The two-man team of WHOAREMARO is at it again with The Lifedrawing Setup, a nude figure drawing event that gathers different people in a night of music, drinks, and well, nudity. Having just concluded their 6th installment, Mikee and Rocky continue to give artists (whether amateur or professional) a venue to practice their skill and hone their craft. But it's not just a place for artists to commune, it's also welcoming to those who simply wants to get exposed, The Lifedrawing Setup is as open as it gets.
WHOAREMARO invited us to one of the first sessions a while back, and we found it interesting and intriguing – so much that we wanted to have someone experience it, too. For this, we wanted to send someone who is already into drawing and illustration but thought of nude figures as unfamiliar territory, and so Tom Bucag came to mind. Tom is known for the illustrations he did for Preview last year, where he made portraits of their Best Dressed in a way only he can. We reached out to him, asked if he wanted to experience such a thing. He was surprised by the invitation but was equally curious, and so he went.
Artworks by Tom Bucag
Can you give a brief background about yourself?
It all started with a spontaneous slap of curiosity. I was a college student back then – an undergraduate trying to earn a degree majoring in Biology, when it hit me with the thought of "drawing" but without the intent of pursuing it. Bought the cheapest sketching pad, grabbed a random number coded graphite pencil and charcoal. I didn't have the slightest inkling as to how it works! So I just went on with it and drew my first ever portrait with a specific vision of a woman in mind. The result was far from how I wished it to be, but it was a self pat on the back thinking "kaya ko pala!" (I can do it!) From then, I drew every chance I get.
I have always admired femininity – its fluidity and subtle yet firm expression of a message. My subjects mainly revolve around women with a distinct look of being aloof and nonchalant but proud. Style wise, I like experimenting on different techniques and media thus I can't claim yet a specific style I would consider mine.
What do you hope to achieve being an artist?
One of the artists I look up to, Yohji Yamamoto, once said "I want to achieve anti-fashion through fashion." There's a strange correlation about his views to mine wherein we're eyeing on the same trophy. Pursuing art without the formal education can be a real pain (aside from being very time consuming). That's why it was always a mindset to create art and present it in its truest form and content without the thought of undergoing through the process of how things should be.
What did you expect from The Lifedrawing Setup? How was the experience?
Honestly, I expected the event to be like scenes from films – quiet, well-lit, serious, and intimidating. It was close to being the complete opposite. Like the usual setup as films would portray, the nude model stands in the middle on a platform while the artists circle around. Apart from the setup, music was of great help. It was loud but not numbing, enough to kill the intimidating air that welcomed me as I entered the room. Everyone was serious. One would walk around trying to find the perfect angle despite the surprisingly huge crowd, then settles 'til the sketch is done and the model makes another pose.
As my normal uncalm self, my eyes kept roaming around different sketchpads from one hand to another, observing how other artists do it. The experience was initially very intimidating. I kept flipping pages to start another work. I put my observance to good use, turns out, not giving a whit is key. You just gotta do your own thing because honestly, other artists don't give that much damn about what you make as they're busy creating their own.
Would you want to do it again?
Definitely. Aside from enjoying the used-to-be unfamiliar The Lifedrawing Setup, I've met a great deal of people.
Why should artists experience The Lifedrawing Setup?
Artists should experience The Lifedrawing Setup because it will test your skills on the spot. There's no time for procrastinating. Everything is fast paced, thus your mind gets to come up with an idea in an instant, which is very crucial.
Lastly, could you briefly discuss to us your illustrations.
As mentioned earlier, I started with much intimidation from fellow artists, and it's clearly reflected on my first drawings. The style was very uncertain with much confusion on how I want the final output would look like. But towards the latter drawings, I went on with my mindset of just going with it with instantaneous ideas. It can be tricky at first, but one learns in the process.