Of all the art in Shoreditch, here’s some you should definitely see. It’s an exhibition of raw talent, and the work is done using the very basic method of drawing.
I say ‘raw talent’, but this exhibition shows what happens when talent is nurtured and directed. The four hundred drawings here were produced by children and teenagers in The Prince’s Drawing Clubs, a network of free after-school classes in London and Glasgow for 10-18 year olds who show a passion or aptitude for drawing. So this is the first work you’ll see by some of Britain’s best young artists.
Much of the work here is impressive full stop. You find yourself thinking “that’s really good”, rather than “that’s really good for an eleven year old”.
I think the background to this cat may be a heavily-used litter tray. Genius.
The exhibition is in The Prince’s Drawing School, a four-storey Victorian warehouse near the upmarket intersection of Charlotte Road and Rivington Street. It’s all brick and cream walls, light and airy.
To maximise the hanging space on the ground floor, they’ve split things up with a maze of gallery walls. There’s lots to look at here, in any order you fancy.
You can tell some of the briefs that have been set. Self portraits (often cleverly framed in pairs by the curators). A horse. A meal. People dancing. Subjects as simple as drawing itself.
Each piece is labelled with the artist’s name, age, and which drawing club they belong to.
There’s a long box of sketchbooks (sadly behind glass – I wanted to flick through).
The drawing school is one of Prince Charles‘ not-for-profit organisations. He gets a lot of flack, but Prince Charles is doing something right here. My generation had Tony Hart as our drawing inspiration, and artistic ambition meant sending your best pics off to his Gallery in hope of TV fame. I’m not sure what the kids watch nowadays for art kicks (Art Attack with the ace Neil Buchanon ended in 2007), so it’s great that The Prince’s Drawing Club is continuing Tony Hart’s wholesome, studious approach to this art.
The exhibition makes you excited for the next generation. I particularly like the Drawing Club’s explanation that “drawing skills open doors to careers in the arts, design, architecture, and science”. Yes, science. Drawing makes you think about physics, biology, chemistry and maths, and can lead you down unexpected roads. All the drawings in this show are for sale, and the money goes directly to the artist, allowing these children and teenagers to see a real possibility of making a career from art.
The Drawing School also offers really affordable drawing classes for adults. Someone in my own class there mentioned how hard it is as an adult to draw freely, as children do. So if you’re inspired to take a class, or if you already draw, approach it with something of the free spirit you see here.
And if you know a child with passion and aptitude for drawing, get them involved.
The exhibition is free and runs until Wednesday 5th June 2013.
Find The Prince’s Drawing Clubs exhibition on Facebook.
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- Art Listings October 26 – November 1
- Free For Wall! part 2 at The Brick Lane Gallery
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- Andy Hill: If I Couldn’t Draw