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Sketchbook Porn

Sketchbook Porn: Emma Sargeant

“I make a point of painting or drawing every day,” says artist Emma Sargeant. “It’s a habit like having a shower or brushing my teeth. Without a sketchbook, I experience subtle withdrawal symptoms such as the inability to hold my drawing hand still and feelings of inadequacy.”

Sargeant’s large-scale oil paintings retain a casual sketchiness in their own right. The work is generally irreverent in content—cherubic monsters, British queens with big cocks, figures rendered in a style reminiscent of 19th century masters, the limbs of whom seem to be melting into meat. Beyond the canvas, Sargeant’s talent can be seen in mural-size chalk drawings at restaurants, butcher shops and cafes around Seattle. 

“Carrying sketchbooks offers a valuable source of entertainment,” Sargeant says. “They have served me well at airports, bars, slow shifts at work and long bus commutes. They are filled with drawings of interesting-looking people in my surroundings. Going through them reveals some social and political rants, ‘master studies,’ sexual frustrations and mock-ups for large paintings I intend to make. There’s also the delightful occasion of finding extremely dramatic poems and uncompleted to-do lists. Honestly, there’s not much of a process to my work, though over time some development is apparent. The drawings come and go impulsively as my brain does a bit of a purge, which is nice. But the best part of carrying a sketchbook is that I’m less likely to deface tables when I’m unamused at bars.”

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