Why I draw and a Luis Camnitzer exhibition in Medellin

I think it’s necessary for human beings to extricate themselves from the normal thread of life everyday. Some use meditation, some yoga or another form of exercise where they can focus on their bodies and quiet their minds; I draw.

When I’m drawing, I’m entirely focused on exploring the detail of the scene in front of me. I get lost in it – the darks and lights, the positive and negative shapes, the hidden colours within the ‘green’ tree or the ‘brown’ cliff. It calms the beast within my breast.

Drawing also helps me remember a place because I’ve studied it at length and with great depth. The result is a visual postcard I’ve made on paper, and one imprinted on my mind.

Costeno Beach is a palm tree strewn, sandy paradise just east of Tayrona National Park, Caribbean Coast, Colombia. Our room is above the reception in this picture.

The beach at Costeno – paradise.


My favourite place in Cuba – Vinales. I drew this sitting on a restaurant balcony. Read more about Vinales three posts back.

It’s a welcome change to be looking close to for a few hours, rather than at distance.

A few days ago while in Medellin, Bronson and I visited the Museum of Modern Art. It doesn’t host a permanent exhibition, but focuses on one artist at a time. Luis Camnitzer is currently showing. He’s a German artist hovering somewhere between minimalism and conceptual art. I would call it Brain Art. I like his tree trunk carefully coated with pencils, the twisted roots at one end mirrored by pencil drawn tree branches on a giant sheet of paper at the other. Camnitzer is of German parentage, grew up in Uruguay and then moved to New York aged 27. His exposure to these cultures gives his work a unique blend of influences and many of his pieces are political, philosophical and/or thought-provoking in terms of starting points for personal narratives.

The gallery has a wonderful little shop which sent a shock of nostalgia through me. It seems that all gallery stores worldwide are the same – full of art-related trinkets and books, with a shot of Scandinavia injected into the mix. I have no idea why. Since I lived in Stockholm for a year, I got a double wham of nostalgia – nice! There I picked up a tiny book of blank pages which I’m filling with 5-20 minute sketches. Watch this space.