6 REASONS TO DRINK AND DRAW by Joseph Tinman Tinaglia
Even if you’re a light weight there are a plethora of perks to attending a Drink and Draw. These are just a sampling of the benefits of breaking out the Bics whilst imbibing a beverage.
1: Get Schooled
Its not just anywhere you can bust out the sketchbook and have people paying your compliments and crits that aren’t simple ass pats and casual requests for portraits. Although you’ll get those too. DnD is the extra-curricular hub of the art scene, the too cool for school club. This is where you cultivate and refine your palette. And I ain’t speaking in regards to just taste in craft beers but opening up your world to all sorts of new flavors of influences, styles, experiences and people. Your contemporaries might suggest a new idol to follow that’s too obscure at last call and too instrumental to your growth the morning after. Or maybe you’ve never toyed with those expensive Copics but your table-mate welcomes you to fiddle to your hearts content. Time is the school in which we learn, time is the fire in which we burn so until “Closing Time” plays, you best make like a sponge and absorb alla dat juicy knowledge.
The higher level of skill you achieve the harder it is to distinguish what minute flaws need work and what incremental ways you can improve your craft. Fortunately, a DnD is the one place outside of class where you can get that eye for detail that demands you up your game. When drink are involved folks tend to speak their minds, so you can expect a straightforward crit without any sugar coating which is the most valuable kind. Plus, another artist might offer a different approach, encourage new medium experimentation and ultimately bring a new perspective to your work. All you’re looking for is that one sentence of wisdom. The word that changes your whole life, saving you years of pointless struggling in vain. Now, aren’t you glad you turnt up?
2: Stop, Collaborate and Listen
Always two, there are- apprentice and master. Andy Warhol and Jean-Michelle Basquiat walked different paths but their mutual alignment reinvigorated an autumn career and launched a star for a new age. Mentorship and apprenticeship are some of the most meaningful and rare relationships of the independent, DIY age but they are essential to the best of art ages and perhaps hold more relevance than ever. You can learn from each other, styles rub off in time. Take the best bits of each other’s art and personalities and file off each other’s weaknesses. There is too much ground to cover in getting up to go it alone. Establishing a collective, a crew or a team to work on large projects can cover more ground faster. Here, you can cross promote, encourage each other and ultimately elevate the status and notoriety of a studio group far more easily than when going it alone. Discover and share projects, shows, open anthologies, staple up zines- the more you work together the larger your audience becomes. Good studios tend to have one break out star that then brings the whole crew with them. Drink and draw provides the skilled bodies and the social lubricants to open up the doors for collaboration. Beer is proof God wants us to be happy and that allows for the teamwork and willingness to brainstorm wild new outside- the-box ideas, together.
3: Network It Girl
Where else are you going to hear about all the exclusive little niche underground art shows, con booth openings and job hookups? Probably more likely here where loose lips drink sips and spit grips. Of info. Opportunity tends to go hand in hand with being at the right place at the right time thus Drink and Draws are ground zero for networking. Think of it as a mashup of a placement agency, recruiting firm, and job fair all rolled into. Here, your bizarre niche style piece could be recommended for a secret themed art show, while you find the colorist and letterer for your comic book sitting just down the bar and also find a patron for your kickstarter. Letting people know, in the flesh what you’re up to and offering a lead or helping hand is a way to fast friends and expanding your circle of possibility. The more spheres of influence you are known in, the more likely your particular skills will find their place in the world.
Helping each other get up is not only the right thing to do, its good karma that will pay out dividends in the long run. Word of mouth is the best kind of advertising and its free so don’t be afraid to sell yourself a little bit, lord knows the art game is hard enough without a world market of competition online. Our local scene is eclectic and varied enough that there shouldn’t be instances of stepping on toes, rather we ought to aspire to lend a leg up. Buy an artist a beer and maybe they’ll let you photograph their friend’s wedding- or paint a family portrait for their boss. How’s that for a good percentage return on an investment?
