Sketchbooks Travel the State

– by Tom Munday

The Sketchbook Project is given significantly less attention than acclaimed artist and illustrator Shaun Tan’s work. Reserved for three cabinets in the corner of the State Library of WA, these artistic works deserve infinitely more credit. To look at them, you have to step quietly and avoid bumping into other people. A solitary sound cuts the tension, as worker-bees tap keyboards and whisper solemnly around you.

Despite the somber atmosphere, the exhibit provides a dynamic look into the minds and hearts of Perths’ up-and-coming artists. The exhibition is the work of Propel Youth Arts WA and is part of the KickstART Festival for National Youth Week. Last year, the festival sent over 100 empty, small sketchbooks to schools, community centres and organisations across the state and into the hands of artists aged 12-25. They were all exhibited as part of the festival in April 2014 and have just wrapped up a tour of public libraries across the state. The sketchbooks are filled with wildly imaginative creations and wondrous stories. Herein the young artists have expressed their deepest emotions, greatest experiences and alluring aspirations.

The exhibition has separated different styles into specific glass boxes. Careful – getting too close to the glass will cause a disgusting amount of interaction between your aliva and that of everyone else who has peered through the glass. Despite this, the communal area supports an in-touch-with-Perth vibe.

One case is for drawings and sketches. This case displays imaginative renditions of anything from animals to celebrities, some artists going so far as to mash the two together. The kooky designs and unique flourishes are the signs of burgeoning young sketch artists yearning to express the minds’ inner workings. Each line and dot is matched beautifully to craft rough sketches and haunting stories that sweep across the page.


Sketchbook by Tarryn Tempest

The other two cases shimmer in the sunlight that streams in through surrounding windows. The designs in these sections burst with bright colours and miasmic ideas. The artists here made the most of the A5 page restriction. These cases exhibit high-quality photographs, pencil, texta and painted works. Some of the artists pull several of these elements together. Several 3D works tell valuable stories with simple, everyday materials.

Some artists have remained ‘anonymous’, while others describe valuable anecdotes and life lessons. No matter how it has been done, each entry highlighted the majesty of National Youth Week’s valuable efforts.

The exhibition has just wrapped up it’s eight- month tour of WA public libraries, but there’s still time to be involved in the next round. If you’re keen to be involved in the Sketchbook Project, head to Propel Youth Arts WA before 20 Feb to register your interest.

Photo credit: Propel Youth Arts WA

Featured image: Sketchbook by Stephanie Wallace

One comment
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