Tampa Drawers Sketch Gang Draws On
There's an active gang in Tampa's Seminole Heights. Almost anyone can join.
The initiation is unconventional.
"You gotta smoke a cigarette and go in a haunted house," says Anthony Record, the group's ringleader.
They are the Tampa Drawers Sketch Gang. They meet every Wednesday at the Quaid art gallery in Tampa.
Eric Goodnight is being initiated. He's the founder of the Drink and Draw Social Club, a rival group (but not really).
There's really no rigorous initiation. All you need is a pencil and paper. Goodnight has that and more art supplies in his heavy duty toolbox.
"It was either this or sit at home and watch cartoons," he says. "Being out here, amongst other human beings, is a good way to spend the evening."
What does he think of Sketch Gang so far?
"Record's a weirdo," he says.
The group laughs.
"I'm the least weird one," Record says.
Record says he started the group, because he felt it'd give other artists a support system that's hard to find after leaving art school.
"It's kind of a similar vibe--a similar community that automatically gets created in art school," he says.
Chase Sherman is drawing Homer and Bart Simpson with the hopes of putting the image on a button.
His online store called Bootleg Buttons was temporarily shutdown because of a copyright infringement.
"I got an cease and desist from the Pusheen people," Sherman says. "I got an e-mail today. They shutdown my Etsy store. So that's Bootleg Buttons--not scared of getting sued."
Danial Ryan is sitting across the table. It's only his second time with the gang. He says that he doesn't get out much and that meetups offer him a chance to socialize.
"Just to hangout with like-minded people and just hangout--draw," Ryan says. "I get to flesh out a lot of ideas before I paint them."
He says that most of his work is about anxiety, depression and "the indifference of the universe." During this meeting, he's sketching the Grim Reaper in a comedic predicament.
"It's some kinda ghoul trying to pull Death out of a pool, but he's giving him a thumbs-up and his dog is kinda helping out, watching over him," Ryan says, describing his work. "Just nonsense until I think of something real."
Lauren Moradi has been with the group from the beginning. "Too long," she says.
"[I draw] terrible stuff, but good stuff, but terrible," Moradi says. "Everything is terrible. I should be our spokesperson."
Sam Newton is another member. She says the Tampa arts community is small, but hopes the gang will help change that.
"A lot of people leave Tampa, because it's obviously not New York City or Los Angeles," she says. "But there are people here that do care. Quaid is pretty cool. And Sketch Gang gets artists together that otherwise wouldn't hang out."
The Tampa Drawers Sketch Gang is a collection of artists who have a sense of humor, but who are serious about their craft. To join, you don't need to smoke a cigarette and go into a haunted house. All you need is something to draw with and something to draw on.