Cre­ative Space

Sound­ing the death knell for dull draw­ing groups every­where, Art Macabre was founded to make a mor­bid spec­ta­cle of still life

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We visit Art Macabre: Lon­don.

Walk­ing ca­dav­ers. Hitch­cock­ian birds in gilded cages. A who­dunit hosted by film-noir in­spired femme fatales. Art Macabre is noth­ing if not ad­ven­tur­ous.

The Lon­don-based sa­lon was founded to “in­ject a lethal dose of the­atri­cal­ity and the macabre” into art groups. Each meet has a new theme and set­ting, with cos­tumes, props and multimedia tools. And nu­dity. Lots of nu­dity.

“There’s a tra­di­tion of the nude form,” says founder Nikki Shaill, “con­trasted with skele­tons, skulls and sym­bols of mor­tal­ity. Me­mento mori art­work as­sists people in re­flect­ing on the beauty yet fragility of life. We aim to up­date this tra­di­tion, with a twist.”

Back in 2010, Nikki ran a spe­cial Hal­loween edi­tion of her more tra­di­tional art group. It proved so pop­u­lar she de­cided to pur­sue the death-draw­ing theme, and Art Macabre was born. Past events have had ti­tles such as Mid­sum­mer Night’s Scream, Kiss of Death and Hot Cross Bunny Boil­ers.

The ses­sions are open to all, with the aim of help­ing people gain con­fi­dence in mark mak­ing, de­vel­op­ing their skills and “pon­der­ing death in a dif­fer­ent way.”

Death Draw­ing has gone from strength to strength, with a string of fu­ture events lined up in and around Lon­don, but it’s with some trep­i­da­tion Nikki wel­comes a land­mark on the hori­zon. “I’ve said that I’ll take the plunge and pose nude for the very first time at Art Macabre’s 100th event. Which I may re­gret, as it is ap­proach­ing quite swiftly.”

Do you want your school or art group fea­tured here? Email mail@imag­inefx.com and we’ll do the rest!

Art Macabre meets at dif­fer­ent venues, such as Barts Pathol­ogy Mu­seum.

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