4: Competitive Edge
Iron sharpens Iron. Nothing will make you push yourself like being surrounded by peers getting their flow on. After art school, many young artists find themselves unsure of what next step to take. Online communities might offer a vague, if intangible atmosphere of camaraderie and communication but they can’t match the experience of leaning over the shoulders of true titans of industry and heroes of the scene. Seeing masters at work in the flesh is a true sight to behold. Watching that penmanship glide, that ink spatter, that photoshop chop- that’s where you assimilate the technique. YouTube tutorials can’t touch getting a hands on breakdown on how legends do what they do. Get jelly if you want, but you butter learn to level up your sandwich game and this is the place to do it. Realize you have a mountain to climb, and maybe they’ll push you to take that first step grasshoppa.
Admirable characters are fine friends, but a good rival is even better. Egos thrive among artists, use the rage for constructive ends. Not every personality is going to gel either. There’s a fine line between a friendly rivalry that makes both parties better at their individual game and cutting each other’s ears off. Just ask Vince VanGogh and Paul Gauguin. Pushing each other allows you to transcend your self-imposed boundaries in ways you never thought possible. Fall asleep last 24 Hour Comic Day? Weaksauce. Try it again with your evil doppleganger staring you down and furiously tearing through pages just across from you- you just one-upped that sucka fool and created a new holiday: 24 Hour Graphic Novel Day. Whether it be experimental new mediums, longevity at the desk or paydays on the wall sales- a little friendly competition can push you do perform your best work. Just keep it friendly. Besides, in the end the race is always against yourself anyway.
5: Playdates for Indoor Kids
Art is a single player game. Mastery requires tens if not hundreds of thousands of hours of time spent devoted to your craft. Most of this requires isolation for the sheer sake of focus and to avoid distraction. A social life becomes a luxury for the truly productive or industrious artist, thus its often hard to rationalize gatherings even assuming you haven’t cultivated an entirely introverted personality that tends to be synonymous with artists from birth anyway. Drink and draws are thee perfect excuse to kill two birds with one stone. Deadlines be damned, you can justify a bit of a chat sans eye contact whilst you work for the sake of also bettering your craft and possibly making a friend in the process. If you lack social skills, this is one of those few places people will understand why and most likely appreciate your making an appearance and supporting the scene anyway.
Its entirely feasible, that your instagram secret admirer may already be stalking you among the dimly lit tables just waiting to proclaim their undying love for you. I wouldn’t count on it, but it could happen. This might even be the place where you light that fire with a mere glimpse at your sketchbook by someone your innermost soul spread upon paper leaks out into reality, unbeknownst to you. Art is intimate; if you want to truly know someone, have a gander at his or her sketchbook. That will tell you more than words, if a picture is really only worth a thousand of them. I’m pretty sure Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera hooked up at a drink and draw and look what a fortuitous and prolific play date that amounted to.
6: Sympathy for the Devil
Who can comprehend the madness of an artist better than another artist? Its said that artists are dangerous type- they get along in all levels of society. This is likely due to our uncanny penchant to value ourselves outside the usual hedonistic terms and rather draw self-worth from our creative potency. Most could never comprehend the mind that remains at the easel for 18 hours straight, unmoving as a statue for the sake of capturing some scarcely noticeable detail. Not everyone has the intestinal fortitude to acclimate to the palette of a quite literally starving artist. We’ve worked the endless hours, lost all track of time and thrived without schedules, even lived months without seeing the sun much less another person. We all know if the pencil isn’t moving- we’re not getting paid. It’s not a lifestyle for the faint of heart. But other artists get it.
Depression with the progression, fits of passion and doubt, the delicate balancing act of massive egos alongside fragile self-esteems, its all part of the beautiful/terrible picture. Drink and draw is the place to swap war stories, while keeping one foot safely in the trenches. Think of it as group therapy. This is thee one place, people can relate, you can let it all hang out and no ones going to judge you for letting your weeaboo influences shine through or being able to recite the artists of every issue of X-Men numerically. We are kindred spirits, who among us can judge? Note: You will be judged on what drinks you order, how many you drink and how bad your geometric paper cut tessellations turn out after your fifth tequila sunrise, chief so mind yourself and keep a steady pen. We’re all watching.
- Joseph Tinman Tinaglia 4-17-15