Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Snakes, Ladders and Life Drawing: Art Director's Club Creative Carnival

An albino Burmese Python - "a non-venomous constrictor."
As if being creative on demand isn't already stressful enough, any party thrown by the advertising or design industries had better be an art-directed jaw dropper or you'll be sneered out of the room - from the slick promo poster down to the burlesque aerialist gyrating with an Albino Burmese Python.

Vaudevillian style poster by Bill Mayer
So all that and more was served up at the  Art Directors Club Creative Carnival, a promo night for illustrators and their reps co-run by a portfolio company called Workbook.


The loft-like Chelsea offices of the AD club was transformed into a circus space where 30 or so artists and illustrators sat ringside, engaged in a "life drawing" exercise of the slightly contorted kind ...

Inside the ring, ladies in burlesque costumes (and skirts made from bananas) cracked whips, performed aerial acro-yoga and and fondled some pretty impressive creatures, like a yellow-hued Albino Burmese Python. How do I know it was an Albino Burmese Python?

Ben Paramonte, one of the writers at Juice Pharma (where I am currently freelancing and how I managed to get invited to this event) is a snake collector with several of his own - presumeably in reinforced tanks ...

"That's an albino Burmese python and that one's a jungle carpet python - both non-venomous constrictors," he enthused, pointing to what resembled a big, yellow cornmeal baguette prior to baking. "That one's a true giant - females regularly grow 17+ feet, males top out around 14-17 feet. It's one of the most popular pythons in captivity."
Ben pulled up his sleeve to reveal a snake swallowing its tail tattoo.

It was like having my very own Animal Planet host and admittedly, the women faded into the wallpaper.

"The Burmese python is native to South East Asia, and is one of the largest snakes in the world (20+ feet long); they are currently listed as invasive species in Florida, with several established breeding populations."

He added that this particular snake set off the captive breeding industry in the US during the 1980's; it is both illegal to own one in NYC and to transport it across state borders (presumeably slithering across the frontera of its own accord is OK).

"The jungle carpet python is native to Australia, and reaches lengths of 7-12 feet. The carpet python both lives in trees and on the ground. They get their name due to the intricate pattern of their scales and the velvet sheen they give off in the sun. They are rear-fanged snakes, which allows them to grab birds while in a tree. Pretty awesome animals, Darwin would be proud." 

A jungle carpet python from Downunder - and secured in that cute little round box when not constricting. 
If you want to see more of Ben's favorite snake - carpet pythons - check out this link  

I spent some time poking my tongue out at the critter as it coiled around it's mistress's shoulders; it responded by shooting out a little forked tongue and blinked at me quite benignly. "Feels felt like a Gucci snakeskin clutch," remarked a couple of women who touched it - smooth, just a little springy and ... warm.

Drag queens were on hand to serve pulled pork sliders, chocolate covered grapes (weird), bubbly and beer. There was also an overly healthy buffet of raw veggies that were left basically untouched. Creative freaks are not necessarily known for being health freaks.

Drag queens are never misfits at a creative carnival!
The doodling was not merely for self-promotion - as each piece was finished it was tacked to a wall to be bought for $50 - proceeds going to an ADC scholarship fund. Many of the renditions were in what you might call a familiar "fashion illustration" style.


Notable exceptions were the whimsical collages by Jon Reinfurt (below, top and bottom left):

Jon Reinfurt:  scissors, scalpel and glue are mightier than the paintbrush

And, the bold, Picasso-meets-Haring-in-a-stripmall-near-you drawings by yellow-puffy-parker-wearing Jon Burgerman (disclosure - I now own this piece).

Jon Burgerman with 10K Facebook fans
Burgerman, a self styled "salad enthusiast" is an established artist in his native Britain and more recently, Mexico. With with more than 10,000 Facebook fans, cool brand collaborations in his portfolio and even a line of merchandising a la Damien Hirst, he's is preparing to take New York by post-Sandy storm. His contributions, snapped up by buyers the moment he signed off his name were rendered with the Krink brand of luminous, permanent markers (Krink has an awesome graffiti-artist-did-great story). See more of Jon's work from the evening on his blog here.

Jon Burgerman: the one that got away from me when I wasn't looking! I ended up buying the one he is holding above..  
I also bought a little trio by from Nishan Akgulian that included the images below:


Nishan Akgulian and his signature whimsical style

The Galfromdownunder (yours truly) and Nishan


Thank you to guru art buyer Allison Candage at Juice Pharma for inviting me to this event!

MORE PHOTOS: A few more shots on my Chelsea Gallerista Facebook page 

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