Arts & Culture » Arts

Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School blends cabaret, life drawing



Started in Brooklyn by artist and burlesque model Molly Crabapple in 2005, Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School is what happens when cabaret and life drawing collide. In four short years, Dr. Sketchy's now has more than 100 branches around the world, including Oklahoma City.


The local chapter was founded in January by Marilyn Artus, a local commercial artist and co-founder of the The Girlie Show, the two-day, all-female art show that celebrated its sixth annual event last week. After reading about Dr. Sketchy's in Bust magazine, Artus contacted Crabapple about starting the local branch.

"I wanted to bring Dr. Sketchy's to Oklahoma City for artists that are out of school, yet wanted to have the experience of creating with others again," Artus said. "I also wanted to provide a setting for people that have always wanted to take a life drawing class, but found the traditional class intimidating. And truthfully, it just sounded like too much fun to pass up."

She said the only consistent challenge in getting the chapter up and running has been explaining to interested participants what exactly Dr. Sketchy's is. A typical class starts with a performance from that night's model, typically a song, a burlesque routine, belly dancing or fire-breathing.

"Our models have many elaborate costume changes, but they usually strip down to minimal covering to show the body for good sketching," she said.

Artus works with the models to avoid the boring, sterile environments of traditional art classes, and through the use of elaborate props and poses, hopes to make life drawing sexy and fun.

The anti-art class is traditional in some regards, however, starting with quick, one-minute gesture drawings progressing to three, 20-minute poses that close out the session.

"We take breaks for mingling and visits to the bar, and along with our amazing models, we have great music, a cash bar, and a smart-aleck emcee," Artus said.

Participants must be 21 to enter, need to bring their own art supplies and are encouraged to work in all media. Artus said that the contests are one of her favorite parts during the evening, which may include drawing on Post-It Notes or toilet paper, working as a group on huge sheets of butcher paper, and sketching while also Hula-hooping or conga line dancing. Winners might earn free admission to future classes, the privilege of drinking shots with the model, or prizes from local sponsors, like Blue 7, Bad Granny's Bazzar and Baby Tattoo Books.

"One of many favorite moments during the year so far was the class in June with Savonne the Minx from Tulsa," Artus said. "We had a special celebrity guest artist in the class, Muriel Fahrion, creator of the Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears characters. Miss Minx closed the class in a fantastic, burlesque-style Strawberry Shortcake costume."

Local classes started at the aka Gallery in the Paseo Arts District, but last month, organizers moved them to the new Individual Artists of Oklahoma Gallery location in Film Row.

The OKC branch started holding themed classes in September with '80s glam metal, continuing in October with "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."

"The drawing contests, music and models' costumes all fit with the theme, and sketchers were encouraged to come in a costume as well," Artus said.

Sunday's class takes its inspiration from vintage spy movies "?


Latest in Arts

Add a comment