Cavort with pole dancers, drag queens and dominatrices at Dr Sketchy

Tell us all about Dr Sketchy.

Dr Sketchy is a worldwide movement of life drawing classes featuring performers as models, started by Molly Crabapple, an artist in Brooklyn. There are over 100 editions around the world. I came to learn of Dr Sketchy through the branch in Boston, MA when I lived there. The branch was run by Aliza Shapiro, a show producer in the city, and as a drag queen, I modelled a few times.

Why did you decide to start Dr Sketchy here in Singapore?

When I moved back to Singapore in 2011, I found that there was in fact a branch already active here, but it had been lying dormant, the previous producer had moved to Shanghai. I started the branch up again really because I was looking for a way to connect with a less formal artistic community and also to connect with club and cabaret performers here. Eventually my then day job made it difficult to continue, so again Dr Sketchy lay dormant for a couple of years. And then my day life changed, and I could commit to it again, and started the sessions back up in January, in a slightly different format, at its new home at Artistry.

What can a first-time participant expect? 

Dr Sketchy is a life drawing session where the models are performers. In Singapore, it’s currently hosted by Artistry, which is a cafe that also serves booze, models generally manage to wear a lot without being naked. You can expect a community of people with varying drawing ability who come to draw. And have fun. Drinking is fun! Poses range from 2 minutes for warm up poses, where folks tend to draw very gesturally, to 20 minutes when people really get into more detailed work. (Or not—some draw minimally, then drink and chat, it’s all good.) People who come are usually quite friendly. I don’t know anybody who’s hooked up at Dr Sketchy yet, though they really should—artistic people are sexy. Everyone brings their own drawing materials, and mediums do vary, some draw with pencils or pens, some paint, some work on iPads—again, all good. Lastly, we usually do a couple of competition poses, judged by the applause of the audience, or unilaterally by the model or host, in which people take on a drawing challenge, and if they win, walk away with the stupidest prizes in Singapore.

Are there any rules of (mis)conduct?

Not hitting on the host is just plain rude. Sometimes, we may request no photography at a session. Otherwise, pay $10, and have a good time.

How has response been so far?

It has been enormously encouraging—we’ve now got a sizeable chunk of regulars who come every month to drink draw and win stupid prizes. And we have people who drop in when they can, or when the model particularly floats their boat. I’m now looking at how to expand Dr Sketchy in Singapore, maybe more sessions/month, maybe different kinds of sessions.

How do you get hold of all these fascinating models—like dominatrices and pinup models—in Singapore?

And gogo dancers and pole dancers and performance artists and Slutwalk and so on. I have interesting friends, I guess? Also: cake.

Do you ever encounter any problems organizing Dr Sketchy?

Having done two versions of Dr Sketchy, at Tab in 2011 and now at Artistry, I have to say that I have been extremely blessed with venue partners who have been an absolute dream to work with. They’ve offered us space for free, worked with me on the particular needs of events like ours, brought their staff up to speed to meet our needs. These guys are the absolute heroes of the sessions.

Dr Sketchy takes place tomorrow (and subsequently every second Tuesday of the month) at 8pm at Artistry.