April 2017

Channel to Channel

Words by Peter Chawaga; Photography by John Jackson

For over two years, Nashvillians have been dropping by Wedgewood/Houston’s Channel to Channel gallery and studio to sharpen their sketching skills and indulge in refreshing libations during a regular event called Drink-n-Draw. Recently, founder and director Dustin Hedrick added a stylish twist to the evenings, asking local fashion designers to outfit the models every Tuesday night.

“I’ve been trying to figure out a way to incorporate clothed models into the sessions, but wanted to add something to make it more interesting,” Hedrick says. “A clothed model gives participants more avenues to explore color. It is also a chance to learn what is happening in our local fashion community.”

To initiate the fashion-focused Drink-n-Draw, Hedrick enlisted local designer Isabel Simpson-Kirsch. Her work includes oversized jerseys, colorful shirtdresses, and mesh shorts featuring prints of rapper Lil B. Outfitting models in her designs created an interesting technical experience for drawers, as well as the chance to engage conceptually.

“I think her clothes provide great, bold color for the artists to work with as well as something different from what you might normally see on the streets of Nashville,” Hedrick explains. “With Nashville turning more into a diverse metropolitan area, I think it is important to have fashion and art that represent that change. There are also conceptual elements to a lot of Isabel’s designs that I find intriguing.”

The inspiring and lighthearted atmosphere of the event is part of a larger mission Hedrick has to engage visitors in his dual studio/gallery.

“Maintaining that studio environment makes it less intimidating for people to enter the space,” he says. “The art I choose to go in the gallery inspires me, and I hope that it has the same effect for those that come to Drink-n-Draw.”

Of course, there are no expectations for attendees to produce gallery-level work. While Drink-n-Draw does offer the chance for budding artists to refine their art skills, it’s also an evening to work with and learn from like- minded individuals.

“The key to getting good at anything really is practice, so these sessions provide an outlet for people to draw and paint from a model, multiple times a week, at an inexpensive price,” says Hedrick. “There are tons of amazing artists who come to these sessions who one can engage with and learn from.”

Drink-n-Draw is hosted regularly at Channel to Channel, 507 A Hagan Street, with varying pose times. Fashion sessions are hosted on Tuesdays from 6 to 8 p.m. For more information, please visit www.channeltochannel.com.

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