The wellspring of life drawing here in New York City can be found not within the stately walls of an historic art academy or expensive art and design school, but in a cramped basement in the SoHo district. I’ve mentioned it many times on this blog. It’s called Spring Studios, and it’s located, appropriately, on Spring Street. With open life drawing seven days a week, three sessions a day, Spring Studios is more than a drawing studio. It’s a place for artists of all generations and varying levels of expertise to converge, socialize, share laughs, gossip, and shoot off lots of wisecracks (it is New York after all).
Like most life drawing groups everywhere, Spring Studios requires no enrollment, no reservations, no prior art training. You just show up with paper, pencil, and your $14, pick your ideal spot, and draw away to your heart’s content, from an inspiring, professional art model. Spring Studios has some of the best in the city. Oh yeah, and I work there too.
I love posing at Spring Studios. I feel most like an art model there, if that makes any sense. It’s hard work, but gratifying. It’s the kind of place where models and artists intermingle freely and, in some cases, form solid friendships. Models, if they are popular, develop “followings” among the Spring Studios regulars, who will come down to draw just because one of their favorite models is posing for that session. They’re like our groupies.
For some reason, I pose really, really well down there. I suppose it’s because of the whole atmosphere; the intimacy, the book-lined walls, the shelves overflowing with anatomical props, the life drawings hanging on the walls, and, most importantly, the enthusiastic, responsive crowd. Plus Minerva, the director, respects the models a great deal and appreciates our hard work. But my favorite characteristic of Spring Studios is that it’s situated right above the number 6 Lexington subway line. If the model is sitting or lying down right on the platform, she can actually feel the train rumbling under her. Good vibrations!
Bruce Williams is a Spring Studios regular. Not only is he a wonderful artist, but he’s a great guy and friend of mine. Bruce was kind enough to send this image of a drawing he did of me down at Spring. I love it. It took place a couple of months ago and, if I remember correctly, it was one of those times I felt the “subway tremors”. But it wasn’t bad! This was a long pose, and the reverberations kept me from falling asleep.