Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dare to Stare

Brian Feldman wants to get to NYC by May 31st to sit across from Marina Abramovic in her performance piece called "The Artist is Present" at The Museum of Modern Art. To help raise funds for the trip, Brian is holding a 30 hour "Staring Contest" at Frames Forever & Art Gallery (941 Orange Avenue Winter Park). Since I hope to go to New York City with Brian to sketch the main event, I wanted to see how his starting contest fundraiser was going. When I entered Katie Windish's frame store, Mike Maples, a local comedian was sitting across from Brian. Katie said he had been sitting there for more than an hour. I decided to risk his getting up and I rushed my sketch to get him in place. It turns out I didn't need to rush because he lasted almost another hour staring at Brian. He chuckled a few times but it seems that is allowed in this staring contest. As a matter of fact, there seem to be no rules and there is no way to loose. Afterward Mike said he chuckled every time Brian wiggled his ears.
Sultana Fatima Ali wandered in quickly but was late to her evening's run up in Sanford, so she dashed off after dropping some money in the paint bucket. A family showed up and the little boy all of perhaps five years old, kept waving at Brian trying to get his attention. Katie kept trying to get a photo of the little boy waving but all the technical gadgets on the camera wouldn't let her take the shot in time.
I decided I would sit across from Brian and draw. Since this was a starting contest however, I figured I couldn't look at the page I was working on. I did what is called a blind contour drawing; something I haven't done since college. There were minor distractions like the sounds of camera shudders, and I knew video footage was being shot which might end up on YouTube someday. This blind contour drawing took about 10 minutes to do. I found it hard to slow down and let the lines flow. I am so used to drawing fast to catch quick moment. I started by drawing Brian's eyes. I lingered there as long as possible before exploring other features of his face. Nothing lines up exactly but I rather enjoy the penetrating spontaneity of the drawing.
Brian's expression was consistently sober and serious. I found myself wondering what was running through his mind and it felt like an important moment to me. Much can be communicated by just looking into someone's eyes.
Should you want to join this staring contest you still have 2 days to try and see how long you can last.
Brian will be staring Sunday May 16th from 10AM to 8PM, and Monday May 17th from 10Am to 8PM.
Donations are accepted by Pay Pal, or in the paint bucket in the store.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at


Hannah said...

That blind contour is amazing.

Jessica said...

i agree with hannah's sentiment

Terry O said...

I like that blind contour painting very much!

Steven said...

I'm with Hannah, the contour portrait is awesome.

What an interesting contest.

motorbikematt said...

That is the work of a true artist. Now I want one of me!

Thor said...

At Marymount College in PA artists had blind contour contests. Perhaps this is another thing to bring to Orlando?

Hannah said...

Woah, blind contour Dr. Sketchy night?