Daily Archives: September 22, 2011

Artists Full Employment Act of 1650

sketch of kitchen with monster

"Godzilla Chooses His Weapon", by Kerry McFall

 Silver tea service, hot pepper plant, wooden spoons, Godzilla – just your basic British kitchen setup on the kitchen counter.  Of course, I’ve only ever actually been in one British kitchen, but this was what I saw… this afternoon I’ll be in my second British kitchen, we’ll see how they compare!

On Monday of this week I stumbled into a couple of free sketching classes that were part of a design symposium happening at the Victoria and Albert.  The first one, led by a young artist/animator who has her Master of Fine Arts degree from St. Martin’s, focused on the ceramics collection.  This was particulalry good for me, because it gave me a completely different “take” on the same collection I had sketched in on the Friday before.  She asked us to find two very different pieces, sketch them, then pretend that they had “mated”, and to draw what would be the resulting offspring.  I chose a carved chess piece showing a knight on horseback, and a blue cream jug:

sketch of pot design with knight

Coffe Pot Design by Kerry McFall

I’m not sure how appealing it would be to pour coffee out of a knight’s nostril, but, oh well.  It was fun, especially seeing what other students came up with.The second class was led by another animator from the same school, a young man whose current job is drawing ScoobyDoo for a new version of the cartoon series.  He led us to the sculpture gallery, and essentially had us do life drawing from really old naked marble statues, then imagine how they would look if different characters took that same pose.  Very satisfying, and another reinforcement of what I learned last week in the life drawing class I took. 

"Victoria & Albert Tea Room

While I was sketching, Griff prowled around in the Natural History and Science museums across the way.  Afterwards, he and I retired to the elegance of the Victoria and Albert on-site tea room, where he worked on his book and I attempted a couple of quick cartoonish sketches, and one architectural exercise in sorting out the bric-a-brac to find the underlying structures.  When you really LOOK at some of these rooms, where there are paintings on the carvings on the carvings (not a typo!) of the tiles that decorate the tiles, it’s quite amazing.  My theory is that the churches and royal families used to actually employ artists (what a concept!) and pay them by the hour, so what we are seeing is the result of the Artists Full Employment Act of 1650… “Victoria and Albert Tea Room”