I was pretty amazed and inspired by Simonetta Capecchi’s lecture about collaborative sketchbook projects in the city of Naples, Italy, where she lives and works. I had a pen-pal from Naples when I was a kid, and the city has always seemed so far away and unusual to me, yet still in my native Europe, so I was fascinated by her stories. Simo’s work and ideas promoted a real sense of a community expressing itself through art. It reminded me not only of other sketchbook projects that I’ve seen or been involved in, and also what we do in every worldwide sketchcrawl or even this symposium, the art of representing a city through different voices and personal styles, but it also reminded me of place-specific projects that I have had experience of back when I studied and practised interactive theatre. Local people expressing their locale, telling its story, its ‘everyday’. Here my mind exploded with ideas. I want to get Davis drawing! I also liked the project she promoted whereby a sketcher would take an old book about their city, and sketch scenes from their city inside it cover to cover, across the text. As I discussed with her afterwards, that would be a wonderful thing to do somewhere like London, I think, thought maybe not so much Davis (only because Davis-centric literature is slightly thin on the ground). It was inspiring stuff, and a reminder that there are so many angles from which you can approach art, and urban sketching.
As did other people, I sketched the lecture room around me. There’s Liz from Australia, and Gerard from Belgium. I sat next to Suzanne from North Carolina, sketching the same subjects. Amazing how the internet has enabled us urban sketchers from around the world to come together and learn from each other. Simo showed me a sketch she made of Mount Shasta from the window of her plane, as she flew north from San Francisco, and I showed her my similar sketch of the same mountain from the window of the car as we drove south from Oregon last month. That was pretty cool.
Continuing the Italian theme, for lunch before the lecture I drank a bottle of San Pellegrino orange soda from Italy; (you may recall I sketched a can of this recently). I didn’t know they came in Orangina bottles! While eating lunch, we noticed that there was a wedding party arriving, and the bride and groom themselves sat behind us at a tiny table eating over-the-counter pizza. It was a funny sight, but the quick sketch I did did it no justice, so all you’re getting is the bottle.