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Muse presents: the artist, drawing and mental health

If you missed (and that was actually most of you, sadly) our most recent Muse presentation, you will have missed one of the most charismatic and inspiring master craftsman that has come our way here at Hurtwood. All is not lost however as we have a great podcast to share with you very soon, and there is much to share indeed.

Jake Spicer came in to demonstrate for us his practice as an artist; more precisely his extraordinary abilities in the field of drawing and portraiture. His workbooks abound with wonderful sketches, brief, narrative, varied, beautiful and even profound. It felt like we were looking at the work of a truly accomplished recorder of the human condition.

More remarkable still is his inspirational enthusiasm for ‘drawing’ and his belief that this is most centrally a skill that can be taught, can be learned. Finally, and fundamentally, was his capacity to – well – TEACH. He had us all excited and raring to have a go, so persuasively did he suggest that the process could be mastered through technique, through LOOKING with concentration and patience, through trading expectation and stereotype for actual observation.

And those other issues? Well in ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’, he pointed out the potential for more truthful acceptance of reality rather than unachievable ideals, and how really looking at the human frame invites a sense of the beauty of what is, rather than our socially prescribed sense of beauty. Drawing the human body is, he suggests, a fundamental way of addressing body dysmorphia issues. Makes sense to me, I find myself thinking.

Jake covered all manner of ideas and viewpoints across his interview, without ever blurring into pretentiousness, arrogance or the incomprehensible. Instead he was a definite poster boy for the rewards of quiet personal creativity. As he explains, he has been recruited into publishing, having now produced a couple of very useful-looking technique manuals, and frankly, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him fronting up material on television before long. Take a listen once we get his podcast interview loaded; it inspired us, and may inspire you.

Jake Spicer will be coming back to Hurtwood in February to do an Enigma talk. See you there!


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