All aboard the art train: Bobb y Chiu and Peter Chan explain why sketching on the subway puts artists on the right track
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 cgtalk.com, 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.imaginismstudios.com.
Sketchers meet at Toronto’s Union Station every Sunday, boarding the 3.45pm train and drawing what they see .
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