Monday, April 1, 2013

Sarah Stimson's 500 Drawings

       Today, my instructor brought in a student artist named Sarah Stimson. She is an Aggie student from Dallas, Texas taking Communication with a minor in Art. Stimson was invited to our lecture in order to discuss her "500 Drawings" exhibit, which she displayed in Langford Architecture Center Building A.
       The story begins, according to Stimson, when she painted her car at 17 years of age. Prior to that, her last experience with art was in high school. Stimson showed us a picture of her painted car, and one would think that she had been an artist for years based on the quality of the images. Her main motivation for the 500 Drawings came when she took a Life Drawing class here at Texas A&M. When she was done with the course, Stimson's instructor challenged her to try making 500 drawings in a single sitting. The only rule for the challenge is that the only other thing you can do besides draw is eat. No sleeping. Stimson successfully completed the challenge after 19 hours of work. One year later, she did the challenge again (in 21 hours this time), and the results of that are featured in the "500 Drawings" exhibit.
       Stimson spent most of the lecture talking about parts of the exhibit. For making 500 drawings in 21 hours, one would think that not much effort was put into each work. Stimson did acknowledge that she spent about 2-3 minutes on each drawing, but also said that the main goal of the 500 drawing challenge is to put down what is in your mind instead of simply drawing things. The surface that Stimson used for all 500 drawings was ordinary printer paper, and from there she spontaneously placed different forms of media on the paper, occasionally organizing them into small mini-series. Hot glue, sauce, aluminum foil with marker, pencil, ink, beads, leaving the paper blank, and most notably her own hair. Stimson's hair appeared quite a few times throughout the gallery, from being tied around a cigarette, to giving the illusion of a smoking cigarette, to a single hair being placed in a mini-series of envelopes.
       Our instructor interjected at one point and told us about the shift from modernism to contemporary art. If modernism shifts from the traditional academic focus of landscapes, portraits, and scriptural scenes to works based on the reactions of artists to industrialization, then contemporary art is focused on "the individual, the subjective, emotional experience of the self."
       Out of curiosity, I looked up "500 Drawings" in Google to see what turned up and, interestingly, I read about other artists who have also done 500 drawings on paper. The idea of making a large collection of simple drawings is similar to "collage," where the artist fits several small elements into a larger whole.

       For a similar image of 500 drawings, visit

       To look at a searchable gallery of contemporary art, visit

       For more information on collage, visit


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