Thursday, 26 November 2015

Desk-Drawer Portrait: Latest Idea for my Residency

When it comes to my residency at the Morgan Centre, I have licence to pretty much draw whatever I want. I have a security pass to all the university buildings and have already drawn in lectures, tutorials, meetings, leaving dos, student areas... I am keen though to get a breadth of approach and want the sketchbooks to contain as much visual variety as possible. So, we hatched the idea of the desk-drawer portrait.

Professor Sue Heath is the person who got the ball rolling with the Leverhulme Trust grant and is very supportive of my work, so she volunteered to be my first desk-drawer victim. She promised not to interfere with what was in there: she took the whole top drawer out of her desk and handed it to me. It was a jumble of all sorts.

I sat quietly and sorted the contents into little piles, then methodically drew everything. It turned out to be much more amusing than I expected, because 90% of the contents were either completely unused, had not been looked at in eons, or were so well past their sell-by date, they belonged in the bin (totally dry Tippex with a brush-end like an exploding firework, glue-stick dried to a skinny, petrified finger...)

It took up half of one of my concertina books. I put down a painted background first, to tie it all together, so it wouldn't look 'bitty'. I also used text to add my own personal commentary. I left absolutely nothing out. I counted all the perished rubber bands and even drew the bent staples I fished out of the back corners: 

It took me 3 sessions to sketch it all, but I eventually got it done. It was rather revealing that, in the entire week I had her drawer contents held captive, Sue missed only I item: her stapler. But like many other objects in her drawer, it came with a sibling, so she took one and left me the other to sketch:

I had great fun and thoroughly enjoyed adding my ironic labels alongside each item. Luckily Sue has a good sense of humour, so I wasn't run out of town!

Okay, own up, who is already peering sheepishly into their own desk drawer and wondering..?


I need orange said...

This is a great idea, and I love the execution. :-)

I took a Massive Online Open Class on archaeology -- Archaeology's Dirty Little Secrets. We had fun and interesting assignments. One was to go through our backpacks, and sort in different ways. Perhaps by color, by material, by function.... One of the points was to note which ways of sorting might actually have meaning. I was surprised to note how many of my things were about travel. (Give-away pens from hotels, ticket stubs, subway passes for exotic places.) A fun exercise.

My only question about the drawer is -- did all the junk go back, or did the expired items land in the bin where they belonged? :-) :-) :-)

Lynne the Pencil said...

I love the idea of it being an archaeological investigation and analysis. Backpacks is a good idea and I had already been wondering about getting individual Morgan Centre professors to sketch the contents of their own work bags as a homework task after one of my workshop sessions, so there's a lot of similarity there. 'Dirty Little Secrets' - great name!

In answer to your question. I don;t know for certain, but I think the drawer just went back into the desk, as was! :-D said...

Thanks for the master class! It's really amazing how easy we may create something special and unique. Where do you take inspiration? I usually read something and it inspires me to do, just like your posts. Who's your favorite writer, I wonder?
Thanks again!

Deborah said...

This is so funny, and so delightful. It makes me think quite differently about the drawer full of horribly 'dormant' items that is right next to me at my computer desk as I write. Not so horrible at all if looked at in this light! I just know that I'm going to find petrified rubber bands, and may even find a sibling for the stapler lurking somewhere at the back which would be useful. It's a constant revelation to me how sketching everyday things can transform the banal (and even sometimes dreaded) objects into sources of fun and even beauty! thanks for a wonderful post and a great idea.

Lynne the Pencil said...

Glad you enjoyed it Deborah - get digging! :-D