Sumi Book Project

By: Margaret Duff

It isn’t often that you walk into a gallery space and find the walls covered in blank paper, and even more rarely paper paired with ink and brushes.

Nevertheless, this is what visitors to the Projects Gallery of the Myers School of Art will find: 8.5-by-11 sheets of paper, arranged on the walls in a grid, each with a tiny note attached to each to explain the show. In the middle of the room are two large, standing-level tables with tiny bottles of black India ink, cups of water and brushes. This is “The Sumi Book Project.”


In this collaborative drawing project, loosely inspired by the Los Angeles-based “Sumi Ink Club,” show coordinator Emily Poor invites all gallery visitors to take a sheet of paper and make a drawing of their own.

The theme of the project is “creatures,” which includes any real or imaginary creature that the artists feels inclined to draw.

There is no limit to the number of creatures a visitor can draw, nor are there any specifications on how much time to spend on the drawing or what the end result should be. This allows everybody to be an artist and gives students and faculty a chance to take a break from their work, relax and doodle a creature.

“In four days, I have been able to collect over 100 pieces of art from students, professors and visitors,” Poor said. “This exhibit allowed me to accumulate, exhibit and share art on a large scale.”

Even before the show officially opened, there were all sorts of creatures lining the walls. Some were bright and cheerful, some dark and brooding. A few were recognizable, but most were bizarre, otherworldly things.

Sophomore ceramics major Richard Peterson was an avid participant in the project, creating over a dozen drawings within a day.

“I think that it’s really important for students with different media backgrounds to come together on a project,” Peterson said. “The freeness to just create without question is one of the reasons why I love this project and this place.”

Clever touches, such as the ink stored in film canisters and paper laid out on the tables beforehand (so visitors simply switch out the blank pages on the wall to post their drawings) make the show user-friendly.

When the show is taken down this Saturday, Poor will scan the creatures and compile them into both a PDF and a number of small books. She will send the PDF to every contributor who has given his or her email address on the back of the drawing, so the artists can see what they were a part of.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story