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Derek Boshier: Life drawing masterclass

Tate invited well-known artists to teach a life drawing masterclass

Warning: Contains nudity

Most readily known for his Pop art, painter Derek Boshier has worked in many media, and continues practice as primarily a narrative figurative painter. Now living in Los Angeles, Boshier experienced the rigour of training on the National Diploma in Design, and then as a graduate student at RCA. Boshier has exhibited his work – as well as taught extensively in art schools, all over the world.

transcription

I’m not sure that the students I’m going to do this project with this afternoon are going to like the project but that’s okay. I'm quite interested in taking the students through the boredom threshold. I think it’s quite interesting to be bored, then you get out of it.

Because I actually don’t like teaching the naked figure, you see what I’m trying to do in this project is to avoid this, which is traditional life drawing. You never see people pose like this. I hope I might sort of get the students this afternoon, my expectations would be to get them excited, you know. I always like the German poet and philosopher Goethe who said “the greatest state which a person can achieve is astonishment”.

Has anyone got an idea just looking at their photographs how you might fit a model in there. These first poses are all preparatory drawings; you must get them as accurate as you can. So you’re going to have what you’ve drawn already so far. Which is two nude models, and then you’re going to take one of those nude models and repeat it, the same pose in the picture, and then you’re going to take the model that you didn’t use the second time and I want you to clothe them, okay. So why don’t you get started because this is the main part of the project. Don’t forget to work to the edge; I always think you should work to the edge right at the beginning of a work. Not do the image, then fill the edge in. What makes good icons? What is it? Go over the top if you like. You’re drawing towards making an interesting work of art. Remember that great quote by Paul Clay when he talked about drawing, he talked about taking the Lion for a walk, well I think you’ve got the Lion, I think you ought to take your mind for a walk now, that’s what I’m asking you to do.

Don’t be afraid to destroy things. Add anything, take anything out. Picture making is not putting everything in; it’s sometimes the ability to leave things out. And if by abandoning the original idea and you get a better one do that because that’s much more important. So don’t forget that when you’re doing this take some risks with these drawings, take some risks.

Let’s see where we got the unfinished people, the dull drawings, the interesting ones. The people whose drawings are better, when they were doing life drawings than they are when they get to compose a picture.

What I like about this one in terms of the project is, it’s got a starting point and its being taken on and it begins to look inclusive and begins to have a characterisation. But it has a strangeness that is beyond depiction. So thanks very much.

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