John Boylan’s Next Conversation: “Drawing”

Drawing Conversation Update

We’ve added two more guests, Lisa Bade and Jon Gierlich. Lisa is an artist and a public school art teacher with whom I have engaged in a number of street art projects, and Jon is an artist who teaches design at Cornish. For the past few years, he has taught a course where he takes students out to draw the city. (See below for bios.)

The guest list is heavy on people who have a passion not just for drawing, but for teaching drawing as well. Both Jed and Lisa have attended many of these conversations, and both are notable for regularly drawing the conversations themselves: Jed in drawing people, Lisa by taking intricately beautiful notes that come out as drawings.

I tend to not have any visuals during these conversations, but I’m told that these two are planning an insurrection in that vein. We will see what happens. Do come.

ANOTHER Plug: series alum Elizabeth Rose (Courage and Confidence) is both a dancer and an aerialist, most often as an Aerialista. She and Jill Schaffner (DASS Dance) and Bridget Gunning (Manifold Motion) have put together a company called ticktock ( ticktock is working toward combining elements of circus aerial performance with modern dance. They are looking to create a “hybrid performance medium that is more textured and contemplative than typical circus, and more sensational and extreme than typical dance.”

“ticktock is excited to announce the premiere of ticktock No.1! Come witness our elegant flights of fancy, surreal strokes of genius, and mad skillz, yo”

Jan 29 and 30 at 8pm and Jan 31 at 7pm.

Emerald City Aerialdrome

2702 6th Ave South
Seattle, Washington 98134

Tickets are available at:

I’ve seen both Elizabeth and Bridget perform; this will be good.

John Boylan’s Next Conversation

This episode: “Drawing”

Tuesday, January 19, from 7 to 9 pm

Admission is free. Tell your friends.

This roundtable conversation series happens at Vermillion, a wine bar and art gallery at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle ( For more information on the series, call John Boylan at 206-601-9848. (News Flash: Vermillion, while still a wine bar, has begun serving excellent spirits as well. Check it out.)

This month we’ll be looking at drawing. The session follows on an irregular series about art disciplines, including last year’s sculpture conversation and “Persistence of Painting in a Digital Age” in 2005. Both of those conversations had overflow crowds, and the discussions were passionate. I’m curious to see what happens with drawing. Despite the ubiquitous nature of drawing, I know of few artists who see themselves as drawers with the same resolve and intensity as those who identify as sculptors, painters, or printmakers.

We have two excellent guests; more are in the works

The Guests (see guest bios below)

Jed Dunkerley, artist, teacher, performer, provocateur

J.C. Schlechter, artist, teacher, curator

Lisa Bade, artist, teacher, and activist

Jon Gierlich, artist, teacher

The Story

There’s something in drawing that is essential to the way our world works. In the fine arts, it’s a poor cousin to painting and sculpture. But drawing is usually at the root of both disciplines. In the manufactured world, almost nothing is made without being drawn first, from clothes to cars to houses to software interfaces. And as any good naturalist can report, one of the best ways to look at nature, whether a tree, a streambed, a raccoon track or a coyote carcass, is to draw it. What is the power and the pleasure in putting pencil to paper?

Is it the simplicity and directness, the visceral experience of holding a piece of charcoal in hand? Or does it have to do with the idea that, in theory at least, the skills of drawing are simpler than those of painting or sculpture? Or are they? And why does drawing persist as the most direct way to make sense of the physical world? I work at a software company, and I am still impressed by the frequency with which people at meetings jump up to sketch something on a white board. Seems so low tech.

I’ve been wondering lately what sort of education a student would have if, at age 18, they were able to write a convincing and well-documented essay, write a powerful poem or song, write a working software program, and draw a live animal, and do it well.

Come and talk about drawing.

The Plugs

At the “Art and Alcohol” conversation, a number of you expressed interest in Kelly Lyles’s upcoming exhibit of paintings, “THE TWELVE STEPS (Drunks and Junkies).” That show is now on at Arts West in West Seattle ( It’s up until January 30, and there’s a reception during West Seattle’s art walk on January 14 from 6 until 9 pm. Arts West: 4711 California Ave SW. Take a look.

I’m continuing my online adventure, “Ship—a weekly adventure serial, a space opera, a romance, a small diversion in trying times.” We’re up to episode 21, and our adventurers, on their way to the magnificent forest planet Ginga, are caught up in a small revolution in “Escapades on Ice.”

The current episode is always available at

The story thus far, part one, is available at

The story thus far, part two, is available at

Check it out.

