Ten years ago Joanna Susskind established the life drawing club as we now know it as All The Young Nudes off the back of her course at the Glasgow School of Art. With this tenth anniversary there is much to look forward to whether it’s Art Salons at Jupiter Artland (in fact there is one tonight) or sketching at The Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine.
Joanna spoke to The Fountain about what drove her to set up All The Young Nudes, the collaborative events on the horizon to celebrate the anniversary as well her future focus.
TF: So you are the founder of All The Young Nudes, which is a life drawing club which operated across several Scottish cities, where did this stem from?
I studied Animation at GSA about ten years ago and we had a life drawing module as part of the course. My classmates and I loved the life drawing and got so much out of it. A couple of months wasn’t enough! So I spoke to a friend who was the manager of The Flying Duck at the time and asked if we could use their huge club room on a Tuesday evening for some sketching. Within a couple of months, we had 30-40 people showing up each week to draw. I branded the thing, a friend came up with the name, we played good music or had people in to DJ and we started to charge 4 pounds on the door. Hey presto! All The Young Nudes was alive!
TF: What is it about ATYN that makes artists and first time sketchers keep coming, they’re pretty popular city-wide?
We don’t charge very much. We never have… We exist to encourage everyone and anyone to draw. We’re not a club for artists. Most of the sessions I attended in the past required you to sign up for a block or charged quite a lot for a one-off class. I wanted to move away from that model and so I set up “drop-in” drawing sessions at The Flying Duck. We encourage people to arrive whenever they feel like it, to bring along a friend. I would quite often drag people who were drinking in the bar through to have a go. Our regulars paid four pounds every Tuesday at The Flying Duck for many years. It was an amazing thing. We couldn’t believe it when we had a couple of years with 80-100 people in sketching every week. We were the only group in Scotland doing this for a long time. People kept coming back, people still keep coming back. It’s amazing to see. We don’t teach, we try to keep our crowd happy with good music, we always host in a pub setting or a licensed venue so people can have a beer or a glass of wine to break the ice, both with other sketchers and for some dutch courage with regards to the drawing – a lot of the people who come to All The Young Nudes have never drawn before. We started in Edinburgh and Dundee due to demand and we still receive emails from sketchers who have moved to other cities asking us to bring the club to them. We would love to! But we are currently all Glasgow based with no permanent staff. ATYN is a labour of love.
TF: And not only do you run the regular life drawing evenings but you have occasional special nights which include live performance, the occasional American bald eagle, what is coming up for ATYN this summer 2018 that we should keep our eyes out for?
This year is our 10th anniversary. I’m so proud and amazed by what the club continues to bring. Before the year is out we will be collaborating with lots of great organisations and friends in Scotland:
Life Drawing at Pride House – 2nd August
Art Salons at Jupiter Artland en plain air (May through July)
Life Drawing at The Scottish Maritime Museum – 31st August
Life Drawing at Park Lane Market with The Nevis Ensemble – 13th August
Life Drawing at The Lighthouse with the works of Margaret Macdonald – 11th October
Our events are all drop-in, open door policy, all welcome. You can book via our website or get in touch direct if you’re looking to buy tickets for a group. At ATYN we know that models are the centre of what we do, which is why we are always open to new people signing up to pose. We have developed life model training sessions, which we’ve been running for six years in Glasgow. We work with experienced models and staff to bring our keen posers three hours of information, physical practice and fun. These folk then go forward to model for ATYN and any other life drawing classes. Look out for our modelling workshops on the website.
TF: It’s a fabulous name and a great concept, what is next for the development of All The Young Nudes, are you setting up in new cities or new venues? Where do you see this going in the forthcoming future, are special unique events the way?
We are currently focussing on the events we run in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee. We want to keep our local and regular sketchers happy first and foremost. We are delighted to be receiving requests to come and set up drawing parties and evenings all over the world. We will do as much of this as we possibly can! We have sketched in NYC and Berlin and would love to travel further afield… Hit us up if you have a drawing community who would like to collaborate and put on a smashing sketch party! Later this year we will be re-launching our south side sketching sessions – keep an eye on the site for more information.