Monster hands: 70 artists in action at NCMA on Friday night

It’s a rare treat to watch an artist at work. To see the pen, pencil, or brush in hand. To see it hesitate in the air over the paper. To see the lower lip bitten in concentration. And then to see the mark made, and the next mark, and the marks accumulate into recognizable forms.

It’s breathtaking stuff, to witness the creative process in the moment.

Multiply that pleasure by about 70 and you get the Monster Drawing Rally at the North Carolina Museum of Art on Friday night.

[Related: "Altered Land: Works by Damian Stamer and Greg Lindquist”]

In one-hour shifts between 6 and 9:30 p.m., around 70 North Carolina artists will sit down and create original work right in front of you. You’ll see works go from blank page to final artwork in media such as collage, watercolor, ink, and graphite. Those works will be available for immediate purchase for $50, with all proceeds benefitting the NCMA. (See below for a complete schedule of participating artists.)

It’s a fun, accessible way to get to see the stunning variety of artistic talent in your community, connect with individual artists whose work you fall in love with, have a drink and a bite to eat, and support the museum. Tickets are free for museum members and $5 for nonmembers (free for kids 6 and under).

Chapel Hill-based artist Carrie Alter, who will be drawing during the 7 p.m. shift along with her 9-year-old son Max McMichaels, has a history of working in public.

“I’ve always drawn in sketchbooks in bars,” Alter says, “But that’s because I can block people out around me. With my friend George Jenne, we had conversations through our marks, and we didn’t talk. We would trade sketchbooks and draw on top of what the other drew.”

She’s very comfortable working in the moment, but Alter has a little anxiety about being so on display at the NCMA event.

“I’m nervous about the Monster Drawing Rally because it’s not like we did, or like I’ve always done, in dark bars in the corner. People will be interacting and I’m quite introverted in my working,” she says. “I’m trying not to think about anything. I’m just going to go with how I’m feeling when I get there.”

Tedd Anderson is another artist with experience working outside the private studio. Anderson has hosted The Draw, a monthly community drawing gathering at The Carrack in Durham, for about three years. Anyone of any skill level can come and draw, in a supportive and even collaborative environment. Anderson also has the 7 to 8 p.m. shift at the Rally.

“It sounds awesome. I draw monsters and creatures and have been drawing them for over 10 years so it’s right up my alley,” he says, not without some trepidation about the audience’s presence. “This is very different from The Draw. I’m more like a zoo animal this time. It’s more participatory at The Draw, rather than observational.”

Anderson loves supporting NCMA through this event, and especially loves how it demystifies the activity of drawing for people who might describe themselves as non-artists.

“A lot of people get tripped up about drawing, especially people over 12 years old,” he says. “They decide it’s either a child’s thing to do or that they’re not trained enough to do it. I encourage people to have no preconceptions about what drawing is.”

“Who knows what you’ll draw, just go for it.”

If watching Alter, McMichaels, Anderson, and scores of other artists inspires you, your hands can get busy on an interactive art project sponsored by Flight, a Raleigh-based fund that launches creative projects. DJ Forge will be laying down grooves to keep the creativity flowing, too. And if you need fuel, there will be beer and wine for purchase, as well as food trucks on hand from The Parlour, Big Mike’s BBQ, and Zeke’s Meats.

Schedule of participating artists (drawing in hour-long shifts):

6 to 7 p.m.

Candy Carver
Chloe Wood
Dana Wood
David Eichenberger
Dorian Monsalve
Erin Oliver
Ippy Patterson
Jenn Hales
Joy Drury Cox
Linda Dallas
Marx Myth
Molly Chopin
Neill Prewitt
Rio Aubry Taylor
Ryan Grady
Sherry DiFilippo
William Paul Thomas
Kristin Smith
Claudia Corletto
Jina Valentine
Fernando Magallenes
Patrick Fitzgerald
Paul Travis Phillips

7 to 8 p.m.

Adam Cohen
Allison Tierney
Carrie Alter
Dave Rainey
Elin O’Hara Slavick
Eric Dixon
Eric Knisley
Greg Carter
Jordan Grace Owens
Lenny Terenzi
Libby O’Daniel
Max McMichaels
Odila Muni
Paul Friedrich
Rachel Goodwin
Robert Mlodzik
Stacye Leanza
Tedd Anderson
Thea Fotiu Howell
Tom Burhman
Tristan Yonce
Zoe Sasson
Warren Hicks
Joe Wright
Gabriel Eng-Goetz
Damian Stamer

8 to 9 p.m.

Alia El-Bermani
Beatriz Wallace
Bill Fick
Celia Johnson
Emily Kohler
Erin Canady
Greg Baldwin
Jean Grey Mohs
Kenia Brea
Scott Renk
Stephen Cefalo
Tim Lee
Shane Smith
Rhiana Jones
Lisa Gaither
Sara Reynolds
Paris Alexander
AdAm Peele
Bart Cusick
Victor Knight III
Bill Koeb
Jason Watson
Jolie Day

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