NOIS to be Drawn & Quartered


The room is always crowded and loud, the distractions plentiful. But when teams of artists hunker down to compete in Cleveland’s annual live drawing competition, the concentration gets fierce and the results are — well, perhaps better than you might expect.

Welcome to Drawn & Quartered, the eight-year-old annual event started by artists Deb Steytler and Juan Quirarte of the Murray Hill Life Drawing Group. Conceived as a cross between a World Wrestling Federation match and an art school life drawing session, D&Q has become an established part of Cleveland’s ever-more-bustling visual arts scene.

“The idea was based on my life [teaching] at a high school that had lots of energy around teams,” Steytler said. “I wanted that energy around all the great artists I know in Cleveland. And I think we’ve got it now.”

Teams of artists draw models either striking a series of quick poses or a single pose for more than two hours. Afterward comes Olympics-style public judging. The team with the most points wins a trophy designed by Murray Hill group member Jack Flotte and bragging rights for the next year.

This year’s event takes place on Saturday, April 23 at HEDGE Gallery in the 78th Street Studios. In addition to 2015 trophy holders Murray Hill Life Drawing Group, competitors will represent Dr. Sketchy Cleveland, the West Side Markers, and the Northern Ohio Illustrators Society (NOIS).

“It allows art patrons to see some of the skills artists employ, not just the final framed art,” said NOIS president Ron Hill. “For artists, I think they like the competitive action. It’s like the free-throw competition at the NBA All Stars.”

Steytler agrees. “The drawing groups love to duke it out,” she said. “I think everyone has stepped up their game, to get in better drawing shape, maybe have a concept before stepping up to the drawing board, for the edge.”

This will be the second year for D&Q at HEDGE Gallery. Owner Hilary Gent said she is thrilled to host again this year.

“Drawn & Quartered is a spirited event, with a variety of artist styles jam-packed into three hours of intense competitive drawing. The energy is contagious!” she said. “This year, spectators also have the opportunity to bid on the work that is created during the event. Prices will be based on the time allotted for the pose, ranging from $20 to $75 for starting bids. We may even have a local celebrity or two posing.”

Drawn and Quartered: 7-10 pm Saturday April 23, 2016
HEDGE Gallery at 78th Street Studios, 1300 W. 78th St. Suite 200, Cleveland 44102., 216-650-4201

Northern Ohio Illustrators Society