had never been lucky enough to meet our friend, whilst those of us who knew and loved her (of which there were many) were happy to agree that it was a space and festival that Lux would have loved. We only wished that she could have been there with us to see how much everyone admired her creations. We raised £400 in total for Young Minds- a charity that supports children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Screen prints are still available to purchase. The support of everyone was quite overwhelming.
7) WILD IN THE WOODS- A secret salon as we go into the woods…This Summer brought many special moments as we went on tour to festivals, however my favourite memory has to be our secret outdoor salon at Standon Calling. Salon London allowed us to venture outdoors, and they were right in imagining that the woodland clearing would be a magical setting for Art Macabre’s Circus of Skeletons. Wind rustled through the trees, it was peaceful and silent apart from our glockenspiel and the sound of pencils on paper, and our models looked like nymphs and unicorns within the forest. Creating the characters of our band of circus freaks was a lot of fun and by the end of the festival, we felt like a proper circus troupe and I only wished that we could continue on tour in the van for the whole summer…seeing Vivian our stylish Strongman and Fevvers our glamourous Cockney trapeze artist marry for real a few months later only made it all the more special!
6) GOTHIC ROMANCE & neo-Victorian visions in the Vaults…The Gothic Ball as part of the Victoriana exhibition at Guildhall Art Gallery was a perfect partnership for us. Seeing hundreds of people so excited to draw, on both the floor and their own sketchpads, whilst sipping gin cocktails and dressed up to the nines in the most fantastical period costume was really quite a sight! I didn’t imagine we’d have the opportunity to have models pose nude and costumed in the vaults of such a historic building, let alone wearing a gas mark, latex corset and bat nipple tassles! Ava and Cynth Icorn captivated the audiences and looked a Gothic fantastical dream/nightmare, along with a surprise model The Mighty Moustache who we hope to coax back to model for us in 2014…watch this space.
5) SHE’S ALIVE! MOVING MANNEQUINS. This one is very simple. I loved witnessing the moment that unsuspecting onlookers jumped out of their skins as they noticed Ava Iscariot, our ‘mannequin’, first move and realised that she wasn’t one of the models in our abandoned shop front scene. Ava made for a very convincing mannequin at our installation for The Lost Lectures at Old Selfridges Hotel. All those many salons she’s modelled at for us (11 in total) have obviously paid off. She’s ever so good at staying still and getting in to character, this one…
4) DEATH OF A SUPERHERO, BRINGING TO LIFE A 4 YEAR OLD BOY’S DREAM…It was lovely to read Jon Attfield’s heartfelt note about how our Death of a Superhero special, that he had a lot of input into creating and leading, had brought to reality a dream that he’d had when he was a little boy with a big love of comics and superheroes. Our very own Clark Kent, aka model Lou, bravely donned Lycra and helped bring to life the painting of Jon. Seeing imagination come to life and remembering how we can all keep playing dress up, wearing costumes, sketching fantasy scenes and playing make believe is what Art Macabre is all about. Look out for more super hero themed salons in 2014…
3) MY HOUSEMATE GETS COVERED IN CHOCOLATE SAUCE. BY TWO BUNNY GIRLS. It’s not every day you get to enjoy seeing two latex clad, stockinged ladies pouring chocolate sauce from a ladder onto your house mate’s bare chest. Whilst he’s tied up to a chair. Wearing a plastic sheep mask. And a dressing gown. And a furry nappy. Well, I don’t anyway. For me, it was a funny novelty- an Easter treat. For some of you reading this, I know it’s probably quite a regular, tame occurrence. You naughty perverts,you…
2) SEEING PEOPLE MODELLING FOR THE FIRST TIME, including my partner in crime Linz. I remember when Linz first appeared on stage (fully costumed as Luna Moonrise) at our Dead Space event in January this year. I left her to fill time for 5 mins whilst I changed the music and she got stage fright and disappeared behind the screen. “Don’t ever do that to me again!” she hissed, slightly pissed off, as I returned to find an empty stage. She preferred to stay behind the scenes, making puppets and props, thank you very much. 8 months later, and she posed costumed again, this time as a fierce leopard and a clown on several occasions. Her stage presence was growing. Now, 12 months later, and Linz has posed nude three times for Art Macabre. And she loves it. She’s got a taste for it. Yes, the first time she did it at Salon No 6 she was petrified. But she did it, to her credit. And then each time after that she enjoyed even more as it felt more natural.
It’s a special moment when people pose for the first time. When they undress and dare to bare all for others to draw, and you see them go from nervous and unsure to relaxing in to the pose, then taking on the character and growing in confidence, to the point that they forget they’re nude at the end whilst chatting to people at the end and asking when they can do it again. People seem to get hooked on the adrenalin rush, meditative feeling and accomplishment of posing at the salons, plus they love seeing the diverse range of ways in which they’re captured and interpreted by the artists on the page. I really respect each and every person who has posed for the first time with us this year and love hearing how they’ve enjoyed it/ticked it off their bucket lists. To name but a few: Linz, Sam, James, Clare, Carrie, Lily, Ruth, Lou and Lorraine. Perhaps 2014 will be the year I get the courage to join them?
and my number 1 moment of 2o13…
1) GETTING GORY AT DRAW BLOOD. My number one moment of the year was when I was posing as a blood-thirsty nurse, Matron Raven Rouge.
It was our Halloween/Anniversary special and not only was my best friend Lorraine of Terror posing as a patient so I could torture her, but I got to do one of my favourite things and play with lots of fake blood and real gore and guts. A trip to the Hackney butchers meant I had lovely fresh, skinned sheep’s head, complete with eyeball intact. For our penultimate scene, I relished taking my time slicing up lamb’s hearts and holding them up to my face pretending to eat them, then holding up the sheep’s head high. As sheep’s head blood trickled down my arm as I held the pose, running down towards my armpit, I could hear the audience gasp and groan in disgust. Mission accomplished.
Here’s to more macabre moments and gore galore in 2014!