Friday, May 21, 2010

Surrealist Scribbles

Surrealists engaged in a wide variety of games, both word-based and graphically-based. 

The Exquisite Corpse is one well-known example of a Surrealist Game, and a rather nice online example of this particular game is The Graphically Exquisite Cadavre which can be found here.  You can also find Stefan Poag's fun and freaky Exquisite Corpse Monster Manual here at Lulu. 

You can learn more about the games surrealists play here, and you can find a variety of online games of a surrealist character here as well.

The Abridged Dictionary of Surrealism (1938) defines the Exquisite Corpse game as follows:
"Game of folded paper which consists of having several people compose a phrase or drawing collectively, none of the participants having any idea of the nature of the preceding contribution or contributions. The now classical example, which gave its name to the game, is the first sentence obtained in this manner: The exquisite—corpse—shall drink—the young—wine."
Essentially, the Exquisite Corpse game revolves around the process of placing different pieces by different artists into a semblance of a whole, such as folding a piece of paper into thirds or fourths and having a different artist draw, paint or collage their work into a section and then turn it over to another artist until the piece is completed and then unfolded to reveal the combination of styles, techniques and approaches.  Often the results can be quite bizarre, strange or occasionally wonderful.

But I'm interested in another game used by surrealists for inspiration and sparking creativity.  It's an old game that I learned to play back in grade school and it used to be a major part of how I approached drawing for many, many years.  First I would get someone to make a scribble, as involuntary and unconscious as possible, then I would take their scribble and work it into a drawing, like in the case of the example up above on the left.  That piece was developed from someone else's scribble.

I haven't done this in quite a while, years really, but I thought that it might be fun to give it a spin for old time's sake and just to make things a bit more interesting, I'm requesting scribbles from any of the readers of this blog who are interested in participating.  All you need to do is send me a scribble and I'll make a drawing off of it and post the results as they get completed.  (Due to time limitations and other considerations, I will only be doing three of these drawings, drawn from the scribbles available or on-hand in two weeks.  So you have a couple of weeks to send in your scribbles and my wife or daughter will be drafted to make the final selection.) 

What I'm looking for is a clean, simple scribble, preferably in pencil or black ink, on typing paper or something nicer if possible, though torn cereal box cardboard will do just fine.  And try to make your scribble as involuntary as possible.  Just close your eyes and make some sort of a mark without thinking about it. 

I'll be sure to do the Before and After thing (scanning-in the base scribble) as well as give each contributor credit where credit is due and identify each scribble's source/contributor however you specify.  The original drawing made from each scribble will get mailed-out to the originator of the scribble as a thank you.  You can do whatever you want with the thing, I just reserve the right to post the image to my blog and would prefer to make the finished picture available as open content/creative commons mutual attribution, free to use at will. 

Any questions?  Anyone interested?

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