On Thursday, February 23, the School of Art and Art History proudly hosted visiting artist Sumi Ink Club as part of the Spring 2017 Visiting Artists Lecture Series. Sumi Ink Club was organized in 2005 by Sarah Rara and Luke Fischbeck, Los Angeles-based artists interested in producing collaborative artwork through meetings that are open to the public. At the start of the lecture, Rara retold the story of Sumi Ink Club’s first meeting, which took place within the neighborhood the two artists had just moved into.
“We loved our neighborhood and we wanted to meet everyone and we were like, ‘How could we lure people over here?’,” said Rara. “We tried so many things and, in the end, just having a large table with a drawing situation set up was the thing that kind of drew people in and made them pause long enough so that we could have a conversation and get to know each other.”
The lecture continued with the two artists describing Sumi Ink Club’s creative process and the basic materials they use for their drawings to create a fully-immersive and participatory experience for all those present.
The artists also spoke about the nature of drawing and their decision to keep all their drawings as “open work” belonging to the public domain, sparking a lively discussion between the artists and those in attendance about the ruling economics in today’s art market.
Rara offered this piece of advice for students and other artists just entering this profession.
“I think it’s really important to not look for necessarily the acknowledgement or recognition of institutions,” said Rara. “Maybe don’t desire that as strongly as you desire to do something collaboratively with your friends and your peers because every successful art movement or artist I can think of really started by working with their people, who are their age group, their neighborhood, their city, and defining something of their own.”
One of Sumi Ink Club’s drawings, which is specifically unique to the University of Florida, is now on display on the bridge connecting the second floors of Fine Arts Building A and Fine Arts Building C at the College of the Arts.
We would like to thank Jean and David Koivu for their generous donation that made this lecture possible, as well as the Art Education program.