There is no conversation more boring
than the one where everybody agrees.
MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE
Niki de Saint Phalle’s sculpture FIREBIRD sits in front of the BECHTLER MUSEUM OF MODERN ART. It is an excellent landmark. If you need to meet someone Uptown, convening under the FIREBIRD is a good way to get started on your journey. It is impossible to miss this visual event in the urban landscape. Light is bounced off the many mirrors embedded in the mosaic like laser beams.
The FIREBIRD engages in a kind of street conversation that may move beyond the question of whether one likes or dislikes the piece. Through drawing and observing people I began to see it differently.
In the morning, a photographer uses the sculpture in a series of staged shots using two models. The shadow of morning is still present. I sit on the ground to get a different perspective and draw from a dog’s eye view. Drawing can sometimes change your opinion about things. It is slow and silent and relies on parts of the brain that transcend logic.
Later in the day, I take a seat in the lobby and begin to capture the FIREBIRD as the sun hits the surface. People come and go as I draw. Children touch the mirrors and examine themselves. Mothers deliver the speedy and time-honored “snappy-slap-smack” when fingers try to pry off part of the mosaic as a prize.
Everyone likes to stand in the arch of the FIREBIRD’s legs: tourists, natives, children, teenagers, and adults. Men often do not just stand balanced in the curve, but touch both sides of its legs as if bracing for the shot. I watched with interest: this is a ‘guy’ thing.
Two young people walk the gallery with a helpful man who explains the finer points of the exhibit. It is a sparking conversation seen from a distance: mutual interaction and long moments spent looking at each piece.
The FEMME SAUTERELLE statue sits on an open-air balcony overlooking TRYON STREET. As I draw her, it begins to appear as if she is trying to get back into the gallery, hands posed and ready to spring forward. By the time the sketch is complete I feel I know her through some magic of identification.
URBAN SKETCHING CHANGES YOUR POINT OF VIEW.
Tags: " CHARLOTTE NC SKETCHCRAWL 2013", " Charlotte NC", BECHTLER MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, CARAN D'ACHE SUPRACOLOR PENCILS, drawing, illustration, ink, sketchbook, sketching, Stillman and Birn EPSILON JOURNAL, Stillman and Birn journal, urban sketching, visual journal