Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Sketchbook Project Mobile Library

The Sketchbook Project Mobile Library rolled into Orlando on July 2nd and 3rd at The Gallery at Avalon Island (39 S. Magnolia Ave. Orlando, FL). The library was open from 5pm to 9pm. It is an interactive art exhibition on wheels, featuring a rotating selection of work from The Sketchbook Project installed in a custom-crafted library trailer filled with 4,500 sketchbooks.

The event was free to attend. Steven and Sara Peterman, co-founder of the Sketchbook Project and the director of Brooklyn Art Library were inside helping people check out sketchbooks. The sketchbooks were cataloged by theme, material, mood,  artists names, tags, city, country and more! "It's like a taco truck but with sketchbooks." Orlando is one of 30 cities that the Mobile Library will visit in 2013. There were three steps to participate. 1 you get a library card, 2 you check out books using a computer to pick a theme, city or artist, 3 you're given a sketchbook to flip through.

I submitted a sketchbook to the Brooklyn Art Library in 2009. All of the sketches from that sketchbook were posted on this site. Because I visited the Sketchbook Project when it came to Full Sail and Urban ReThink in past years, I already had my library card. I just had to laser scan it and pick out some sketchbooks.

First I searched by city, looking for sketchbooks from NYC. I was given, "Into the Forest" by Lily Feng. She had precise photo real pencil renderings of women in forest settings. She had to have spent an eternity getting the wide range of values right. I was given a second, arbitrary sketchbook of sketches done in Saint Marten. This sketchbook was part collage and part sketchbook documenting an island vacation. As it grew dark more people showed up to check out sketchbooks. Part of the fun is to see what quirky sketchbook a friend is flipping through.

Patrick Greene, the new curator at Avalon Gallery interviewed TrezMark Harris as I sketched. By the time I finished my sketch, dark grey storm clouds had rolled in. The warm light inside the truck illuminated the threatening gloom. An E-Z Up pop up tent was leaned up against the truck in case it rained. I checked for a sketchbook from Orlando and was given one by Lilah Shepherd. It was full of abstract pen line drawings with light watercolor washes. A second arbitrary pick was from Kelly Zarb from Melbourne Australia. She sketched some of her favorite things like terrariums and owls. Spreads highlighted inspirational sayings like, "Don't hide your beauty, let the world see you." And, "See the beauty in the everyday." I can relate to that. As I returned the sketchbooks, it began to rain. I popped up my umbrella and headed home.

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

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