Art feature: life-drawing session in Edinburgh

Reconfigure, by Carlos Herman

The multi-arts complex Summerhall in Edinburgh features an intriguing life-drawing session, Reconfigure.

Edinburgh is a city that is definitely not short of cultural stimulation as the plethora of plays, concerts, exhibitions, dance events, and talks is enough to keep even the pickiest minds entertained.

However, what makes Edinburgh cultural circles different is their innovative approach to traditional artistic concepts.

An epitome of the above statement is certainly the Reconfigure life drawing sessions hosted in the Summerhall.

The sessions are open for all levels of ability and provide an extremely inclusive and warm environment.

The event is an intriguing combination of primarily life drawing, performance and collective generation of artistic inspiration.

The multidisciplinary artist Topaz Pauls started Reconfigure three years ago, as a way to realise her and other people’s creative needs.

In an interview with ENN, she gave us a context for her own artistic development and the way the life drawing sessions came to life.

Topaz Pauls moved to Edinburgh in 2010 on a particularly cold winter, and started studying and working in Whitespace, which is currently a creative agency at the centre of Edinburgh’s art scene.

She immersed herself in the city’s cultural scene and came to understand the complex and tight-knit network of creatives in Edinburgh, who value creativity and artistic expression.

She was doing a lot of life-drawing as a way to further develop her interest for seeing how shapes slowly evolve to be folded in human figures.

Reconfigure, by Carlos Herman

Topaz Pauls wanted to create a communal life drawing session that would transcend the traditional limitations of the medium.

It would also provide both the participants and the artist’s attending an opportunity to be unconstrained in their creative process.

Topaz Pauls said:

“I wanted to be more imaginative and have more creative control over the life drawing process. In the year since I started Reconfigure I’ve met a lot of multidisciplinary artists and wanted even more to create a platform for them.”

She states that the initial idea for the sessions came our of her own creative frustration: “It was inevitable this would happen.”

The sessions’ models range between trapeze artists and actors, whereby every individual has a distinctive personality, which is so enveloping that the public remains in rapture for the entirety of the session.

The circulating creative freedom at the events is contagious and inspirational for everyone that attends. In this respect, Reconfigure is more than a life-drawing session, it is an act of collective creation.

Topaz Pauls said:

“I give the models and artist a lot of freedom to be themselves. In that way they are performing what is most authentic to them. I certainly couldn’t do it alone.”

Reconfigure has evolved into an inclusive artistic platform that serves as a spring for inspiration and an endless source of artistic collaboration.

The innovative approach of the sessions brings together unrestrained artistic expression and a sense of a welcoming community which encourages its members to develop and evolve.

The future of Reconfigure lies in retaining its spontaneous and creatively stimulating environment. A concrete structure for expansion is certainly not what the sessions are about.

It could take away the essence of the platform, which makes it so unique and inspirational, namely it’s unrestrained and organic nature.

Topaz Pauls states that she wants to retain the sense of community and creative freedom (learn more about her multidisciplinary work on her website).

Reconfigure, by Carlos Herman

Reconfigure life drawing takes place in the Summerhall on Wednesdays, with the next session taking place on the 4th of December at 7pm.

Learn more and get involved at:

Reconfigure Facebook page

Reconfigure Instagram

Reconfigure website

If you wish to find out information about Scottish heritage, please click here.

Photo credits:

Carlos Herman