Interview :: Shary Contrary

Meet Shary Contrary, the beauty behind Vancouver’s Dr Sketchy’s Anti Art School. We met at Sara Bynoe’s Teen Angst Night where we both read humiliatingly delicious journal entries from our teen years. Read on to find out about how Shary Contrary got started on this sexy venture + what happened when her first model almost lit an audience member on fire!

1. Tell us a bit about yourself? What do you do? What do you love?

I’m Shary Contrary, a based artist and I am the host of Dr Sketchy’s Anti Art School, where I hire burlesque dancers, circus performers and drag queens to pose as lifedrawing models. Artists are invited to draw performers while drinking and socializing in bars and theatres around town. Add some music, fabulous contests and a host with a penchant for wine, and what you get is the lifedrawing class you never knew you always wanted.

2. What is Dr. Sketchy? What inspired the idea?

Dr Sketchy’s Anti Art School was a tiny event that started in New York by Molly Crabapple and the idea spread to cities around the globe. Dr Sketchy’s is now the largest chain of avante guard art classes in the world. Like Pecha Kucha, there is only one Dr Sketchy’s per city, and I run the Vancouver branch. Our classes attract artists from film, animation, graphic design, comic books and crafters from all over Vancouver. We support local artists and promote local businesses, and create an environment where artists and nonartists can grab a pencil and a drink and have a great time making art.

3. What’s your favourite part of performing?

In the flavour of all cabarets, Dr Sketchy’s is interactive with the audience, mingling with the crowd, handing out prizes for the model’s favourite drawings and knocking back drinks with the artists. My favorite part of Sketchy’s are the people- I’ve seen people hook up at Dr Sketchy’s, they check out and encourage each other, laugh at their drawings. I’ve got comic book geeks, animation nerds, figure drawing fanatics, musicians, tattoo artists all coming to draw- the genres are brought together by a common appreciation for booze and boobs.

4. Do you have a pre-performance psyche-up routine?

My pre-performance psyche up is wine. It’s amazing what you can do with a pencil after a couple of drinks.

Shary Contrary

5. What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?

Best advice was when I told a friend that I was wishing someone would start Dr Sketchy’s in Vancouver. He said “Why don’t you do it.” And I did! I have been hosting monthly sessions since 2008!

6. Are there any upcoming events, shows, conferences, festivals, etc. in Vancouver that you’re excited about?

There are great art shows going on at both of our Sketchy’s venues, Hot Art Wet City and The Wallflower Diner. Very welcoming social spaces with a lot of fun artistic events going on. My current favorite is Alicia Tobin’s Come Draw With Me which mixes comedy and art.

7. Can you tell me one silly, inspiring, embarrassing, or noteworthy story about when you were first starting out in your career/performing? Any mishaps or interesting things that happened?

We almost started an artist on fire once. That was fun. Find out what happened here.

Shary Contrary

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