Monday, 11 August 2014

the humble doodle

Artist Pete Flowers and poet Philip Davenport are currently working with the Smartarts Blackpool group, which are a charitable trust formed from Arts for Health group members wanting to carry on being creative. We are going to make a plaque for new mental health building The Harbour.

Phil writes

The humble doodle is an underrated artistic form it seems to me. Some of the most intense, yet most free, art-making takes place in the margins of notebooks, telephone scribble pads, appointment diaries.

Today, Pete brought in his jotters, which officially were records of meetings and unofficially were chock full of doodles, fields of intricate marks and cartoonish skeletons. Pete handed round some circular paper sheets (leftovers from the art game Spirograph, remember that?) and our group got busy doodling. Every so often I'd give them a word from a prepared list, to react to as they pleased. The resulting pieces were a delicious mixup of pattern, mind-map, drawing and word game.

After the essential comfort/tea break, we tried an exercise which plays with the same sort of writing aesthetic pioneered by the American poet Robert Grenier. Bob Grenier's work is at first sight a series of multi-colour scribbles, but on closer looking, words can be discerned in the seemingly random marks. Here we rewrote one word "Beauty" many times, using elbows, teeth, mirror writing, anything but the usual method. I then invited people to fill in the negative space between the overlapping letters until, beginning from one clear word, the pieces moved into abstraction - into doodles, in fact.

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