Cre­ative Space

All aboard the art train: Bobb y Chiu and Peter Chan ex­plain why sketch­ing on the sub­way puts artists on the right track

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Sub­way sketch­ing in Toronto.

Ev­ery Sun­day at 3.30pm Cana­dian time, an eclec­tic group gath­ers in Toronto’s Union Sta­tion. Some know each other; many are strangers. To­gether, sketch­books in hand, pen­cils ready, they board the 3.45pm sub­way train. They ride back and forth, draw­ing what they see.

“The best cre­at­ing doesn’t hap­pen in a vac­uum,” says Bobby Chiu. “And a lot of the best artists will at­test that one way to im­me­di­ately be­come a bet­ter, more cre­ative artist is to sim­ply hang around other good, cre­ative artists.”

Bobby is part of the team be­hind Sub­way Sketch­ing – Toronto-based Imag­in­ism Stu­dios, which spe­cialises in char­ac­ter and con­cept de­sign.

The event be­gan life as a New Year’s res­o­lu­tion made by the artist. He wanted to im­prove his life-draw­ing skills and saw the sub­way as the per­fect place to do so. For four hours, on 2 Jan­uary 2005, he rode the train alone, draw­ing.

Kei Aced­era later joined Bobby each Sun­day – the pair found­ing Imag­in­ism that year. Af­ter plac­ing an ad­vert on, the group flour­ished and is now led by the stu­dio’s se­nior artist Peter Chan.

Sub­way fare aside, the event’s free to at­tend. Some at­ten­dees – those who’ve moved away from Toronto – have found sim­i­lar groups of their own. Peter’s sure it means they’re do­ing some­thing right.

“It’s a sup­port­ive, so­cial en­vi­ron­ment,” he says, “where pro and am­a­teur artists alike help each other, net­work and share ideas. At­ten­dees can – and will – dis­cover that what­ever frus­tra­tions they might have with their art are of­ten shared by other artists, which can be re­as­sur­ing and up­lift­ing on its own.”

For more on Sub­way Sketch­ing and Imag­in­ism Stu­dios, visit www.imag­inism­stu­

Sketchers meet at Toronto’s Union Sta­tion ev­ery Sun­day, board­ing the 3.45pm train and draw­ing what they see .


Are you a part of a reg­u­lar art class or group? Email us at mail@imag­ if you want to fea­ture here!

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