Dr Sketchy’s Anti-Art School – Paris

What do you get when you mix burlesque, an intimate cocktail lounge bar, some empty canvases and a drop of naughtiness? An evening of Dr Sketchy’s Anti-Art School of course!

To answer your blank yet amused expression, this is pretty much a global underground event that takes place bi-monthly in cities all over the world – where glamorous burlesque dancers pose in their sexy attire usually as if frozen in a certain time and place, while budding and professional artists pull out their sketch books, canvases or notebooks and sketch away!
But there is so much more to this! The ambiance is seductive and oh so charming! – sweet lights, often live entertainment like singing, dancing or skits, a lounge bar serving delicious cocktails, beautiful live statues, and most importantly a totally chilled, make-yourself-at-home vibe!!Illustrator, author and former artist model, the Victorian-styled Molly Crabapple founded the Dr Sketchy Anti-Art School phenomenon in the Big Apple in 2005 and as she puts it “Dr Sketchy is what happens when cabaret meets art school”.
Today it is held all over the world from Melbourne, to Denmark, to Hong Kong to Cape Town and of course Paris!
Here in the city of lights, Dr Sketchy is run by the incredibly talented painter, illustrator and Venice Carnival costume creator Sorrel Smith (a San Franciscan who made Paris her home 8 years ago) and is held at the cosy Curio Parlor cocktail lounge bar in the 5th district in the Saint Germaine area.Sketchers pay 10 euros to sketch the enchanting model, which can be a burlesque dancer, drag queen or even a trapeze artist – at the end of the evening, the models may even hold a contest and award the best sketcher a free drink!

When I attended last Friday, the theme of the night was ‘Murder in Shanghai’ with actor, film-maker, artist and cabaret performer Tommy Dollar singing some classics behind a 1950’s style mic while the lovely burlesque ladies were posing with big guns and wearing suspenders, naturally.I’m not much of a sketcher, but I just had to try this out and anyone is welcome – even French actress and close friend Emilie Glémet came along and confessed ‘I can’t draw to save my life, but I came for the cocktails and the entertainment!’If you’re lucky, you may spot some of the world’s most talented artists discreetly coming along and taking part – I spotted celebrated corsetiere François Tamarin sitting cross legged on the floor sketching away. Tamarin was awarded Best Artisan in France in the category of haute couture, pret-a-porter and corsetry and who designs corsets for the likes of Jean Paul Gaultier and YSL… boy was I bursting with curiosity to lean over to check out his sketch!

Folks, if you had a crush on your high school art teacher which left you feeling dumbstruck in class, then get over it! This is the place to let the artist in you finally come out and play, no more frustrated forbidden love – in fact, it’s probably welcome at Dr Sketchy!

(click here for more info on the Dr Sketchy’s Anti-Art School à Paris)

Celebrated corsetier François Tamarin

Artist and Paris Dr S organiser Sorrel Smith

My attempt at a sketch…

Actress Emilie Glémet and performer Tommy Dollar

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