Jono Doiron, a Halifax-based artist, captures a nude model. Photo: Delia Macpherson

Nude drawing becomes ‘community event’

Cheap beer and live nude models bring a NY idea to Halifax.

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What better way to spend an evening than drawing live nude models and drinking cheap beer?

The Khyber is packed this Jan. 25 evening with more than 40 people drawing models for a community event called "Drawing Nudes with Local Dudes."

A large room on the second floor of the Khyber is large and white, with high ceilings and bright lights, making the venue an ideal location for the event. A handmade sign that reads "Beer $3" sits on top of a bar in a smaller room attached. "Set you Free" by The Black Keys plays from a MacBook computer as a nude model switches positions every 30 seconds or so in the middle of the room.

Although the room is packed, everyone is quiet and focused while the drawing is in progress. The environment is remarkably casual. People are drinking beer and eating pizza.

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More than 40 people were at "Draw Nudes with Local Dudes." Photo: Delia Macpherson

A few NSCAD students are present but for the most part it is a wide range of students and non-students from around the city.

One of the nude models named Leah (who feels more comfortable not revealing her last name) has modeled nude about three times before. She's a third-year music student at the University of King's College. She says the experience of modeling completely nude in front of over forty people is empowering and relaxing.

"The most nerve-wracking thing for me is I'm scared my poses aren't good enough," she says.

According to Leah people at the events don't scrutinize rolls of fat or imperfections. Instead, they intently draw you, admiring the human form.

"You just get to hang out nude," she says. "I'd be doing it at home anyway but I get to do it here."

Charlotte Wilson, a first-timer at the event, sits on a break waiting for the next model to come out.

"I don't do a lot of drawing at all," says Wilson. "I came because I heard about it through friends. This is a first time doing live drawing."

Wilson sits only four feet away from the live nude models

"It was closer than I expected," she ways in a humorous tone.

Getting things started

Lee Dekel and Rachael Cadman, both students at the University of King's College, have organized a community event for just that purpose. They've called it "Drawing Nudes with Local Dudes," a moniker that does well to reflect the atmosphere of the event.

Dekel got the idea after doing an internship in New York where she attended a weekly event called "Drink and Draw." She had never drawn before attending a "Drink and Draw," but because of the casual atmosphere she found herself doing it. Her and Cadman worked together to provide Halifax with the unique experience and opportunity.

"It's a life drawing class. I find life drawing something therapeutic and fun but it has a stigma behind it. We wanted to bring an activity to the general public and turn it into a community event."

Dekel hopes "Drawing Nudes with Local Dudes" will become a bi-weekly event. It will be taking place at The Khyber Club, with a $5 admission and a bring-your-own-art-supplies policy.

The venue has been supportive of the event so far, allowing them to use the space essentially for free. The event took place a few weeks before and had a good turn out as well with a variety of Halifax locals.

"It was a really surprising thing," says Dekel. "The people coming out were nervous about drawing. There were people who hadn't heard about the Khyber and wanted a shot at drawing. They were shy."

You can expect another show in the next few weeks, the details are still being worked out.

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