Anish Doodle Dandy.

First posted Nov 16 2009

A couple of weeks ago I braved the mean streets of Walthamstow in order to visit the hugely impressive Delta Group printworks, where some recent work that I’d completed for FunToSee was rolling off the presses in the form of large vinyl stickers. It was all very high-tech and the proof copies looked great.

I don’t get up to London anywhere near as often as I’d like to these days, so I kept the Delta visit brief and managed to cram in a couple of exhibitions while I was in town. First off was the Anish Kapoor show at the Royal Academy. Like almost everyone else who saw the work he exhibited across Brighton during this year’s Festival, I’d become a fan. The RA show has already been reviewed to within an inch of its life elsewhere and there’s nothing much I can add other than to say: believe the hype and make sure you catch this superb exhibition before it ends on 11th December.

Now, this is where I rescue an apparently aimless anecdote and inelegantly steer it back to my sketching theme (I hadn’t forgotten). For along with ubiquitous modern-day gallery irritants such as digital audio-guides and shuffling packs of slack-jawed philistines ignoring the ‘No Photography’ signs, an altogether more acceptable art museum cliché is the cluster of young students, usually female, often attractive and slightly bohemian-looking (or is that just my impression?), hunched over their sketchbooks, earnestly making drawings of a choice exhibit.

It’s something I’ve not personally indulged in since my own Art College days but for whatever reason, the old impulse rose up unbidden here and before I could stop myself I was sheepishly getting out my own small sketchbook and discreetly dashing off this drawing of a rather wonderful sculpture called ‘Slug’.

The other exhibition I took in on the same day was ‘Pop Life – Art in a material world’ at Tate Modern. Jeff Koons had a room to himself, entered via a door that alerted sensitive visitors to the ‘graphic nature’ of the material within and which was dedicated to the notorious pieces he made with then-wife Ilona Staller. It was eye-opening but no place to linger with a sketch-book.

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