Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mob at the Mall

Call time for Flash Mob participants was at 12 noon on Saturday January 29th. The Flash Mob itself was scheduled to start at 2 pm.Terry and I arrived at the mall at noon and entered through Bloomingdale's. The first thing I saw was a bright pink short on a mannequin that said,"Mall Princess". Before we got to the central Grand Court, Terry insisted I meet the sales women at Cole Haan. Terry is on a first name basis with the sales staff and they started talking about hair styling. I was in agony wanting to start my sketch. After leaving the store Terry met a Facebook friend and she joked about how difficult it is to get me to the mall. The woman pointed out that her boyfriend loved shopping for her at the mall. Groan...

Finally I got to the spot where I wanted to set up and sketch. It was now roped off for the video camera crews. A mall security guard named Tom was watching the roped off area and I explained that I planned to sketch. He was fine with that, and he let me duck under. Having already sketched the Flash Mob rehearsal from this angle, I decided to do a sketch on the digital tablet. I am still adjusting to sketching on glass, but one feature I like is the ability to keep enlarging the canvas. I kept enlarging the canvas to take in more of the mall architecture.

About 5 times people approached me and asked if I was Thor. I had shared my last sketch on the Flash Mob event page and the volunteer dancers really seemed to appreciate what I was doing. The entire hour leading up to the performance, people gathered around the circular staging area waiting for something to happen. In this age of social networking, word had spread fast. In videos I had seen of Flash mobs in other cities, it seemed like people were caught off guard, the flash mob seeming to happen spontaneously. Here in Orlando that element of surprise was lost. I had only moments to sketch the actual performance. When the performers melted back into the crowd, I kept working trying to capture the energy unleashed.

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