With their innovative approach to life drawing Art Macabre have inspired thousands of people to pick up a pencil and explore the darker side of art. Based in Hackney, Art Macabre run events, exhibitions and workshops where the models pose in character with imaginative themes, props, costumes and musical soundtracks.
In addition to weekly workshops, Art Macabre have been working in collaboration with the UK’s top museums & galleries along with creating bespoke events. We love their theatrical approach and think they would be perfect if you’re looking for a team building session with a difference as they offer a unique opportunity to get creative and beginners are positively encouraged. We’re very excited to be in discussions with them to bring their workshops to Kent House Knightsbridge for corporate events. We spoke to producer Nikki Shaill to find out more.
Can you tell us a bit about Art Macabre?
Art Macabre Drawing Salons, also known as ‘Death Drawing’, have been running since 2009. We started out with 15 people sketching in the small back room of an East London pub. Over the past 8 years, we’ve grown to now hold events for up to hundreds of people at the UK’s top cultural venues. Thousands of people have sketched with Art Macabre across the UK. And we’re still growing and welcoming new participants to draw with us every week.
We’re based in Hackney and now run events, exhibitions and workshops across the UK and beyond. From regular weekly weekend workshops in East London basement bars, to monthly collaborations with the UK’s top museums, galleries and heritage institutions’ Late events, or special after-dark events in Victorian cemeteries, crypts or summer festival fields. Art Macabre believe that everyone can enjoy drawing, sketching, doodling or scribbling given the right inspiration and encouragement. We strive to be body-positive, feminist, welcoming and inclusive in all that we do.
How would you describe your theatrical life drawing workshops?
Life drawing injected with a lethal dose of curiosity and imagination. Our Art Macabre host and facilitator guides participants through a series of dramatic tableaux, posed by one/two or more models (dependent on the group size). Models can be nude or costumed but will always be presented in character and on theme. Themes can vary from Frida Kahlo and surrealism to Victorian ghost stories, Anatomical Venuses to Angela Carter fairytales. We can run events to themes such as Viking myths, Metropolis-inspired vintage future dystoptian sci fi visions, medieval menagerie monsters, film noir detective mysteries or vintage circus. We have so many ideas and options when it comes to themes.
Can you tell us a bit about your models?
Hundreds of people have modelled with Art Macabre, from first timer friends to professional life models. Models have included mime artist duos, roller derby athletes, circus clowns, yoga practitioners, drag queens and morris dancers. The oldest model posed with her teeth out, and props range from pig’s hearts and chocolate banquets, to leopard skulls and taxidermy chickens. Movement and dynamic poses have been explored through models suspended by Japanese rope bondage, Mexican wrestlers competing in railway tunnels and dance from the ancient practice of Butoh to ballet and voguing.
Our models have included people such as musician Gabby Young, cabaret and drag performance stars Virgin Xtravangazah, Tete Bang and Molly Beth Morossa, Lucha Libre wrestler Garry Vanderhorne, The Bearded Dame Harnaam Kaur, contortionist Tomasso Di Vincenzo, opera singing Carmen Mon Oxide, and performers Marnie Scarlet, Amy Kingsmill and Missa Blue.
We’re really excited about the idea of hosting workshops with you at Kent House Knightsbridge. What could participants expect during the workshop?
Participants will be given an introduction to the theme and concept of the workshop. They will be able to choose the papers and medium they would like to try drawing with and given advice on the most suitable for the event.
Music will be playing throughout to set the atmosphere. The host will narrate, in character, telling both a story relating to the tableaux portrayed by the model(s) plus giving drawing direction and tips. Participants will be encouraged to observe what they see in the tableaux, but also let it be a springboard for their imagination to elaborate and add to the scenes, exaggerate and alter what they see. Let their own style and interpretation into their drawings and illustrations.
Drawing warm up games and activities will be run at the start to help break the ice. Different length poses are available. Shorter, dynamic poses to capture quickly and activities to allow people to get used to the model, observation and media or longer poses to allow for people to create some end sketches they are really pleased with and enable them to really get into the flow state of concentration and bring together the drawing tips they have learnt and practiced.
At the end, we will schedule in time to share work created in a pop up gallery and look at each other’s results. Reflect on the first warm ups vs the last ones, to see progression and to look at each other’s work and see the variety of techniques within the group.
At Evolve we regularly share news about latest venues, styles and events on our blog and social media. You can visit our blog here and follow us at @evolveevents.
To get more ideas or help with your event talk to the team on 020 7610 2808 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about Art Macabre visit their website here.