1. This week, on March 15, Drawing Life turns three years old.
2. Minerva Durham’s Spring Studio, New York’s busy basement of figure drawing and one of the forges of my creative life, is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this month.
3. On the 12th, my brother Frank Hatt is celebrating another one of those decade birthdays.
Please indulge me as I share a few images and video clips to trumpet this triumvirate of things that matter to me. (Note to email subscribers: embedded video and audio clips don’t work on the email versions of posts, so you’ll need to click the links or visit the blog on the web to see the things I’m talking about.)
Honestly, each of these three anniversaries merits its own post. I’ll blame my jamming them together on cosmic conjunction.
Let’s start with Frank. Long-time readers of Drawing Life may recall seeing some videos I made that featured Frank: “Subway Sax“, “The Silo“, and “Glossolalia + Katharsis“, all from twenty or more years ago. Well, Frank’s still around, and still plays a sweet alto saxophone. In January of this year, we filmed some of his improvisations on an animal farm/petting zoo in the Catskills – thanks to my great friend Alex for taking us to this beautiful place.
Frank has long been fascinated with “extended vocal techniques” such as overtone singing and vocalizing on the inbreath, both of which you’ll see in the clip below, as well as toy instruments and noisemakers. Frank’s approach is playful, often frenetic, sometimes downright wacky. Here his voice blends with those of chickens, geese, ducks, turkeys, and emus.
Maybe the best moment we got where Frank really seems to be vocally interacting with the birds is this brief improvisation on sax mouthpiece, without the rest of the instrument. This one is presented as an audio-only file, as the visuals didn’t add much.
In the 1990’s I was mostly known for body painting, and Minerva thought body painting would be an effective way to demonstrate anatomy, so I shared a few pointers on materials and techniques, and Minerva took off with it. Here she is painting the muscular system on the renowned dancer, model, and choreographer Arthur Aviles, a former dancer in the Bill T. Jones company and one of the founders of the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD).
Spring Studio also hosts art exhibitions, and I had a show there in 1998. At the opening I did a couple of body art performances, including a blacklight body painting performance with Sue Doe, with whom I’d developed a nightclub act that we were then presenting regularly at the Blue Angel Cabaret. Here’s a condensed version of that performance.
This month, the walls of Spring Studio are filled with hundreds of drawings and paintings made in the studio by the many artists that pursue their practice there. I love Spring Studio’s annual anniversary exhibitions, which reveal the incredible diversity of styles and approaches that flourish in such an environment. The work of seasoned professional artists is hung cheek-by-jowl with the work of beginners, and somehow the juxtaposition makes both look better! This kind of show also highlights the talents of Spring Studio’s great models, especially when you notice multiple artists’ interpretations of the same pose.
Next Sunday, March 18, starting at 6:30, Spring Studio will host an anniversary party with performances. Here are the details:
Andrew Bolotowsky, flute, and Mary Hurlbut, voice, Leon Axel’s compositions for flute and voice, 6:30 pm
We will paint muscles on Arthur Aviles, 7:00 with a backdrop of Andrew Bolotowsky’s flute, then Aviles will dance.
Dance, 8:00 pm: Kuan, Leticia and Esteban, Jason Durivou, Linda Diamond, Raj Kapoor, Nepali folk tune with Sherry Onna, and Anna Schrage painting a canvas to music played by Godfrey Daniel. Open Mike: Elizabeth Hellman, Flo Reines, Nina Kovolenko, George Spencer, Susie Amato, Trevor Todd, Others.
I’ll note that Kuan’s dance will be based on some of the poses she’s developed for modeling at Spring Studio, and that she’s using my drawings of her as choreographic source material, so I’m excited to see that. You’ll notice too that Minerva is still painting on Arthur, and Arthur’s an incredible performer, not to be missed. So if you’re in NYC next weekend, it would be a pretty interesting time to check out the studio!
[Late addition to this post, now that Spring Studio’s 20th Anniversary Party is past – a video I shot of Kuan’s dance based on her poses from Spring Studio:]
All right, so now I’ve gone on and on and bombarded you with pictures and videos and information about Frank Hatt and Spring Studio, and this post is also serving as Drawing Life‘s anniversary post. In the first and second year anniversary posts, I highlighted the top articles, the ones that got the most page views. This time, I’d like to thank my most regular commenters. I know from the site stats that quite a few people alight upon these pages every day, but most probably don’t read much of what I write. I’m sure there are some who read these posts regularly, but don’t comment. There are also those who comment only by email or on Facebook. I appreciate all of that, but I have a special affection for those who follow Drawing Life and join in the conversation with thoughtful responses, right here on the site. Thank you, star commenters!
Jennifer, from the UK, a devoted student of figurative art
I love you all, and the less frequent commenters as well. Feedback is good, and when my writing threatens to dissolve into pompous monologue, you save it by making it a conversation!