14 Contemporary Artists Offer a Rare Look at the Pages of Their Private Sketchbooks

Visual magic happens on the pages of an artist’s sketchbook. The creative person will take the blank book and, page by page, transform it into an incredible art object that functions as an intimate handheld gallery featuring their work and writing. Artist Dina Brodsky is one such person, as she has kept a sketchbook since she was 18 years old. What was first a collection of “scattered thoughts and scribbles” has transitioned into thoughtful spreads that combine detailed drawings with handwritten text.

In addition to being an artist, Brodsky is also a curator-in-residence at Sugarlift in Long Island City, New York. There, she’s organized an exhibition called Sketchbook Vol 1. The show offers visitors a rare chance to flip through the books of fine artists to see the place where their ideas come to life. The inner working of the creative process is demystified as these art objects highlight how these people think and how they experience the world around them.

The Sketchbook Vol 1 exhibition displays more than the art journals. Larger works by the artists are also on view to demonstrate how preliminary sketchbook drawings can inform final pieces. But instead of these completed works being the centerpiece of the show, they are a supplement; the focus is a celebration of the sketchbook itself and its influence on inner lives. Each book of drawings is an intimate look into the mind of the artist it belongs to, and the first stages of where their creative visions begin.

Sketchbook Vol 1 opens on Saturday, January 19 at Sugarlift and will be on view until February 8, 2019.

The exhibition Sketchbook Vol 1 features the incredible art sketchbooks of 14 creative people.

Nicolas V. Sanchez

David Morales


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