Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Sketchbook Project Tour 2012 Hits Toronto

The Gladstone Hotel in Toronto
This week, the ArtHouse Co-op's wonderful Sketchbook Project hit Toronto. It was held in the beautiful Gladstone Hotel, a great old building at Dufferin and Queen. Since I have signed up for next year's project, I figured I'd go check it out... maybe get some inspiration. I got my book over a month ago, and haven't touched it. The paper threw me off a bit.... I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I knew that if I put paint on that paper it was just going to wrinkle up on me and look awful. So I put it away until I had some idea of what to do with it.

The "library" set-up. You choose a category at the computer and the ArtHouse person goes finds your books for you. Worked quite efficiently. At times during the afternoon the lineup was long, but I never waited more than a few minutes.
I signed up for my "library card" and started signing out books. You could choose by any number of categories... theme, presentation, profession of the artists (this project is open to anyone), location... or you could search by artist name. The first couple I got somewhat traditional "sketchbook" type of books. But then I started getting some interesting ones.

This one was drawings in the first half, but when I hit the centre I got this. How cool is that? So my next trip up I selected fold out books, and got some interesting selections. I was totally captivated by the ingenuity of some of these artists. I had planned on staying for an hour or so, and was there the entire afternoon. I finally left when I was so hungry I was thinking more about dinner than what I was looking at.

Fold out sketchbook by Sumi Perera

This one I actually needed help assembling. By the time I got it completely open
the whole table was participating. There was a QR code attached to the string... took you to a YouTube
video of an actual carrousel. Artist is Rachael Manley.


My only observation with the event was that the room was clearly too small for the crowds that showed up. I'm assuming the organizers didn't expect such a great turn-out. The couple small tables set out were always full, people were looking at the books while sitting on the floor, leaning on walls, basically anywhere they could find a spot. It was great the way everyone talked to each other and shared what they were looking at. That doesn't always happen in Toronto. If you'd like to take a look at some of the books on display, many of them are online.

So, now I guess I better think about what I'm going to fill my own book with...