Drawing as Thinking – Chris Staley, Penn State Laureate 2012-13

Drawing as Thinking – Chris Staley, Penn State Laureate 2012-13


Today I’d like to talk about Drawing as Thinking and it’s quite exasperating sometimes ’cause when I ask students to do more drawing in their sketchbook or something they often say “I really can’t draw.” I said anyone that can grab a pencil can put pencil to paper and draw. But they often, because they think they
can’t draw photorealistically like Leonardo Da Vinci or something that they can’t draw. So here I’m drawing My dog Roca with my foot. And it sort of has a different the line quality
than perhaps if I were drawing with my hand, and maybe in some ways it’s even more
interesting. One of the wonderful things about art is its ambiguity
and how you can have multiple readings and things and in countless drawing books
you’ll see an example of something that’s two things at once. So this obviously could be a duck and here are the two bills on the duck and here is the duck’s eye. Or it
could be a rabbit with two ears, so here are the ears and here is the eye of the rabbit. So sometimes the objects can be read in multiple ways. So once I was in the Museum of Art
in Jerusalem and I was walking through all these antiquities and I
remember coming across this ancient stone door and
I saw these two posts and these lentils. And it dawned on me – someone invented the square! Probably nine thousand years ago. and uh… so You know, initially it was just these two
posts and a lentil but I realized you know it’s a square. And then being a potter, I deal with the circle,
and the circle I thought God, it’s eternal. Our eyes are round and the moon’s round, the sun’s round, the bird makes its nest round. And so here we have this idea of the
relationship between the circle and the square and the infinite
possibilities in terms of those two things in relationship to each other. One of the things I love also about drawing is it’s so revealing of the process and it’s such a physical direct exercise. So here I’m sticking my
finger frequently to create this circle of dots. But if I only dip once it slowly fades. and I love that sense of gradation. Even
this swipe or something like that creates motion. Or is sort of the residue of motion that
can be quite expressive. and in many art books you see this
example of these two drawings and one is called Kikiba and the other one is Ouba. So Kikiba sounds harsh and jagged and this is Kikiba and Ouba sounds soft and soothing so line quality has you know infinite iterations in
terms of its expression. So jus the orientations of lines
can have many meanings and connotations like the horizontal line could be the horizon line – the Native American Indians
thought it was something in the future you’d try and walk to the horizon
line but it was always in front of you – it was always something that was gonna happen later. And the vertical line is something that defies gravity it’s sort of obviously up and down connects the
heavens and earth like a tree grows out of the ground so there’s a real sense of
energy – an almost dualistic thing that
happens with the vertical line and then the diagonal line is so much about motion or direction
like something being thrown like a football or spear or something oftentimes there’s even sort of this arrow of
going this way. So all these lines have very
different connotations and meanings to them just simply because of their orientation. Sometimes I like to challenge myself and see how many different drawings I
can come up with of different types of cups and just keep
going and going till I fill up the pages and that’s one of the wonderful
things with drawing is there’s infinite possibilities So in closing drawing is like
recording stream of consciousness and there’s infinite possibilities and
you can always come up with ideas through drawing. Thank you for your time. Chris: Do you want to do the individual
clips and just go boom boom boom?
Cody: That’s I think how I want to do it. Cody: I think maybe if uh… Chris: How can I lead into that? Chris: Let me just look at them. I won’t show ’em.
Cody: Yeah yeah yeah.

5 thoughts on “Drawing as Thinking – Chris Staley, Penn State Laureate 2012-13”

  1. Oh, NO. My sister and I, on a day that was one of torrential rains in Paris, decided we would draw with our feet for the afternoon. I found it so much fun… we did it for three hours. Once again, thank you for these, Cody and Chris. (My name is Jeannette, from Connecticut.)

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