Society of Anonymous Drawers at Flotilla – Flottile

Image: The S.A.D. Facilitators, image courtesy of Mark Hemmings

The Society of Anonymous Drawers is a social practice/drawing based project I have been working on with Patrick Allaby and Laura K Watson since 2015. This project has grown and changed over the last few years, striving to better achieve out mandate of to collect anonymous drawings, doodles, and sketches from around the local community and to display them in a social media based archive. The Society of Anonymous Drawers (henceforth know as S.A.D.) is an open initiative which, in an attempt to foster a welcoming, inclusive creative community, aims to dismiss any inhibitions about drawing. S.A.D. elects not to curate the work collected at happenings and simply post whatever is created, as a show of support of the democratization of art. Our events tend to attract drawers of all ages, from 2 to 72 and sometimes older and younger. In the Society’s eyes, all art and artists are equal and equally deserving of online exposure.

S.A.D. event at Thirdshift, Saint John NB, image courtesy of the the artists
Some of S.A.D.’s youngest members

We have participated in festivals around the province, and have hosted adhoc performances in any space that would take us. This summer we were invited to participate in Flotilla, an conference of Artist-run-centres and arts organizations in Charlottetown PEI, September 21-24. This conference brought artists and arts administrators for all over the country to explore ideas of what the Canadian artist run culture is. There were discussions, pop up installations, talks, performances, interventions, karaoke, parties – almost too much to take in on a single weekend.

I thought I would take some time in the journal to reflect on this last event. As the other members have moved on Ontario, is unlikely there will be many more events for the Society, but I hope that from this project something new can grow from the experience we all gained.

I believe these events were generally successful because people actually wanted to participate. I think the premise was simple enough that anyone, regardless of background or capabilities, could feel included. This is the core value I hope to bring to all art making, and is top of mind for new projects. With the Society, there was also enough of a twist on just drawing, (official Society letterhead, the masks, the WE ARE SAD slogan) that helped hesitant participants want to be included. Going forward I am brainstorming ideas that could involve zine bees, nature walk and drawing events, a collaborative night sky collage, or maybe just exchanges of drawings.


S.A.D. at Flotilla Charlottetown, PEI