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Pencil It In

Cityscape caught up with tasselled temptresses Tawdry Trainwreck and Rosie Reckless, the gals responsible for bringing the burlesque, booze and art extravaganza of fun, flesh and frills that is Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School to Christchurch.

Image: Janneth Gil

For the uninitiated, what is Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School?
Starting in New York in 2005 and spreading across the globe, Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School is a life drawing class like no other. It combines life drawing, burlesque and a good drink. Our performers often showcase their burlesque skills and other hidden talents over the course of the evening. Whether you’re an arts expert or specialise in stick-figures, we welcome all abilities!

How did it make its way to Christchurch?
Rosie spotted Dr. Sketchy’s while travelling overseas and Tawdry leapt on the opportunity to bring it to Christchurch. With both of us having a penchant for dress-up parties and strong creative backgrounds, we decided that we were the right ones for the job, and contacted Sketchy HQ to make it happen. We set to work inviting artists and non-artists alike to drink and doodle, while celebrating diverse models with frills, fervour and flair!

How did you know CHCH was ready for it?
From the get-go, our events sold out, showing that Christchurch had a big appetite for drinking, drawing and dames!

What are the School Rules?

  • No silence in this classroom! Respect and show your support of the model; we love it when our audiences hoot ‘n’ holler during their burlesque performances!
  • Our performers thrive on energy from an appreciative audience.
  • This is not a spectator sport; bring your drawing materials and get sketching! It doesn’t matter if you think you’re any good; all drawing techniques are valid and encouraged (we once had someone bring a sandwich ress and make edible portraits!).
  • Dress-ups in theme are encouraged, but not mandatory.
  • No creeps!
  • No photography. We have our own official photographer for that; and you get to capture the scenes with drawing!

What’s happening at Dr. Sketchy’s next?
We are easing our way into 2018 and welcoming crowd favourite burlesque performer and producer Mythical Haze aboard the Sketchy production crew. We’re looking forward to putting her weird and wonderful performance talents to good use and coming up with kooky themes and schemes together. We’re also very excited to be part of Pride Week events, with our first official session of the year scheduled for March 21 at Space Academy.

What do we need to bring?
BYO art supplies. We recommend bringing pens/pencils, paper or a sketch pad. Biros, felt tips, post-it notes even – whatever mediums you’re comfortable with!

How do you come up with the themes?
We are inspired by our friends, our fetishes, art history, current events, colours, costumes and more! Often one of us will have a spark of inspiration and together we’ll build on it to create a set, costumes, performance and playlist all in theme. We’ve drawn inspiration from everything from The Discovery Channel’s Shark Week to Dolly Parton, high fashion and Mills & Boon romance through to Mad Max, horror movies and pony play.

Who are your typical attendees?
Dr. Sketchy’s has a broad audience, but usually they are open-minded, easy-going and ready for a laugh. We have regulars who’ve been coming since we first began nearly 8 years ago. Our audience includes chemists, anthropologists, tattoo artists, IT experts, burlesque performers and accountants! It’s an environment where you can choose to be social or sketch quietly to your heart’s content.

Drinking, drawing and burlesque sounds like a great combo; what sort of art results from a class?
All sorts of things! The poses are kept short, so that they’re achievable for all levels. We’ve had people create stick figures, collages, poetry, caricatures, stencils and intricate charcoal drawings throughout the evening.

What is your model selection criteria?
The main criteria is being enthusiastic and keen to give it a go. We encourage all body shapes, sizes and genders to our stage, and love working with people with an interest in off-the-wall themes and costumes. The best bet is to come along to our events to get an idea of how it all works and introduce yourself to the crew.

Dr. Sketchy’s Christchurch: Pride
Mar 21

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