Time to draw the line

A space attached to the Holy Redeemer church is to become a new art school studio devoted to drawing

This summer two Islington women will be mobilising EC1’s artists, old and new. Luci Eyers and Antje Southern have secured rooms above the church hall in Holy Redeemer on Exmouth Market for their new venture – a micro-art school based around the art of drawing.

The rooms, which are being refurbished for the Drawing Studio, which is to be called Eye to Pencil, have lots of natural light and old panelling, and have hitherto been used for drama classes and yoga among other pursuits. Luci and Antje have taken it on for a long lease to pursue their long-held ambition of creating the studio, where they will be running courses.

Says Antje, an art historian who has worked at auction house Christie’s Education Department and at the Royal Drawing School in Shoreditch: “We want this to be an interdisciplinary school for everyone who is interested in drawing and it as a meeting place to draw together.” Luci, a painter, website designer and teacher at Turps Art School is to work alongside Antje in the room and they will also offer online classes.

At any time there will be a maximum of 12 students, with long tables and a sink. Prices for classes will be “as affordable as possible”. Their key offering is a four-day course but the pair are also hoping to offer many other slots including open drawing session on Mondays and early morning “pre-work” classes, early evening “prepub” classes and whole morning “drawing clubs” on Saturdays, with forays into Spa Park. The school is due to start on 21 June.

The pair emphasise that it is not just how to draw academically still lives and models, but to “take drawing apart”, as Luci puts it. “Many people use drawing,” she says. “It’s a way of making you think and a process that will help your life in different ways.” So the school will not invite its students to make the perfect depiction of a vase of flowers, say, but rather to enable their sense of seeing and interpretation of the world.

“It’s not about making finished products,” adds Antje. “What we’re doing is inviting people to slow down, take notice and observe – it’s all about heightening the powers of looking.” This will not be done in an academic way, with a “right and wrong” way of drawing. As Luci says: “We are non–judgemental and non-hierarchical.”

Classes will be open to everyone with different levels of experience. “We want to be intergenerational,” says Luci. “Exmouth Market has such a great range of residents from different walks of life and the market brings this all together.”

As to those many people who decided at school that they “can’t draw”, Antje and Luci hope to make them think again. “There’s no good and bad drawing here,” says Luci. “It will be about enabling people to be more confident and open about drawing – inviting them to see how drawing connects us to the world.” With guest speakers from different spheres – Luci and Antje have already set up lectures from an engineer, a designer and a composer, talking about how they use drawing to think things through – the art school hopes to get us all to pick up our pencils and look at the world anew.

The Drawing Studio, Eye to Pencil, 1st Floor, 26 Exmouth Market, EC1

Instagram: @eyetopencil

Website: eyetopencil.art