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Sketchbook Porn

Sketchbook Porn: Sean Hurley

Seattle native Sean Hurley is a visual artist and musician whose work glissades between the graphic straight-forwardness of illustration to fantastic scenes of figures rendered with a practiced, academic draughtsmanship. Many of the trifles filling his sketchbooks resemble Old Master drawings rather than scribbly vignettes.

“I use these books as strange journals,” Hurley says. “I enjoy skipping back and forth between the two main threads of drawing—on one hand trying, as Paul Klee said, to make the invisible visible; on the other trying to capture a compelling illusion of light falling on an object (for me these objects are typically portraits). For many years I eschewed references of almost any kind, but more recently I have drawn many portraits from life, of which I’ve included just a few.

“Occasionally I’ll pull an image or idea back out of a book, but only if it begs to be made into something more ‘finished.’ More often I simply give myself over to mark-making for its own pleasure and fulfillment. I go back in to assess what I’ve actually entered in the books only after a long stretch of time, after a book has sat on a shelf and marinated for a few years. This often gives me clues to a perspective that I didn’t know I’d been looking from in the moment of drawing. I’m a slow learner in many regards, so I appreciate being able to forget the original context in which much of this work was made. It gives me a pleasant distance which can be very illuminating. It’s like someone else did all the work—which he did.”

 

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