Williams Downs: Drawing as Spiritual and Ritual Workshop

In February, William Downs conducted a six hour drawing workshop at the Draw it Out Event at MICA. Here is his interview. 

EDP: Can you describe your workshop concept?

WD: "Automatic Drawing" was the concept. I wanted the participants suppress their conscious control over the making process, allowing the unconscious mind to have great sway while a musician played sounds.

EDP: How did the concept evolve or change during or after it?

WD:  At the beginning I gave my drawing instructions but I was lucky. Everyone knew what to do before they got there. I couldn’t believe it! It was such an amazing feeling to sit there and draw with a bunch of artists who started out as strangers and by the end you realized that you have friends in common.

What surprises occurred during the workshop?

WD: The two musicians, Alex Homan and Geoff Grace provided a live sound track for the workshop. They made the sounds that I had dreamed of, so that was a good surprise!

EDP: How did different participants shift your original ideas around?

WD: They didn’t, they just added to it and expanded/sparked new ideas for future projects like this.

How did your workshop align with your own goals as a drawing artist?

WD: For me the goal is to set up the stage, in this case the drawing table is the platform. But letting artists be artists is the but collaborating and drawing together is the main event.

How did the tangents different participants take synthesized in the end?

WD: Everyone drifted away like tired athletes after playing an extreme sport, in this case extreme drawing. It felt like they all were in a trance or just hungry for dinner.

Or did they even have to be?

WD: No they didn't have to be.
This was more or less about ones on letting go and their willingness to draw for as long as we did. At the end all of the drawings were pined to the wall across from where our long drawing table was situated.