SketchCrawl Culture: Taking Ilonggo Art Back to the “Streets”

By xtian lozañes

Nothing much brings comfort to an artist when he or she is immersed in his or her own world scribbling images on a paper on a lazy day. I guess doing such activities can be sweet bliss when it is dictated by the tip on the pen or pencil. In the world of the digital age, we tend to neglect the core essentials as to why we love to work on our art. However, to spend time drawing or doodling can be a means to find ourselves and our own way of looking upon ordinary things in an extraordinary manner.

Sketch Crawl Culture - Project IloiloA typical Monday afternoon can be as mundane to most, but for a few of the local visual artists of Iloilo, it can be something to look forward to. Armed with pencils or pens and a sketch book (or whatever piece of paper they can get their hands on), they set out to explore and express their own visions and dwell in their own worlds.

SketchCrawl, in itself, is not an original concept; it is a borrowed idea which has been prevalent in certain parts of the world. An original idea from the mind of Enrico Casarosa, a visual artist from San Francisco, California, way back in February 2006, it has since then become a movement and has created united communities of artists from all over the world. This movement first started as a group of friends decided to “crawl” around pubs in the city of San Francisco, visiting ten bars or pubs as a way to have a fun bachelors’ party. From those drunken sprees came the idea of visiting places, and then drawing or sketching certain things from those places.

And so, with the goal of recording everything around him with the use of his pencil and watercolors, Casarosa adapted techniques used by hobbyist photographers who would snap away photos upon encountering a new place. Eventually, his sketchbook became a journal in itself, and contained within its pages are recorded scribbles and hand-drawn images of the things he saw and the places he visited. After a while, more artists joined him and it eventually grew into a dedicated community. From there, the idea spread and in a few years time, communities of visual artists around the globe are indulging themselves in the idea of SketchCrawling.

Inspired by this idea, a group of young visual artists in Iloilo City decided that they, too, can partake in such an activity while enjoying the time spent with fellow artists and friends. The beauty of SketchCrawling means that you are not limited to what you can draw, or even with what medium you can draw on. One does not have to be very skilled to actually join this activity. Ultimately, it gives one a different view on the ordinary things one always gets to see every day.

SketchCrawl Artwork - Project Iloilo

These guys decided to keep at least one Monday of the month free for gathering and deciding which place they can visit for the sake of drawing. They do try to keep the schedule flexible as to accommodate anybody who are really interested.

The first local SketchCrawl was made up of three people who gathered on a rainy afternoon in a cafe overlooking the Iloilo River. From there, they planned to initially visit town plazas and significant places around Iloilo City and the surrounding towns outside it. It is still a small group as of now, but the artists are hoping that it will soon become a bigger movement and that it will be something for everybody to enjoy.

For more insights on SketchCrawl, please visit www.sketchcrawl.com. You can contact the Iloilo City SketchCrawl group thru Facebook.

(Photos by the author)