The energy at Popopstudios

The new year has brought in some exciting plans for Popopstudios. Popop’s leaders last month recommitted themselves to developing the studios and gallery’s programming with an open studios event. Next up on the agenda is a series of drawing classes.

The classes are not a new concept for Popop. Artist and Popop Founder John Cox introduced them three years ago and will again lead them when they begin in February.

“I’d done drawing lessons years ago at Popop. They were fun to teach, and I think the people who took them found them a positive experience, but I never had time to continue it because I had another job that took me away from putting in the time there,” recalled Cox. “Now I have the time to be back and focus on the studio, and I figured this could be a way to add to the programming again.”

Learners of all skill levels are welcome to try their hands – quite literally – at figure drawing. Cox has found mixed-ability groups to be beneficial to both participant development and confidence. Also, because the class focuses strictly on the human figure, he believes learners will have much freedom for interpretation and expression.

“What’s happened in the past is there’s always been a natural combination of people who are quite experienced with people who are not, and it ends with a happy medium,” he explained.

He added: “The figure is such a genre in and of itself. It’s so fundamental to all types of drawing, and it’s a building block.”

The three-hour classes will be kept intentionally small. They can accommodate up to eight students and Cox will give feedback throughout the duration of both sessions. The lessons will begin in the first week of February and will be held on a weekly basis for four weeks. Students must book classes in four-week blocks. During each class, students will go through “warm-ups” (sketching a series of quick, 30-second or minute-long poses) and then move on to longer timed sessions.

Classes will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday evenings and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, beginning February 4. Four-week blocks can be booked for $300. There is limited space available for Thursday evenings. To book a spot, call Popopstudios at 322-7834.

Transforming Spaces at Popopstudios

That is not all that’s going on in the creative space. Popop will be also carrying on its tradition of participating in the annual Transforming Spaces (TS) art tour this March, and Cox has looked to the past for inspiration.

This year’s exhibition will be titled, “Triple Double”. The name is a play on the common sports terminology in which a player accumulates a double-digit number total in three of five statistical categories.

The concept began years ago when Cox taught 300-level art at the College of The Bahamas. His idea was to somehow get serious artists to play a game in making art.

“I was trying to think of an interesting way to teach the class that gave it a structure that could offer a myriad of possibilities,” recalled Cox.

He would create a set of six words. Each word was the title of six categories – such as personality, orientation, country, perspective, position and color. In each category, there would be another set of six symbols, words or themes. Participants would be able to make works responding to the words or themes they wanted to emphasize in their works.

Considering ways to respond to this year’s Transforming Spaces theme, SWELL, Cox had to think of an exhibition that could demonstrate collaboration and community.

“We knew we wanted Transforming Spaces to be about collaboration because we were making a big step to try to change the format of Transforming Spaces,” said Cox, who is on the TS planning committee. “We wanted to cluster it downtown, so a lot of it was about district and physical space as well as the idea that people would join forces and partner up.”

Triple Double seemed an ideal way for Popop to reflect the spirit of teamwork. In incorporating it, Cox tweaked a few things. The idea would be to invite artists to participate in Triple Double. Each participating artist will be required to bring in a partner to play in pairs and create a body of work for the exhibition. Each artist would choose three words or symbols from the Triple Double matrix and every pair would create a ‘visual poem’ from the six words or symbols. They would then respond to their respective poems by creating a work or body of works reflecting some or all of the poem’s components.

This year, Popop will invite 10 artists to participate. Counting their partners, there will be approximately 20 artists represented there during the 2016 TS tour. The space will open its doors to Transforming Spaces ticket holders for a preview on Wednesday, March 9.

Some things have changed

Transforming Spaces has also this year taking on a new format, allowing guests to spend up to an hour at each of its four satellite locations – Popopstudios, the D’Aguilar Art Foundation, Central Bank Art Gallery and Hillside House. Buses will provide ticket holders with transportation between each gallery on Saturday, March 12 and Sunday, March 13. The tour will end at the Towne Hotel, the final creative space, which will be open to Transforming Spaces guests from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday of the tour weekend.