Finally, I was talking with Ellia Ryan a few weeks ago. She has her own conversation series happening at cafes around Seattle. The project is very different from this one; some of you may want to stop by. Here is her blurb:

“Conversations That Matter” take place once a month in a different Seattle neighborhood and a different day of the week each month. The 2-hour salon consists of 3 rounds of small-group conversation based on previously circulated “questions for reflection,” followed by a full-group session to compare key points and perhaps commit to taking a specific action. The subject matter is wide-ranging, and enables us to identify our ‘common humanity’ and consider different viewpoints. For more information and a list of previous topics, go to To receive information about the next conversation salon and to book a place, please sign up through

The Guests in Detail

Jed Dunkerley has been a full-time drawing instructor at Franklin High School for 6 years. He runs a life drawing session twice a month at the Canoe Social Club, and is an artist and illustrator in his spare time.  His latest bodies of work will be showing at Street Beans coffeehouse in Belltown in February and at Vermillion on Capitol Hill in May, and he is illustrating a book about graveyards with local death care visionary Greg Lundgren. Jed is also a performance artist with the art collective PDL and sings for the epic Bandylegs Johnson. He came to art in Seattle after a bourgeois sports-filled childhood in Nashville, Tennessee, four years studying geology in central Maine, and several summers of musical theater in Glacier, MT.

J.C. Schlechter was born outside of Portland, Oregon. He works as an interdisciplinary artist and operates PrintShip (, a small business allowing people to create fine art etchings through the mail, which he founded in October 2009. He received his BA in Ancient Studies from Brown University (Providence, RI) and his MFA in Interdisciplinary Art from Goddard College (Plainfield, VT).

Works on paper as the thread of his career began in the Bindery/Conservation Department of Brown University’s library and as a manager at a New England bookstore. After returning to Portland he began working in the curatorial department at the Gilkey Center for Graphic Art (the works on paper department at the Portland Art Museum with a collection of over 25,000 works on paper). Over the course of his nearly eight years at PAM he led classes in the history and technique of printmaking, photography, and drawing, in addition to maintaining the WOP vault, and providing support for the print, drawing, and photography curators. J.C. concluded his time at the Museum by curating the exhibition “Out of the Darkness: Contemporary Mezzotints.” He has juried art exhibitions and continues to work as a freelance photographer.

Currently he is working on 36 Rivers, a two-year survey project that began in early 2009, which maps chance interactions of geologic modification. One site in each county of Oregon was identified to create work. Each site has been located at a specific Gaging Station maintained by the NOAA or the USGS. Maps created at the sites record river data similar to that which scientists record; however, 36 Rivers lenses its data through poetic record and interpretation. 36 Rivers is created through the practice of Experimental Cartography and is in service of the continuing dialogue between the fine arts and hard sciences (

J.C. lives in Portland where he shares a home and studio with his wife. A solo exhibition of his work is running at the Taoist Center in Portland ( through February 5.

Lisa Bade is an artist, educator, and activist. Lisa draws what she sees, and is constantly curious about how line shapes meaning.

Jon Gierlich is an Associate Professor in the Design Department, Cornish College of the Arts. He has pursued a career as an artist/designer in Seattle for the past twenty years. He is a member of the Cultural Development Authority and was a past member of the Seattle Planning Commission. Gierlich designed and oversaw the construction of the World War II Memorial Plaza, “Interrupted Journey,” University of Washington campus. “The Lodge” was a commission by architects Studio Jaso for a meeting place, an interior architecture in an executive office suite of the West Coast’s largest maritime company. The office was selected A.I.A. Project of the Month, September 1999. Jon also worked on a team with the Miller Hull Partnership and Susan Black and Associates, Landscape Architects, to design a 2.2 million gallon water tank on Queen Anne Hill. In 2000 he collaborated with lighting designer Jeff Robbins in designing a twenty-one-step lighting plan for the facade of St. James Cathedral as the centerpiece for their celebration of the Jubilee Year. He worked with artist Maggie Smith and Susan Black and Associates on the restoration of Des Moines Memorial Drive, an 8.5-mile memorial highway dedicated to the fallen of Washington State in WWI.

In the 2006 CoCA group show “SHARDS,” he exhibited a twenty-five-foot-long folding book of collages from several years of collecting cultural debris in the industrial neighborhood aka SoDo. Also in 2006, he participated as a member of a team of photographers producing an interactive DVD featured as a component to the Lee Miller Centenary Exhibit 2007, Victoria and Albert Museum, London England. The exhibit traveled to several major museums in the U.S. 2007-08.

Jon received his BFA from the University of Kansas, studied in the graduate arts program University of Nebraska, and worked for many years in the commercial construction industry.


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