Scratch Art Space: Syd­ney

Turn up and draw: founder Carmel Byrne on how artists and life mod­els con­nect to gen­er­ate cre­ative en­ergy in the Syd­ney sub­urbs

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Scratch Art Space started life in the Syd­ney sub­urbs, within spar­tan artist stu­dios set on an in­dus­trial es­tate. That was back in 2002. Founder and cre­ative di­rec­tor Carmel Byrne has since ex­panded Scratch to in­cor­po­rate an up­stairs venue, street-front gallery and a fort­nightly life-draw­ing group, Drawn To­gether.

The group is only a few months old, but the num­ber of at­ten­dees has more than tripled in that time. With the right mix of mu­sic and mod­els – and a drink or two – Carmel cre­ates a “re­laxed but fo­cused en­vi­ron­ment.” The Aus­tralian even

De­cem­ber 2014 pro­vides free ma­te­ri­als, so any­one can turn up and draw.

“Draw­ing is the most di­rect visual medium to an artist’s think­ing. That’s re­ally stim­u­lat­ing. Draw­ing is in­stan­ta­neous. When you make a draw­ing with the mind – giv­ing all your at­ten­tion to the model – it’s very au­then­tic. This mu­tual re­spect be­tween model and artists cre­ates a syn­ergy that tran­scends into cre­ative en­ergy.”

While a num­ber of pro fine artists at­tend, Drawn To­gether is also prov­ing popular with an­i­ma­tors and il­lus­tra­tors. Those work­ing dig­i­tally dur­ing the day, Carmel says, find it help­ful to spend an evening sketch­ing life mod­els in a real, three-di­men­sional en­vi­ron­ment.

Scratch Art Space is al­ways look­ing to ex­pand, adding new classes in life draw­ing, sculpt­ing and beyond: “We’re slowly bring­ing to­gether the right peo­ple, and next year plan to add more work­shops and art cour­ses that fo­cus on mind­ful­ness and how draw­ing can pro­vide the ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing en­tirely in the mo­ment, and the ben­e­fits of that ex­pe­ri­ence in relation to other as­pects of our lives, such as health and well­be­ing.”

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