Drawing Naked People in Oakland
(Drawing courtesy of Dennis)
It was a cold, bitter, rain drenched night. Torrents of water flowing down the street; storm drains over flowing everywhere. A single warm fuzzy thought is driving me to brave the ugly weather. I approach a nondescript looking building in east Oakland on International Blvd and 5th street and I muse to myself, “What an unassuming place to go to draw some boobs.”
The place: Tea Oasis. The Vibe: a bit hippie dippy, but still a pretty solid concept that often has interesting shit going on.
If you choose to venture to Tea Oasis please note at night you need to use the locked and coded side gate. Unless you already knew that, you’ll be standing outside for a while. Its ok though, it builds character and gives you a story for later.
Reconcile within yourself that you will need to be shoe-less and phone-less to enter. Expected to be unrestricted in mind and free with your emotions. You are encouraged to unlock, unwind, and experience the moment. Worst yet? No booze allowed to help this transition to mindful new age whatever-ness.
I have come to terms with all this and have braced my two brave companions for the night’s adventure. For tonight was a special night at Tea Oasis. Figure drawing night, translation, drawing stranger’s bits while drinking tea!
The event was a very reasonable $8, this included bottomless hot tea and a drawing spot on the carpeted and pillowed floor to be creative in. There was a healthy mix of novice artists and practiced art-TISTS in the group of damp patrons that evening. Some just had a couple pencils, others had charcoal, water colors, colored pencils, etc. etc.
It was explained to all that this was their first nude drawing event and they were going to be experimenting with a few different ideas and poses. There were three models that night; two women and one man.
The models rotated out, none of them staying still for more than 20 min and some as short as 3 minutes before changing positions.
I want to give a shout out to whoever was in charge of music that night, it was on point with setting the perfect mood.
I am in no way good at drawing, but there was no judgment in that space and I (any my friends) left there with a few sketches I wouldn’t mind showing off and some thoughts and observations I’ll share now:
Men seem to be much more free and comfortable bending over and showing it all to a room of people. All. Of. It.
(Drawing courtesy of Mark and Dennis.)
I find balls troublesome to draw and look at for long periods of time.
Boobs still continue to be some of the most beautiful things around and fun to draw.
Drawing faces, hands, and feet is overrated and totally unnecessary.
I’m good at drawing backs, but not butts.
(Mine! feast your eyes on the novice awesome-ness of no faces or hands or feet!)
Getting to draw naked people is a very popular draw for people. (See what I did there?)
I have wonderfully creative friends.
(Drawings courtesy of Mark.)
The blueprint-Tea Oasis is part Chinese tea room and part work share space. Creative idea hive.