Amsterdam Creative Hangout
Amsterdammers are a talented bunch. You see their creations in every nook and cranny. From innovations in the Startup Village to political statements graffitied on IJ-Hallen; buskers in Dam Square, architects in De Pijp, NDSM-based sculptors: Amsterdam is a hub of ideas and projects.
Being surrounded by such obvious talent can be intimidating for those just starting out with their craft. This is especially true in an age when we are able to see such a plethora of work through instagram, pinterest, and the like. It can stifle the seedlings of talent with feelings of inadequacy.
We wanted to create an event where professional artists and passionate hobbyists could create together: a place where interest was more important than ability. This was the result.
Speed Sketching @ Bar Botanique
You never quite know how things will pan out when you put a bunch of strangers together. Actually we have a fairly good idea – kind of our job! Experience has shown that as long as there’s a focus to the event – some activity or interest shared among the group – things go down like a house on fire. Differences in age, stage, and personality melt away. People are united by what they love doing. There’s always something to talk about – something to which everybody can contribute.
People drifted in over the first half hour or so. We had some drinks and introduced ourselves. Without any prompting, sketchbooks and pencils appeared. Before we knew it, everybody was scribbling away.
Some did it with quiet dedication, and others swapped tips and techniques. Time ran away with us. Glassware was gradually emptied as sketchbooks were filled.
Building a community
We designed this event to eliminate the need for something ‘top down’. Here, we would sketch each other and our surroundings, critique our work, and build trust among the group. There was no need for a teacher, a model, or a studio. This was something we were doing together.
By the time our eyes were straining in the fading light, we were already discussing when next to meet. It was exciting to see the group proactively accelerating itself forward: watching the first signs of a community assembling itself.
And all you need is to put people in a room together. That’s how things start.