This is one of the many questions I am asked when people come to my the life drawing class for the first time, or other variants such as, ‘so have you been to art college?’, ‘what made you start a life drawing class?’ ‘can you draw though?’. Although I am never upset by these questions, that would feel ridiculous, I am conscious that these questions carry with them the connotations that only those with formal art training should have the opportunity to provide an untutored life drawing class to those interested in art. And it is this implication that I would like to discuss, because I believe this attitude, or even the perception that this attitude exists, that can prevent someone from following their interest in drawing/art just because they don’t have a background of attending art college.
I believe that art should be available for everyone to enjoy and experience, regardless of your educational background. Art should transcend boundaries, to act as a fantastic equalisation, where anyone can enjoy great works of art and the process of making it. Art should bring people together; to discuss their views, thoughts and even their desires, hopes, dreams and impressions, in open discussion. Moreover, it should allow those who gaze upon it to be transported by the artists ambitions.
When looking to the works of Picasso for instance, his famous painting Guernica was a powerful political statement in response to the Nazi bombing of the Basque town of Guernica during Spanish Civil War. Even in today’s society, art can be used by anyone to express themselves in whatever way they feel, owing to this, art posted on social media sites was used by the masses in response to the fire of Notre Dame.
Art then like classical music should not be viewed as highbrow; to be reserved for those few who have attended art school, or who have cultivated their skills in Florence. Certainly any institution that develops your knowledge and skills in art is without question significant, yet I feel it is also important to ensure that the opportunity for the enjoyment of art is available to everyone, especially those who have not attained formal art credentials. This is because I understand how an inner interest in art can take secondary position in consequence to educational or career ambitions.
Therefore I believe life drawing is one way to break down any perceived barriers, by demonstrating that snobbery around art does not exist, as it is an opportunity that is available to everyone. In other words, if you are worried about coming to a nude figure drawing class because you feel you lack formal training or credentials, please do not allow this apprehension to hold you back from enjoying the universal experience that is art.