November 24, 2017

Artists Participate In Month-Long Drawing Event

Inktober participatory display in Jenks mezzanine. Photo by Nate McReynolds.

By Erin Hylen ’19
Arts & Life Editor

For the entirety of October, the Gordon College Art Department sponsored its second annual Inktober, an event where Gordon students could create ink drawings on post-it notes and display them on the walls of the Jenks Library Beauregard Mezzanine.

What is unique about Inktober, I think, is the appeal it holds for so many artists,” said senior art major Anna Farrell, who, along with art professor David West, brought Inktober to Gordon for the first time last year.

“There is a community that has developed specifically around this idea, and I have really enjoyed becoming part of it online and sharing it both online and now with friends and classmates,” she continued.

“It might seem cliché, but community means a lot in the art world. Support is essential when someone is testing the boundaries of their abilities, and it is really cool that this community has grown to global proportions,”

The drawing challenge, first created by artist Jake Parker in 2009, has since gone viral on Instagram, with people participating from all over the world, now including students and faculty from Gordon.

“I first brought the idea to Professor West last fall, as a challenge to the art community. I thought it would be fun to see what everyone else did, as well as hoping to build my own skills through building a habit of doing something daily,” Farrell said. “This year, it was much more of a focus on trying to get the Art community to interact with the wider Gordon community, and invite them to participate and view work.”

The official rules for Inktober are listed on Parker’s Instagram. “Make a drawing in ink. Post in online. Hashtag it with #Inktober and #Inktober2017. Repeat every day of October. That’s it! Now go make something beautiful,” Parker said. These rules were also on display in the Jenks Mezzanine to inform the Gordon Community of how the event worked, along with a list of 31 words released by Parker corresponding to the 31 days of October.

Participants could use the word of the day as their inspiration for that day’s drawing. For example, on October 1, the word of the day was word “swift,” on October 7 was the word “shy,” and on October 30 was the word “found.” However, participants were not required to draw according to the daily words.

“The guidelines are just there as something to use as a possible guidance,” said Gordon Art Professor and daily Inktober participant, James Zingarelli. “I do my own thing. I’ve been doing a series of portraits, and a lot of them have just been people… who I come into contact with over the course of a day.”

Junior business administration major Caleb Lacson said that he typically drew cartoons with animals and a Fall or Halloween theme. “I think Inktober is a fun way to bring people together and express your creativity, bringing an extra sort of excitement to the incoming Autumn season,” Lacson added.

When asked what he hoped students would get out of Inktober, West said, “Drawing is one of best ways to explore the world as well as to critically examine how you feel/think about something. Drawing is also a very natural process. It is also lots of fun. Any of those things, critical exploration, tapping into the natural mark-making aspect of who we are or just having fun are all things I would hope for the participants.”

Answering the same question, Zingarelli said, “I hope that what they get out of it, first of all, is that this is another language that we can all speak.”

Zingarelli also expressed his hopes for students in relation to Inktober as he spoke about a time when he visited his daughter’s first grade classroom to give her students an art lesson. To teach about color and sound, Zingarelli played saxophone while the students sang. Next, “I handed them all each a piece of paper and I said, ‘Okay, now you have to choose an animal. You have to choose an instrument the animal is playing, and then you have to choose what color and shape the sound that’s coming out of the instrument is,’” Zingarelli shared.

“Well, nobody blinked an eyelash. They didn’t think, ‘Oh, I’m not an artist,’ or, ‘I can’t do this!’ There was no anxiety… Somewhere along the line, usually around middle school, we get this idea that only this special group of people called artists can draw. My hope [for Inktober participants] is that art won’t be thought of just as an area of specialization, and that we’ll actually have more students who want to participate and maybe even take some art courses over the year,” he added.

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