When I got to Seoul I didn’t have a ton of friends and I had some free time to fill. Between climbing, teaching and running errands I started drawing again. A friend of mine who was previously living in Korea suggested I look around on Meetup.com so that I did. There are a ton of groups, many are expat party groups and hiking groups or language exchanges but I was interested in one called Seoul Art Meetup Group. They listed several events that seemed to happen consistently.
I clicked attending to two meetups; one at Jankura Artspace and one called Drink and Draw, even though i’m not a big fan of drinking. Jankura, a studio in Itaewon, Seoul’s foreigner neighborhood, hosts life drawing sessions, drawing a nude model and Drink and Draw was meeting at a chicken and beer place near a metro station that most people wouldn’t know. The idea being that random strangers meet begin a drawing and after 10-15 minutes everyone swaps papers and you continue drawing on someone else’s paper all while drinking and talking.
When I went to Jankura for the first time it was a really weird feeling, I never studied art formally, besides in high school and here were a bunch of “Artists” sat with all of their supplies out, ready for a model to strip down. I had only ever tried to draw a human a handful of times and never with any real success. Luckily I started talking with a guy who used to live in Florida and we got carried away talking and my nerves left me. Bradley was really encouraging and the environment was so laid back. From then on I started attending semi regularly.
Drink and Draw happens a little less frequently, every other Sunday but I tried to go every time it was going on. The Australian girl Sam, who was running it, would always order some fries and soju to share, but being that it was on a Sunday night I never wanted to get too crazy. I always had fun though it was a way different vibe than Jankura. I regularly attended and about a month ago Sam announced that she would be moving to Japan and asked me if I would like to take over the meetup. This meant the handing over of The Backpack, which contains all of the art supplies.
I miss the university environment of organizing events and being part of student groups and though this is different it still touches on that feeling a little. The first thing as the new organizer was finding a location for the meetup that would be closer to my house and close to the Subway. My girlfriend pointed out a spot called Ashipop Kraft, which makes its own pizzas and serves craft beer. Part of making this meetup work is finding a place that has reasonable prices, good snack food and space enough to host between 10-15 people.
We had our first meetup at the new location on February 8th and it went really well. there were about 10 people in total and everyone really liked the place. Our second meetup had 18 people register. usually you get a few less than the registered number. On February 22nd i’m not sure what happened but only about 1/3 of the people showed up. It was still rewarding though, as it’s always interesting to see what will result of a small group of random strangers drawing on the same piece of paper.
My first drawings from Jankura were terrible and are now ash in the bottom of some Korean incinerator. These are a bit better but I still have to practice. But like Bradley said, it’s not about being 100 percent realistic, if you wanted that just take a picture.
My only question now is; why don’t these types of groups exist back home or in Spain or why didn’t I think to look?